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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Dame Yve Helen Buckland (DBE) – chairman

Dame Yve Buckland joined us as an interim chairman in March 2019 and was asked by the Governors to take up the role formally in December 2020.

She started her professional life as an archivist, having completed a history degree and archives training at Leeds and Liverpool universities. She went on to have a series of managerial roles in local government, working for Cheshire and Birmingham councils, and in the early 1990s was appointed city secretary by Nottingham City Council, the first female chief officer in the council.

By 2000 she had achieved her first national role. Yve was appointed by the Government to set up the Health Development Agency, a body which put together the evidence base for tackling key public health problems such as childhood obesity and smoking-related diseases. She was awarded a DBE for her work in this area.

Yve went on to become chair of the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement based at Warwick University, a post she held from 2005 to 2010 and also, between 2005 and 2015, was the chair of the Consumer Council for Water.

She is currently the chairman of Birmingham and Solihull Integrated care System,

a Trustee of the Tessa Jowell Foundation, a Member of Birmingham Health Partners  and Pro-Chancellor of Aston University. She was chair of the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital until January 2021.

Diane Wake – Chief executive

A nurse by background, Diane has worked in the NHS for 37 years. She joined The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust as chief executive in April 2017.

Diane trained as a nurse between 1984-1987 and has an extensive background in nursing occupying senior leadership positions in surgical specialities of urology, colorectal, vascular and breast.

Diane has a wealth of experience in both clinical practice and leadership roles. She was previously chief executive at Barnsley Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from 2013 to 2017 and interim chief executive at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, where she also worked as chief operating officer and executive nurse from 2007. 

Diane’s experience made her an ideal candidate to become a reviewer as part of the Keogh Trusts in 2013 and then part of the CQC inspection process chairing CQC inspections in East Kent, University Hospitals North Midlands, BARTS and Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Diane has a passion for patient safety and high-quality care and has knowledge and expertise in implementing robust governance processes.

She is committed to system working both within place and at ICS level. She is the SRO for the ICS leading on cancer, elective and diagnostics. Diane is also the joint SRO for Acute Provider collaboration across the Black Country System.

Adam Thomas – Chief information officer

Adam rejoined the Trust in 2009 and brings more than 15 years of NHS experience in clinical and senior management positions to his executive role.

A graduate of Aston University, Adam qualified as a pharmacist and proceeded to undertake post-graduate qualifications in clinical pharmacy, independent prescribing and digital healthcare leadership. He worked in medical oncology at The Dudley Group and brings a special clinical interest in improving cancer outcomes for the borough.

After leading a number of digital healthcare projects, he made a career move in 2016 to digital service, with a focus on clinical safety design, which has subsequently extended into integrated care, and workforce transformation through digital and data-services.

As a strong advocate for collaborative connected care systems, Adam has led on the delivery of population health management solution and transformation at pace through the Trust’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Established as a digital leader within the region, he continues to support strategic agendas as well as quality improvement within the Trust. Adam speaks at a national level on digital leadership, as well as digital-data strategy in health and care.


Lowell Williams – Associate non-executive director

Lowell was the chief executive officer of Dudley College of Technology from 2008-2019 and led the college to an Ofsted Outstanding rating in the 2017 inspection. In January 2018, he was named as one of seven appointments to the government’s advisory group, the National Leaders of Further Education, which is made up of principals from colleges who have been rated good or outstanding. Lowell led the creation of Dudley’s Academies Trust.



James Fleet – Chief people officer

James Fleet has joined the Trust as interim director of strategy and transformation. He has over 20 years’ experience in designing, delivering and leading major healthcare improvement. This has included work on transformation strategies and interventions for a wide range of NHS organisations and systems across the UK. James is an experienced healthcare director, having held leadership roles within the NHS before becoming director for a major healthcare advisory service. Most recently James co-founded Four Eyes Insight Ltd, where he was the executive lead for their national team of transformation specialists, supporting NHS organisations to optimise clinical and workforce capacity.

James has supported some of the most challenged Trusts to help them achieve recovery and sustainability. He has also advised several of the country’s highest performing trusts to accelerate the delivery of major benefits for staff and patients. James has a robust knowledge and experience of the regulatory framework, having worked closely with the regulatory bodies, at national and regional levels.


Liz Hughes MBE – Non-executive director.

The Dudley Group welcomed Liz to its board in December 2019. Liz is deputy medical director for Health Education England and a consultant in chemical pathology and metabolic medicine at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust and honorary professor at both the University of Birmingham and University of Aston and visiting professor at Worcester University.

