Our Chair, Hilda Kirkwood
Hilda Kirkwood has over 25 years experience in social care. She was a founding member of the Parents and Carers Alliance (PACA) and was involved in the development of services for Young Carers.
Hilda sits on the Health and Wellbeing Board and the MK Clinical Commissioning Group Board.
Alan Hancock (Deputy Chair)
Originally a BBC radio and television producer, and a founder member of the UK Open University team, Dr. Hancock worked for a number of years in Asia and joined UNESCO in 1969 as a regional communication adviser for Asia and the Pacific. Moving to Unesco Headquarters in Paris in 1972, he over twenty years with the Communication Division, where he was Director from 1987. In 1992, he became a Principal Director and established a dedicated programme for UNESCO in Central and Eastern Europe. After establishing himself as an independent consultant, he undertook numerous assignments including for the European Commission and the World Bank. Since his retirement, Dr Hancock has become a Patient Champion of the National Association for Patient Participation, Chair of his local Patient Participation Group for three years, a Public Governor of Milton Keynes University Hospital Foundation Trust and is an Expert by Experience on the Council of the East of England Clinical Senate.
Mike Newton (Deputy Chair and Treasurer)
Mike has lived in Milton Keynes for over forty years. He spent most of his working life at the Open University and is now retired. Family circumstances have made him realise the importance of good health and care services.
George Assibey is a pastor with over 16 years experience in governance for local schools and church councils. He has served on various consultation groups with MPs and local Councillors in Milton Keynes Local Partnerships. George has lived in Milton Keynes with his family for over 30 years and takes keen interest in community affairs. He is keen to contribute his governance knowledge towards enhancing and improving local health and social care services for the benefit of the community in Milton Keynes, areas he views as vitally important for the community.
Jane has lived in Milton Keynes for over 30 years and has worked and studied for an MBA at the Open University (OU). She is a manager at the Knowledge Media Institute (KMi), an OU R&D Lab at the forefront of innovation including the application of technology for healthcare support. She has experience of public-facing roles in health, leisure and community outreach. She believes that connecting service users with policy makers and service providers is vital to developing the calibre of services that can meet the evolving health and social care needs of our communities.
A Civil Servant for 42 years, upon retirement he became interested in men’s health issues, and was instrumental in the setting up of a Men in Sheds group in West Bletchley. In addition, Paul has taken on the role of Volunteer Ambassador to promote the growth of Men’s Sheds and is the UK Men’s Shed Association lead on men’s health issues. A member of his Patient Participation Group, he has taken an active role in supporting the Practice Manager develop patient education in the areas of cancer treatment, and social prescribing.
Lesley worked nationally in social care for 35 years, specialising in organisation and staff development and training. She was a non-executive Director of Bedfordshire Community Health Trust (1992-97) and an elected public governor of Milton Keynes NHS University Foundation Trust Hospital (2006 – 2017). Lesley has been involved with Healthwatch MK and its predecessor organisation since 2012 and is delighted to become an active Trustee of the newly independent and dynamic Healthwatch MK.
Simon Sharkey Woods
Simon is currently the Chief Information Officer for the National Citizen Service Trust, where he manages a team of 35 supporting IT and data services across the Trust. His connection to health and social care comes from both professional work, in a previous position as the Head of IT for Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, and family life.
Ama's interest in health stems from her early career years in United Nations Development Programme, United States Agency for International Development and Johns Hopkins University projects. Her further work in public health and inequalities, specifically in mental health development in the areas of suicide prevention, whilst supporting her colleagues with the physical and sexual health agendas, sharpened her understanding of the need for collaborative working to address the wider determinants of health. She's passionate about advocacy, information dissemination and the preventative agenda, to address inequalities and enhance health services.
Mary retired as Head of Operations in the Estates Division after a 19 year career with the Open University. She was a Lay Representative for Health Education England in Oxford for six years in a role representing the public, patient and trainee, providing scrutiny and assurance in relation to the medical training programme. Mary is currently a lay member of the Fitness to Practice Committee at the University of Buckingham Medical School and is part of the Alzheimer’s Society group of Research Network Volunteers.