Meet our Governors

Meet our elected governors, patient governor, staff governors and our nine appointed governors.

Central constituency

Our Central Governors represent Bridges, Saltwell, Deckham, Lobley Hill and Bensham, Low Fell, High Fell, Chowdene, Lamesley, Chester-le-Street, Ouston and Pelton, Birtley and Washington.

John Bedlington - Governor

John Bedlington

After serving 32 years as a fire officer, 29 years as chair of healthcare charity LIVErNORTH and 14 years as a hospital governor, I believe I understand public service, healthcare and accountability. Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust is providing an excellent healthcare service to the borough and beyond, however, the entire NHS is having to meet unprecedented challenges and undergo significant changes. My aim is to provide strong governance to ensure that healthcare in Gateshead is provided and sustained at the highest possible level with patients, carers and the public having an effective voice on the Council of Governors
Steve Connolly, governor

Steve Connolly

Until September 2022, I was a Staff Governor, at Gateshead Health, representing not only staff but also members of the public. I would like to continue representing the people of Gateshead, as a Public Governor. I have over 50 years experience working as a Registered Nurse, within the NHS, and also with Social Care ,working for Gateshead Council, as a manager within residential care. I have also worked for the Care Quality Commission as a Clinical and Professional Adviser, assisting with inspections of care and nursing homes. My most recent work role was that of Operational Site Manager, with the Covid 19 vaccination service, ensuring that the population of Gateshead are kept safe. I am also a Volunteer at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, working as a Response Volunteer, and also a member of the PLACE team, which ensure that high standards are maintained within the hospital, which enhances patient care. As staff governor, I have been able to raise questions about important aspects of the trusts operations and staff and public concerns. I believe that I can continue to contribute more, given the opportunity to work with the trust to improve the high standards of quality care that the trust already delivers, and represent the people of Gateshead. I am committed that the people of Gateshead receive the best NHS care possible.
Helen Jones, central governor for Gateshead Health

Helen Jones

I am a recently retired teacher and headteacher in special education and I am keen to use my knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to develop and support other areas of public service. I have experience of governance systems for schools and for an FE College which would be of benefit in this role. As a member of the local community, I have a personal commitment to my local hospital and to the NHS in general. I have a particular interest in ensuring access to generic services for children and adults with learning diffculties and disabilities and particular skills in this area.
Michael Loome

Michael Loome

After retiring in 2010, I commenced volunteering at the Queen Elizabeth hospital where I have worked in the Outpatients Department and currently work in the Chemotherapy Day Unit. I have previously served a 3 year term as a Public Governor which included 18 months as Lead Governor; following this I served as a Staff/Volunteer Governor from January 2020 to June 2021. During my time as a Governor, I was active on numerous committees and continue to do so as a patient representative. I feel that my previous experience as a Governor together with my communication and organisational skills would enable me to make a valuable contribution to the Council of Governors and help facilitate the Trust’s aims for the best possible patient services. I would therefore welcome this opportunity to utilise the knowledge and experience I have gained previously and serve a further term as a Public Governor for Gateshead Central.
Abe Rabin, governor for central

Abe Rabinowitz

As a volunteer in a number of local charities as well as being a Patient Advocate at The DASH Group – a local Patient Support & Advocacy Group – and having recently been an inpatient at the QE Hospital, I am familiar with the workings of hospitals both as a patient and as a patient support. I will use the position of Governor, in addition to my existing experience, to better ensure that EVERY patient receives the best level of care EVERY time.
Karen Tanriverdi, governor for central

Karen Tanriverdi

Living in Gateshead all my life, I have in the past had need of hospital care for both family and myself and always experienced a high standard of care. Now recently retired, I would welcome the opportunity to give something back. Through working in administration, I have an understanding of many business aspects and have a common sense approach to life. I also have a strong empathy with people and believe these strengths together will enable me to fulfil a worthwhile position within the trust to the benefit of staff and patients alike.
Brenda Webb, Central constituency governor

Brenda Webb

I have always been a people person doing all I could. My job was in Accountancy and I helped to train young people I have always been involved with tenants involvement groups with Gateshead Housing and Gateshead Council. As a hobby I was involved with St. John’s Ambulance Service. When my husband died ten and a half years ago I was a Volunteer for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital for 3 days a week My late husband and I were involved with a hospital group meetings discussing illness etc regularly

Western Constituency

Our Western Governors represent Prudhoe, Crawcrook and Greenside, Chopwell and Rowlands Gill, Ryton, Crookhill and Stella, Winlaton and High Spen, Blaydon, Whickham South and Sunniside, Whickham North, Dunston Hill and Whickham East, Dunston and Teams.