Professor Hughes established the physician associate role in the NHS, a role that many hospitals now have within their workforce, securing the first ever non-medical faculty at the Royal College of Physicians. She is proud that when it first began in 2015 there were 183 and now there are just over 2,500 physicians associates employed in the NHS. 

Medical education and training is a passion for Professor Hughes who has also established a GP training scheme with the Chinese government and developed speciality medical training within the Middle East.

 Liz is a national expert in the treatment of inherited lipid disorders and is one of the founder members of the national charity HEARTUK with which she has worked extensively with multi professional healthcare professionals and patients.

In 2016, the aviation profession honoured Liz for her contribution towards training doctors in aerospace-related medicine. She was the winner of the Improving Safety in Medicines Management category in the Patient Safety Awards 2013.

She has held a number of national roles including chair of Academic Careers and Research Evidence.


Julian Hobbs – Medical director

Julian has joined us from Royal Liverpool where he has been deputy medical director and has been since 2013. Julian is also a deputy medical director and leads on Mortality for Cheshire and Merseyside area team at NHS England.

Julian is a consultant cardiologist by background and has worked at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital alongside his current roles.  Julian has had extensive experience in medical management roles for several years. He grew up in the Midlands area and is looking forward to returning, and hopes to fit in some running and cycling in Cannock Chase.

Julian said, “I am looking forward to being part of a Trust that is so well known for delivering safe and effective care and I am keen to get out and meet as many staff as possible. I am looking forward to being part of the new Electronic Patient Record project which will make systems more efficient and release more time for patient care.”


Gary Crowe – Non-executive director

Gary was most recently a university professor of Innovation Leadership at Keele University Management School. He previously held senior commercial positions in strategy, business transformation and risk & financial management as a director and management consultant in the financial services sector.

Gary holds a number of external board appointments, and has served as an independent non-executive director with another NHS trust since 2015. He is a qualified chartered banker and fellow of a number of professional organisations and learned societies.


Karen Kelly – Chief operating officer

Karen joined us in January 2018 from Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust where she held the post of executive director of operations.

A graduate of Keele University, Karen qualified as a nurse in 1993 and worked for more than 23 years at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire where she held a variety of roles including the first matron role for Urgent and Emergency Care before moving into managing the Directorate of Emergency Care.

Prior to joining us as a COO Karen has been involved in overseeing a range of large scale service developments and improvement projects.  She became part of the transformation team tasked with turning around Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust – becoming head of nursing there in 2010.  Following this, she held the post of medical nurse director, followed by deputy director of operations at The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust.

Karen is passionate about leadership development and working alongside people to promote quality of care being delivered that ensures our patients are safe.

Catherine Holland – Non-executive director

Catherine is a writer, speaker, coach/mentor and facilitator, developing the practice of senior leaders. A member of the Golden Egg Academy, she is currently writing a children’s book.

Catherine is an associate consultant with ‘Amara Collaboration’, a contributing author to’ Street Smart Awareness’ and ‘Inquiry in Action’; and co-designer and facilitator in transformational leadership development retreats.

A former social worker and trainer and assistant director in social services, Catherine worked for 14 years in the Probation Service, first as a director for corporate services and later as chief executive of Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, the second largest probation trust in the UK.

Catherine designed and led West Midlands Probation through a successful performance and culture turn-around programme, and project managed the merger with Staffordshire Probation, the new Trust going on to be recognised for excellence and awarded four stars by the British Quality Foundation.

Catherine led SWM Probation Trust through extensive and challenging changes brought about by the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme, becoming chief executive of Staffordshire and West Midlands CRC, and later the newly formed Reducing Reoffending Partnership.


Liam Nevin – Board secretary

Liam joined as Trust secretary in August 2019. He has worked in public services for more than 30 years in a variety of roles and has spent the last five years working in further education as company secretary, prior to which he was a director of law for two different local authorities.

Liam is a qualified solicitor of 20 years’ standing with approximately 15 years spent in senior governance roles.   He is also professionally qualified through the Chartered Institute of Housing.



Mary Sexton – Chief nurse

Mary joined the Trust as interim chief nurse in January 2019 and became substantive in November 2019. An experienced corporate lead for nursing, quality and governance, she brought with her more than 15 years’ experience at executive level.

Mary is an experienced nurse leader, with a wealth of experience in providing robust oversight of the nursing, midwifery and AHP workforce resulting in an improved patient and staff experience. She has extensive experience in service transformation and professional standards as well as the delivery of compliance with regulatory standards and effective governance to support learning.

Mary, who began her career as a staff nurse at East Surrey Hospital in 1983, has worked in a variety of settings including acute, community and mental health at local and regional level.

