Interim Chair, Geoffrey Bowden

Geoffrey was appointed the Interim Chair after Frances McCabe stepped down on February 7th 2022. He will will remain in place until the recruitment for a new permanent Chair has been completed.

Geoffrey has developed a successful healthcare communications business and has advised numerous healthcare organisations, including the Patients’ Association and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

As a former Councillor, he also has significant experience of health and social care scrutiny.

Our Board

Our Board of Directors are all volunteers, and as well as guiding the organisation, many also act as representatives on other health and social care Boards across the city and get involved in our projects.

Catherine Swann

Catherine has worked in academia and the NHS, at local and national level. A chartered psychologist with a health background and honorary member of the Faculty of Public Health, she spent 9 years as Associate Director at the National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence (NICE) developing national public health guidelines, leaving in 2015 to take up a senior research post at the Evidence for Policy and Practice (EPPI) Coordinating Centre at UCL.

Currently working on service user experience in adult social care, as a local parent and carer she has personal and professional interests in ensuring patients and service users play a central role in improving and delivering care for everyone.

Neil McIntosh

Neil joined Brighton & Hove Healthwatch as a volunteer in May 2014 following a public sector career that included in ten years working at a senior level within the Ministry of Justice, Dept of Health and the NHS, focused on the development of specialized health services for offenders and other people coming into contact with the criminal justice system.

Neil's particular experience is with mental health, and he has spent the past eighteen months with Healthwatch representing patient interests with the major mental health service provider. Locally born and raised, he has lived in Brighton & Hove since 1980.

Christine D’Cruz

Christine has played an active role in Brighton and recently retired as a trustee at Martlets Hospice after 10 years. She is also Chair of SameSky, that delivers The Children’s Parade and Burning the Clocks in Brighton, and Trustee at South East Dance, where we are building a new dance space in Circus Street.

Christine’s previous roles included Founding Chair of the Basement Arts Productions now Sick Festival, Governor at Cardinal Newman School, member of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, member of the Economic Development and Enterprise Board.

Karen Barford

Karen has extensive experience of working within organisations focussed on supporting local people to live happy, healthy and meaningful lives. She started her career as a 'lifeline' call centre operator before moving into a number of management roles, including Area Manager for the Royal Voluntary Service, developing an online support platform for Macmillan Cancer Support and managing the wellbeing centre at St Peter and St James Hospice in Sussex.

As a Brighton and Hove City Councillor for four years, Karen was the lead member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Chairing the Brighton and Hove Health and Wellbeing Board. In addition to her Healthwatch role, Karen is currently leading Sussex Police Charitable Trust, which supports police staff, officers and volunteers at times of need, hardship and distress.

Howard Lewis

Over 20 years’ experience working in the third sector and NHS in the fields of information provision, advocacy and patient engagement. Currently working in medical regulation.

Dr Khalid Ali

A senior lecturer in Geriatrics and Stroke Medicine in Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and Ageing Research Lead in Kent, Surrey and Sussex Clinical Research Network. His research expertise includes medication-related harm in older people, and upper limb rehabilitation strategies for stroke survivors funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the British Geriatrics Society (BGS).

He has published his research findings in high-impact scientific journals since 2006. He contributed to the 'Rehabilitation After Stroke' Guidelines commissioned by the National Institute of Health and Social care (NICE) in 2013. With a passion for film and humanities, he authored a book 'The Cinema Clinic: Reflections on Film and Medicine' in 2018. 

Alistair Hignell, CBE

Alistair is a wheelchair user and lives with MS. He is the grandson, son, brother, and uncle of medics in the NHS. Until recently he was a Trustee of Leonard Cheshire Disability. Alastair is a former County cricketer, England Rugby Player, and TV commentator. Alastair has written an autobiography called “Higgy...Matches Microphones and MS”.

Sophie Crowton

Since Sophie was 15 she has been involved in the care industry through a family member living with Dementia, which is Sophie's passion. She has worked for the Alzheimers Society for 13 years. She has also set up a Domiciliary company, and is a CQC registered Manager for a local care company. 

Angelika Wydra

Angelika has 8 years of experience working in Health and Social Care services, including elderly care, autism, learning disability, brain injuries, substance misuse and Cerebral Palsy across different services in frontline and managerial roles. She obtained a postgraduate degree in Health Promotion from the University of Brighton. Angelika has been volunteering for Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, and Albion in the Community, and is an active member of various sports groups in the local area. She is passionate about reducing health inequalities and her main area of interest focuses on physical activities, nutrition and community development

Gillian Connor

Gillian has over 20 years of influencing experience in the public and non-for-profit sectors. During that time she has worked in a range of communications, policy and public affairs roles for national charities and government organisations, including Age UK, Rethink Mental Illness and the Money and Pensions Service. She is currently marketing and communications lead for a professional membership programme at The Health Foundation, a national think tank.

She is passionate about good health outcomes for all, especially around mental health. She joined Healthwatch as a trustee in early 2022 because she wants to make a difference to her local community at a time when health and care services face tough recovery challenges.

Chris Morey

Chris has over 20 years’ experience as a Chartered Accountant and is a Director at Plus Accounting, a local firm of accountants, where he heads up the Corporate and Specialist Services department. Chris qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2002 and spent five years working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in their audit and assurance department before moving to Kaplan Financial where he tutored ICAEW students.

Chris is also a trustee of SameSky, a charity that delivers the Children’s Parade and Burning the Clocks in Brighton.

Past Board Meetings & Papers

The board holds regular meetings every two months to discuss activities. The public are welcome, though some matters may be discussed in private at end of meeting. We publish the board papers for our meetings online, as well as a summary of what was discussed.

Check out our past meetings to learn more.

Find out more

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Meet Our Volunteers

Just personal experiences from their own lives and of family and friends, or from health and social care, business or education, other sectors. Our volunteers have a variety of backgrounds and interests and the common thread is they all want to do something to make a difference.

Meet our Volunteers

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Our Staff

We're a small team, but dedicated team.

With a range of experiences including health and social care, government, academia and business.

Meet our Staff Team