Patient and Lay Group Members
The PLG has nine lay members, who are unpaid volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds, serving as individuals rather than on behalf of any organisation. There are also a number of medical members of the PLG who have a keen interest in improving the needs of surgical patients. They can also provide technical advice and a medical perspective on issues discussed by the PLG.
Joan BedlingtonJoan is a founder member and governor of the National Liver Patient Support Charity, LIVErNORTH. She is particularly interested in the patient and the public involvement in medical research. Her personal involvement in research projects includes: NIHR Health Protection Research Unit Liver Theme Steering Committee; NIHR Leeds In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative; NIHR Blood & Transplant Research Unit – Organ Donation & Transplantation; Lay Reviewer for NIHR EME & NETSCC; Member of NHSBT Liver Patient Group; Lay plus member of Newcastle & North Tyneside 2 Research Ethics Committee. Through LIVErNORTH Joan organises and encourages PPI/E for various projects – reviewing research proposals, patient information sheets, consent forms, lay summaries, and information leaflets. Her other interests include travelling, music, theatre, social history, and genealogy.
Andy Burgen, ChairAndy has worked with disadvantaged groups for most of his career. As a College Principal, he led innovative education programmes for carers and for disabled adults. Subsequent roles with the Disability Rights Commission and Leonard Cheshire Disability promoted the health and social care of disabled people.
He has worked with marginalised groups in India, Thailand, and Canada and has acted as an adviser to Oxfam and the British Red Cross. Andy has been involved in healthcare policy and practice in Wales through roles with Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the Welsh Government and the North Wales Community Health Council. He is also a Governor of an NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool and a member of the BMA’s Patient Liaison Group.
Andy Burgen, Chair
Sue DenmarkSue’s professional background includes a full-time career in social work with leadership, systems thinking and management roles working with adults in the community, managing an adult care referral team and as a learning and development officer (safeguarding and mental capacity) in Wiltshire. Sue has personal experience of both caring and living with a long-term condition. She was a carer for many years and her experience led her to become an Ambassador for Carer’s UK and Trustee and Chair of Wiltshire Carers. In 2009, Sue was diagnosed with M.S. in addition to arthritis so needed to adapt and change her working opportunities. Since then she has developed a part-time working portfolio using both her professional skills and patient/carer experience locally and nationally. Roles have included working with the Coalition for Collaborative Care on person centred care and coproduction with patients, carers and the public and promoting the health coaching approach with Dr Penny Newman and Dr Andrew McDowell. Sue has been a speaker/presenter at numerous health and care events and conferences in the UK. In a voluntary capacity Sue is Chair of Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living and tutor for the RFU Safeguarding Team. Currently Sue is working with NHS England’s Diversity and Inclusion team as the Coordinator for the Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Programme. Sue’s wider interests include creative art and craft activities and supporting her local community and supporting local community action.
Nicci Iacovou, Vice ChairNicci has extensive experience of working in and with the NHS in a variety of health care fields, including medical personnel, learning disabilities and primary care development. In the last 20 years, she has mainly worked in research, training, and individual and team development. She was Director of the Health Services Staff Training Unit, based at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry - a team known for its high quality staff training and development. In addition to her HSSTU work, Nicci worked on a number of published research projects about the role of boards, quality assurance and improvement in primary care, and impact evaluations of learning on individual practice. More recently, she was Director of Quality Learning and Development, which developed a reputation for high quality staff training and development. Her professional and personal NHS experiences have developed her strong belief in active, appropriately informed patient and carer participation before, during and after surgery. She is also interested in the communication lines between surgeons and other staff.
Nicci Iacovou, Vice Chair
Carl StrackCarl retired after 27 years in the civil service as a computer specialist. Since then he has become involved with Citizens Advice in Aberystwyth, as a volunteer general adviser, and is a volunteer Welsh Assembly appointed member of Powys Community Health Council. Living in mid-Wales gives him a unique view of the NHS, since Powys is the only area of England and Wales without a District General Hospital. He joined the PLG to further his interest in the health service by concentrating on factors affecting individual patients as opposed to general administration and management issues.
Linda WestawayLinda has a background in Human Resources and Learning & Development across a range of sectors, including pharmaceutical, SME, and not for profit. She continues to support a number of Universities and charities with 1-2-1 coaching and mentoring of staff, and is currently an enterprise advisor, developing career and employability strategies with special schools in Hertfordshire.
Linda's work as a non-executive Director with an NHS Primary Care Trust convinced her of the need for commitment to public and patient engagement, and to ensuring that patients and their carers have a voice.