Headshot of Les Brown, governor

Leslie Brown

I care very much about our local health services. I have lived in the Gateshead area and worked in legal services for 30 years. I would like to contribute to the Council of Governors’ inquisitive and balanced thinking. Also, my aim is to communicate with local people – collecting their opinions and helping our communities to have a say in trust decisions and its future. My priorities will be on how our trust is supervised, responds to the needs of individuals and delivers within restricted budgets. Most of all I want to enhance our trust’s performance. I hope to be alert to the many whose voice matters. I believe patients, carers and those who work in and serve our Trust, deserve Governors who will undertake their duties responsibly and with care.
Headshot of Ray Dennis, governor

Ray Dennis

As a newly appointed Public Govenor representing the Western Constituency my remit is to ensure that your interests and views are conveyed to the Trust and keep you informed of their performance. My business background was within the Building Industry as a Senior Contracts Manager and for some years the Managing Director of my family owned Building Services company. I have lived in Whickham for over 50 years, am married with two grown up children and four grandchildren. Since retiring I have had personal experience of patient care in both Cardiac and Urology departments. I will actively strive to improved the Trusts performance and to encourage recruitment from within my Constituency at all levels of the organisation.
Gordon Ian Main, governor

Gordon Main

My career has been spent as a pharmaceutical territory manager dealing with health care professionals at all levels across CCGs in the North East and this has given me insights into different approaches to the same clinical problem. My work experience covers retail, veterinary and medical and I’d like to give back to the community with whatever talent I can offer to the role of governor. I am an innovator who can think outside of the box and may be able to offer a fresh outlook to the role.
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Ged Quinn

Over the years I have been a NHS patient on a number of occasions, this I feel has given me an insight into the views of patients, and what they expect of the hospital and therefore feel well placed to represent my constituency from that perspective. My daughter works locally in a maternity unit and can share experiences which could be of benefit to improving services to all users. Additionally I have family member who suffers from Dementia making me aware of the needs this despicable illness brings to all concerned. As a Governor, I will work to ensure that the best facilities, services and standards are available for patients, and that the marvellous staff and management strive at all times to deliver the best possible care.
Dr Lakkur Murthy

Dr Lakkur Murthy

NHS is facing unprecedented challenges on all fronts with increasing risk to patients. Social care is struggling to fulfil the demands and expectations. The Gateshead Health NHS FT is among the many trying hard to cope with maintaining safety and quality. Most my forty years of NHS work has been in providing acute care in the largest northern teaching hospital. After retirement, my voluntary work is in Citizens Advice, Torture Care and Royal Medical Benevolent Fund. Being a Board Member of Healthwatch, and using the experiences and perspectives of patients, service users, families and carers I know how to influence provision and development of health and care services. I have served as Governor of three FTs. I am familiar with systems and processes. I have the experience, skill, enthusiasm, and time to effectively represent experiences and views of members and public to contribute to good governance.

Eastern governors

Our Eastern Governors cover Felling, Windy Nook and White Hills, Pelaw and Heworth, Wardley and Leam Lane, and parts of Jarrow and Hebburn.

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Patient governor

Agatha Kanyangu, Patient / Out of Area governor for Gateshead Health

Agatha Kanyangu

Patient / Out of Area
Gateshead Health provides services to the community, and I would like to help the trust continue to improve and develop. My business management experience spans to over 27 years and I am a Fellow Member of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI). Currently I work in academia, hence I am passionate about the professional development of staff and students alike. I believe the governor role is a perfect match for my experience as in the past I have been a trustee director for Citizens Advice Bureau as well as a governor for a school. If required I am not afraid to ask difficult questions on behalf of service users and all its dedicated staff who work so hard to keep this place running smoothly.

