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Meet the team

Sandie Smith

Chief Executive

Sandie SmithAt the start of her career, Sandie trained and practiced as a Diagnostic Radiographer working in several hospitals in and around London and the South East. Sandie went on to specialise in Nuclear Medicine and spent a year working in New Zealand. After leaving the health service, Sandie went onto a number of roles in local government and the voluntary sector, including managing hostel services in Lewisham, Community Safety Manager at Maidstone Council and CEO of a domestic abuse outreach service. Since moving to Cambridgeshire, she has worked at Cambridgeshire County Council, most recently as Strategic Development Manager working on the personalisation of Adult Social Care. Sandie has a first-class degree in Social Policy and a MA in Social Sciences, both gained through the Open University. Her community work has included being a school governor, Vice-Chair of Medway Racial Equality Council, Treasurer of Greenwich Women’s Aid and she is currently a Parish Councillor.

Emma Amez

Project Manager

Emma comes from a nursing background. She worked as an RGN nurse for fifteen years before taking a break to live in France with her husband where they started a family. Since returning, she was keen to continue working in a health-related role and initially volunteered for us, before joining us as a sessional project worker in 2015. Emma has supported a number of projects including young people’s mental health, and drugs and alcohol use. In 2017, she became a Project Manager and is working on intelligence-led projects in a job-share with Janine Newby-Robson.

Heather Davison

Engagement Manager

Picture of Heather Davison Following a long career in planning and commissioning health services in Cambridgeshire, Heather has spent more recent years working for a number of local voluntary sector organisations where she has continued to develop her interests in the needs of disabled people, older people and carers. She joined Healthwatch in early 2014. In her current role, Heather works closely with local communities, groups, organisations and individuals to make sure people's experiences of using local health and care services are heard.

Angela Grief

Office Manager

Angela worked as a medical secretary and Business Support Manager for local government before joining Healthwatch in 2013. Her role is to ensure the smooth running of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough offices, coordinating services to support the Board, staff team and volunteers in their business. Angela also manages day to day finances and provides PA support to the Board and Chief Executive.

Heather Lord

Volunteer Manager

Heather has over 30 years’ experience of working to enable and empower people. She has worked in a variety of different roles including, development of public policy, disability awareness and education in schools, community service development as well as volunteer management. Heather’s job is to look after our volunteers and make sure they have the training and support they need to volunteer with us. She is passionate about equality, and making sure that Healthwatch can harness the skills and interests of people from across the communities of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Julie McNeill

Information Manager

Picture of Julie McNeill Julie spent 27 years working in public libraries before joining Healthwatch in 2013. She developed library services for older people and people with disabilities, including library services to people in care settings. She now runs our Information and Signposting service, responding to members of the public who contact us with questions about local health and care services. She also manages our information systems.

Janine Newby-Robson

Project Manager and Engagement Officer

Janine has previous experience in the health service working as a personal health trainer helping patients to make lifestyle changes to improve health. She has also worked in the field of adult and childhood weight management and sexual health. Her role within Healthwatch is to find out about people's experiences of using local health and social care services, for example giving talks and attending community events. In 2017, she became a Project Manager and is working on intelligence-led projects in a job-share with Emma Amez.

Angie Ridley

Communications Manager

Picture of Angie RidleyAngie has over twenty years' experience of working in the voluntary and community sector in Cambridgeshire. She started her career as a community fundraiser for Vitalise, a national disability charity, and has since worked across a variety of roles in charity management, volunteer management, community engagement and communications. As Communications Manager, her role is to let people know what Healthwatch is up to. She is committed to making Healthwatch communications clear and accessible to everyone.

Sharon Gunn

Administrative Assistant

Sharon has extensive experience in Project Management, Business Administration and Customer Services. She has also worked as an Assistant Teacher in the education sector. She helps with the smooth running of the office, and supporting the Board and staff team in their activities.

Kate Hales

Engagement Officer

Kate has extensive experience of supporting the patient and public voice in the improvement of care services, having worked in the predecessor organisations: Community Health Councils, PPI and the local LINk.