In addition to her chief nurse role Mary is the Trust’s director of infection prevention and control and our executive lead for safeguarding and our maternity safety champion.


Jonathan Hodgkin – Non-executive director

Jonathan is an economist by training and has extensive experience of working at the interface of the public and private sectors as a consultant, regulator and company director in the utilities sector.

He has held many director positions throughout his career. As a business consultant Jonathan has advised governments, regulators and companies around the world on industry restructuring, strategy and regulation.



Tom Jackson – Director of finance

Tom is career NHS finance professional with nearly 30 years’ service. For the last 11 years he has operated at board level in a range of organisations including community, acute, primary care and commissioning.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance, Tom is motivated by adding value and transformation to his finance leadership role.



Julian Atkins – Non-executive director

Julian joined the Trust in January 2016 as a non-executive director and is currently deputy chair. He has experience in both the public and private sectors, having worked at organisations such as Alliance & Leicester, Marks & Spencer, Solihull Health Authority and the Thomas Cook Group. Prior to joining the Trust, he was part of the executive leadership team and head of human resources at Coventry Building Society, where he worked for nearly 25 years.

Julian is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Services and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He is board chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s subsidiary training company and is also a past president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Institute of Financial Services.

Julian chairs the Charitable Funds and Workforce & Staff Engagement committees and is a member of the Audit and Clinical Quality, Safety & Patient Experience committees. Julian is passionate about delivering excellent customer service through skilled individuals and effective teams.

Vij Randeniya – Non-executive director

Vij is an experienced non-executive director within the health service. He is deputy chairman of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and sits on the governing body of Aston University. Vij is a trustee of the Royal Society for Public Health and

former chief fire officer for West Midlands Fire Service. Vij has substantial experience of large-scale project management, leadership and change management. Vij was awarded the OBE in 2006.



Katherine Sheerin – Director of strategy and transformation

Katherine Sheerin has joined the Trust as the new director of strategy and transformation. She joined the NHS 32 years ago and has held a variety of roles throughout her career.

Katherine joined the NHS in 1988 as an auxiliary district nurse, working part time to fund her way through university.  Following graduation from the University of Liverpool, she joined the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, and has undertaken a variety of roles across acute, mental health and primary care services.

As her experience in the NHS evolved, her career began to focus on the development of primary care and community services, taking on challenges through a variety of director and executive roles.

During her role as accountable officer for NHS Liverpool CCG, Katherine was the architect of the Healthy Liverpool Programme, which brought all NHS, Local Authority and community partners together to work together  on improving health outcomes, reducing inequalities and providing high quality and safe services.

Katherine has robust knowledge and experience in implementing sustainable change having worked closely with different service providers to create the environment for significant service redesign across pathways and organisations, most recently in the Leeds system

Katherine has also held a number of national roles, including as a Board member of NHS Clinical Commissioners and the National Association of Primary Care.

Dr Thuva Amuthalingham – Associate Non-executive director

Dr Amuthalingam is a general practitioner by training. Having completed his medical degree in London, he started his career as a junior doctor at The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust. He has since worked in the Black Country area. He has gone on to represent his colleagues in various roles both nationally and internationally.

Having led the Next Generation GP programme within midlands, he helped cultivate the next generation of compassionate leaders working in collaboration across primary and secondary care. Through his work on the RCGP Midland faculty board and as part of the Black Country and West Birmingham STP, he supports newly qualified GP within the locality. As a member of the BMA West Midlands Regional Council, he aims to be a voice for all doctors across all branches of practice within the region.

Both in his clinical leadership roles and as a strategy consultant, he has advised start-ups, investors, third sector organisations, educational institutions, the NHS and government. He is experienced in strategy and business transformation with a focus on digital delivery. He develops key strategic alliances and cultivates collaborative partnerships to deliver innovation.

Dr Gurjit Bhogal – Associate Non-executive director

Gurjit has enjoyed a portfolio medical career across primary care, secondary care and within elite sports medicine organisations. He is a consultant in Musculoskeletal, Sport and Exercise Medicine appointed to the Centre of Musculoskeletal Medicine at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham in 2015, and is an active Sessional General Practitioner within the West Midlands. He sees physical activity as a vital tool that promotes health and wellbeing for the patients he cares for.

He also works part-time for Aston Villa Football Club and was previously on the medical panel for the England and Wales Cricket Board and worked as a Lead Physician for the England Men’s Cricket Team. He was also appointed as the Chief Medical Officer for the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and the highly successful 2019 Cricket World Cup, where he developed his strategic, governance and leadership skills.

He is a school governor of a primary school in Solihull and Trustee of the charity ‘Mencap Heart of England’.