Our Chair, Frances McCabe

Frances has been Chair since November 2013 and appointed the rest of the first Board.

For over 40 years, she worked in health and social care: as a nurse and health visitor, managing social services to Director level, in senior posts in charities, the Social Services Inspectorate and leading national health and social care projects at the Department of Health.

Frances has a Masters degrees in Geriatric Medicine and Life History Research (on GPs). For three years, she was the Chair of Age UK Brighton and Hove and remains a trustee. She has three children, two step-children (two of whom are local) and five grandchildren.

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.

Bob Deschene

Bob has 15 years of experience in senior NHS Management in East & West Sussex working in a doctor’s surgery, Primary Care Group, Primary Care Trusts and acting as a lead in Older People’s Services, Children & Young People’s Services, and Mental Health.

He has also spent 23 years in the private sector in Canada and the UK in senior financial roles. As well, he has done some volunteer work for Age UK and was a board member of the LINk Steering Group.

Geoffrey Bowden

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.

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.

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.

Sophie Reilly

Throughout her life Sophie has been supported by the NHS and adult social care in order to maintain quality of life. For 15 years she been working with the voluntary sector in Brighton and Hove in order to improve services and to empower people to make informed choices regarding their health and social care.

As a disabled person growing up with complex health and care needs she is particularly keen to use her experience to benefit others, Sophie does this working alongside many local and national disability organisations including being Chair of The Fed Centre for Independent Living and a Trustee for Brighton and Hove Speak Out. This work involves training students and practitioners in better care and service delivery.

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

Former Chair of the City’s Health and Wellbeing Board. Operational and leadership roles in adult social care.


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.

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