Val Moore


Picture of Val Moore Val has lived or worked in Cambridgeshire since leaving Loughborough University in 1985 as a Human Psychology graduate and Science and PE teacher. Her formal training and career developed in the field of health improvement and learning the science and art of putting evidence of what works to improve services into practice. A member of the Faculty of Public Health, Val maintains up to date professional development and good standing. Val has been a member of a number of boards - locally at Cambridgeshire Health Authority in the late 1990’s, regionally for the Health Development Agency and most recently at NICE where she was Implementation Director. Over 10 years at NICE Val interacted extensively with NHS and Local Authority organisations and their regulatory or support agencies to help get NICE guidance into practice. Val established the NICE independent committee for the QOF (quality outcomes in primary care) and was the start-up director for Quality Standards. The large library of these quality standards - all based on evidence of effectiveness, safety and experience - now provide a powerful message to people about what high quality care should be like across a range of health and social care topic areas and how to measure it. Val has a volunteering background working in a hospital abroad, as a Trustee then Chair for Cambridgeshire youth charity Sexyouality, and currently with the Alzheimer’s Society policy and research panels. She brings an in depth knowledge of the health and social care system and of the issues to do with change and implementation of best practice in challenging times. A lover of sports and exercise, Val brings her energy, team working experience and high expectation of success to the role of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire Chair alongside her other unpaid and independent consultancy activities.

Gordon Smith


Picture of Gordon SmithMy career started as an electrical engineering apprentice followed by a transfer to Personnel Management in manufacturing, from there I migrated into education where I worked as a Senior Lecturer and Course Tutor for the IPD membership programme, from there to management Consultancy again in Personnel Management. I have been a member of Northamptonshire Healthwatch Board. Before that I was a member of the LINk board. I am a member of Northamptonshire Mental Health Panel, recently retired as a Governor of Kettering General Hospital. Before this the Chairman of Nene Valley Citizens Advice Bureau. I am a Lay Reviewing member of the Research Design Service based at Leicester University, assessing research projects as part of their application for funding from the National Institute of Health Research. Past Chairman of a Church of England charity, and a Justice of the Peace. Hobbies include Golf, reading, music and entertaining.

Frances Dewhurst


Frances is the Director of Cambridgeshire Hearing Help (formerly CAMTAD) a local charity that supports people with hearing loss. She was part of the NHS team commissioning hearing services in 2011, and is a member of the national body, the Hearing Loss and Deafness Alliance, that works to make the government and others more aware of the impact of these conditions on health and wellbeing. Frances’ first career was as a lawyer but she moved into the field of learning and development and has an MA in Management and Organisational Learning from Lancaster University. She is especially interested the manner in which health and social care services are delivered and how this impacts on health outcomes. She is currently undertaking a Post Graduate Certificate in Hearing Therapy at Aston University.  

Nicky Hampshaw


05 Nicky Hampshaw Many years ago I used to be a care assistant before ill health meant I had to give it up. I spent months in the local hospitals but never thought that it would be useful experience. I was asked to form a Patient Participartion Group (PPG) for the 63 Lincoln Road surgery in 2011 by one of the GPs. I was voted in as Chair of this group until our surgery merged with North Street in 2015. I've also been a Director of Dial Peterborough since 2009 and was on the Management Group of Healthwatch Peterborough from April 2013 until October 2015, when I became a Director.  

Mike Hewins


Picture of Mike Hewins Mike has been a Cambridgeshire resident for over 40 years. He has worked as a senior manager in the commercial sector, including for Philips Scientific Industries, and also for East of England Strategic Health Authority. He has also been a principal lecturer and consultant working for Sutton Coldfield FE College. Mike has been active in voluntary roles, within Cambridgeshire and beyond. He was elected President of Cambridgeshire LINk (Local Involvement Network – the immediate predecessor of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire) for the five years of its existence. During this time he was Acting Chair and co-founder of the Eastern LINks Network working on regional care issues. Through his role as LINk President, Mike has also been a member of the Department of Health Steering Committee on Patient Led Inspections and a long-standing member of the regional LINks expert group advising the Department of Health on the setting up and legislation of Healthwatch. Mike has also worked for Inspire Wellbeing Through Arts, formerly holding the positions of Trustee and Treasurer of the charity.