Staff Governors

Helen Adams, governor

Helen Adams

My name is Helen Adams. I am a Staff Nurse in the Trust. I have worked for the Trust since 2004 and worked on various Wards, I currently work in the Occupational Health Department. I live in Gateshead reinforcing my interest in the Trust and the community and staff it supports. I am passionate about public health both for patients and staff and have a particular interest in smoking cessation and how this can vastly improve the health of both patients and staff as discussed in the NHS Peoples Plan. I believe I would be an excellent addition to the council of governors as a Staff Governor. I always strive to be an advocate ensuring the views of patients and staff are listened to, in doing so I aim to improve services for the Trust not only now but also in the future.
Lynsey Curry, governor

Lynsey Curry

I have worked as a pharmacist in the Trust for the past 15 years. I care passionately about both patients and staff in the organisation, and am proud of the way that staff working here describe the feeling of being part of a family. I am committed to providing the best possible experience for our patients and the Gateshead community and always seek to improve and develop the services that we offer. I work well as part of a team and enjoy building relationships across the MDT using my strong communication skills. I thrive in challenging situations and would like to support the Trust through the difficult times currently facing the NHS.
Andy Lowes, staff governor for Gateshead Health

Dr Andrew Lowes

I joined the trust in July 2020 after 3 years at JCUH Middlesbrough and my front line experience means I really do understand the current unprecedented pressures that Covid has placed on us all. The fact we have managed to more than survive is ultimately down to the reasons I enjoy working here namely incredible teamwork, camaraderie and people repeatedly going above and beyond for each other and our patients. Yet existing problems must also be acknowledged if we wish to solve them including staffing shortages especially amongst the nursing staff and their frequent redeployment. Effective communication and collaboration between the front line and the trust board will be of paramount importance in navigating a challenging winter and beyond. I promise to act as an advocate for staff colleagues and ensure that concerns raised in the changing and coffee rooms mirror those in the boardroom.
Richard Morrell, staff governor for Gateshead Health

Richard Morrell

I’m Richard Morrell a Consultant Radiographer working in Breast screening & cancer services at the Queen Elizabeth hospital. I joined the trust in 2018, however prior to this I’ve worked in multiple trusts around the region in various roles from a newly qualified radiographer through to senior management. I’ve gained experience and insight into working with, developing and managing staff along with developing my own clinical role, something which I feel gives me a unique view point on the workforce. I would love to represent the 4000 plus staff across this trust and bring the views of staff to the attention of the board and ensure the staffs voice is heard. I believe the healthcare landscape is changing dramatically and a key component to maintaining the first-class patient service provided by this trust is to work with and listen to all staff employed in this trust.
Adaeze Okereke, who will be commencing her first 3-year term

Adaeze Okereke

As an internationally trained nurse with 5 years of experience working in the UK, I have had the opportunity to work on the wards and serve as a professional nurse advocate in the Trust. Currently, I work as a practice development nurse in the international recruitment team with the aim of preparing the IEN for the wards and nursing in the UK. I am passionate about the welfare of staff and believe that maintaining an inclusive and diverse environment positively enhances patient care. I am also approachable and value effective communication. If elected, I would be honoured to represent the staff, keep staff informed of work undertaken by the Council of Governors, and seek their views. Additionally, I would communicate staff feedback to the Council of Governors on how decisions impact them.
Kiran Singisetti, governor

Dr Kiran Singisetti

I joined the Trust as a Consultant in Trauma and Orthopaedics just over 6 years ago, having completed training in the North East followed by Sheffield and awarded travelling scholarships in North America. I felt welcomed into the Trust and wider community when I first started and continue to be impressed by the dedication and friendly nature of the staff at QE Hospital. I work within a multidisciplinary team and have a close working relationship with ward based, theatre and non-clinical staff within the Trust. I have been the orthopaedic lead for hip fracture care at Gateshead for last 5 years. Following a positive and inclusive team work attitude helped the implementation of several quality improvement projects, with the unit now recognised nationally for consistently being in the top five Trusts in the country for following best practice in hip fracture care. I believe that high staff morale is needed for having a pleasant workplace, which helps everyone reach full potential and thereby provide good patient care. My enthusiasm to gather feedback from colleagues at all levels puts me in a good position to represent your views. I would strive to represent staff views within the council of Governors and champion ICORE values of the Trust. Having worked in the Trust as a senior clinician, I not afraid to speak up and be heard when needed. I value positive and good communication across hospital teams. I am approachable, enthusiastic about change and committed to effectively represent staff views.

Appointed governors

There are nine appointed governors. The organisations authorised by the Trust’s constitution to be appointed to the Council of Governors are:

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Northumbria University
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Aron Sandler

Gateshead Jewish Community Forum
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Dr Gemma Frances Spiers

Newcastle University
Chris Toon, governor

Chris Toon

Gateshead College
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Gateshead Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise services
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Gateshead Council
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Gateshead Youth Council
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Diversity Forum
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Gateshead Commissioner

How do I contact the governors?

Make sure you state which governor you wish to contact.

via Corporate Services Office on 0191 445 6043