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Patient and Lay Group Members

The PLG is made up of both lay and professional members. Lay members, who are unpaid volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds, serve 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.

Lay Members

Joan Bedlington
Joan 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. 
Joan Bedlington
Sue Denmark
Sue’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.
Sue Denmark
Douglas Findlay
Douglas Findlay is an enthusiastic advocate of the NHS; he is involved with a number of NHS organisations in a lay capacity where he endeavours to act as an honest mirror to the people he works alongside. Douglas is currently an NHS patient and has been a carer for his parents and advocate for others who have asked for help. He started his voluntary work as a board member of his local Healthwatch and as a volunteer at his Local Acute Hospital and the Community Mental Health Trust. As with most voluntary work, the commitments have grown to fill the time, so his involvement work now includes local, regional and national projects.
Douglas Findlay
Carl Strack
Carl 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.
Carl Strack
Linda Westaway
Linda 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.

Linda Westaway


Professional Members

Mr John Abercrombie MB BS FRCS
John Abercrombie was born in St Bartholomew’s Hospital and subsequently qualified from that institution in 1985. He was awarded FRCS in 1989. He has been a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham since 1998. His areas of specialist practice are in bowel cancer screening colonoscopy, inflammatory bowel disease, abdominal wall reconstruction and the surgery of intestinal failure. He was Core Training Programme Director and then Head of the School of Surgery in the East Midlands (North). He has provided specialist advice to the NHS ombudsman and to the coroner’s court. He currently sits on the CRG for specialised colorectal services and was elected to the RCS Council in 2013.
Mr John Abercrombie MB BS FRCS
Professor Chris Franklin OBE FRCPath
Chris was a consultant pathologist from 1985-2014 and Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology. He was Postgraduate Dean from 1998-2013, responsible for postgraduate education and training of doctors and dentists in the then Trent NHS region, and Chair of UK Postgraduate Deans Committee. Chris was President of the British Society for Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology from 2006-2009. He was awarded an OBE in the 2011 New Years Honours list for services to healthcare.
Professor Chris Franklin OBE FRCPath
Professor Stephen Porter BSc PhD MD FDSRCS FDSRCSEd FHEA
Professor Stephen Porter is Institute Director and Professor of Oral Medicine of Director UCL Eastman Dental Institute and current President of the European Association of Oral Medicine. His research interests include the diagnosis and management of potentially malignant disease of the mouth and the treatment of immunologically mediated disease of the mouth and salivary glands. He has published over 450 scholarly works including original research papers, review articles, editorials, textbooks and computer-based works. He was elected to the RCS Faculty on Dental Surgery Board in 2014. He is a previous Senior Vice-Dean of the Faculty and is the Chair of the Faculty's Research committee.
Professor Stephen Porter BSc PhD MD FDSRCS FDSRCSEd FHEA

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