Graham Jagger


Picture of Graham JaggerGraham is a Cambridge graduate and professional HR manager and consultant with wide experience in UK and overseas public and private sector organisations, the last 20 years of which have been in the NHS in roles at Trust, regional and national levels. Having retired from the NHS and experienced care services as patient and relative he now also represents the patient/ public voice and interest as Care Quality Commission Expert by Experience; as a member of Health Education England’s Patient Advisory Group; and as an elected Foundation Trust Public Governor at Papworth. Graham lives in Cambridge and is married with three children, two of whom are currently working in London as junior doctors.

Susan Mahmoud


My interest in the NHS stems from working as a medical secretary for 18 years at Westminster Hospital, followed by a move to Peterborough in 1988. I became involved with Macmillan Cancer Support in 1989 and chaired the local fundraising committee for about 12 years. I joined the Patient and Public forum at its inception and remained a participant for most of the intervening period in LINKs followed by Healthwatch. Over the years, I have served on the ‘Hospital at Home’ committee and was Chair of the Board of Trustees for the ‘Friends of the Hospital’ for about 10 years. I have particular interest in cancer services, ENT and musculo-skeletal problems. I teach an OAP dance class and have been a Magistrate since 1999, giving me a wide range of contacts of different ages and backgrounds and have always encouraged people to talk to me about their experiences of medical services in this region.

Nik Patten


Nik PattenJoined the NHS as a Hospital Surveyor. Held position of Deputy Director of Estates before moving into General Management where he gained expertise in patient flow, waiting list management and capacity planning of emergency care.Became Project Director for the National Patients’ Access Team and a founding member of the NHS Modernisation Agency. Wrote the improvement tool kit for out-patient waits and developed and introduced partial booking. Deputy Chief Executive at South Tees Hospital. Director of Planning and Performance at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.Chief Executive at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Left the NHS in 2011, went back to surveying and headed up the European-wide pre-construction healthcare sector for Brookfield Multiplex. Awarded the Reserve Decoration for service in the Royal Navy Reserve. Achieved top student in the Senior Naval Officers Strategic Warfare course enabling him to return to the Defence Academy as an instructor in warfare strategy. Currently chair of his GP’s PPG (Patient Participation Group) and Secretary to the Rotary Club of Peterborough.

Margaret Robinson


Picture of Margaret RobinsonAfter a first career as a librarian, working mainly in industry and a few years off for childcare I joined the Nature Conservancy Council in 1985. After a number of varied posts and changes to the organisation, I was appointed Grants Officer for English Nature in 1994, retiring in 1999. In 2000 I was appointed a non-executive director of ENTRUST the regulator of the Landfill Communities Fund, under contract to HMRC and was elected Chairman in 2002, retiring in 2007. During my retirement I have involved myself in voluntary work. After joining Peterborough LINk in 2011, I became member of the Management Group of Healthwatch Peterborough in 2013 serving on a number of healthcare Boards and representing the organisation at numerous meetings and workshops. I also serve on the Programme Board of the Prime Ministers Challenge Fund and am on the Working Group of the AgeUK ‘Wellbeing in Later Life Project’.

Jonathan Wells


Picture of Jonathan WellsJonathan is a mental health professional of 34 years’ experience, who remains deeply committed to the best possible mental health care for those who might need it (now and in the future), and their families.

Having qualified as a social worker in 1981, Jonathan worked in child and adolescent mental health for Suffolk County Council, and then held increasingly responsible adult mental health roles for Cambridgeshire County Council in the following years. Jonathan was an Approved Social Worker from 1985 to 2002 and managed the local Approved Social Worker service from 1997 to 2002.  He then moved to Hertfordshire County Council in 2002 to take on the new role of joint commissioning lead for adult mental health across the county, before transferring to Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust as practice governance lead. From 2008 to 2015 he was Head of Practice Governance across the Trust, leading on the quality assurance and improvement agendas, reporting to the Medical Director.

Sue Westwood-Bate


Picture of Sue Westward-BateUntil recently, Sue was a senior health improvement professional working within a Public Health Directorate in Cambridgeshire. Sue has worked in health improvement since 1987 and in the NHS since 1974. Sue’s professional practice has been grounded in the principles of community development when delivering programmes within local communities. Based on her experience of working strategically, she is interested in understanding the role of leadership in the delivery of high quality public services, as well as how the voices of people seldom heard can influence local health, including public health, strategy. Sue studied Health Sciences at the University of East Anglia, and more recently Evidence Informed Decision Making at London South Bank University. Sue has participated in the National Public Health Leadership scheme.