What does our Board do?
Our Board members are volunteers. They provide direction, oversight and scrutiny of our activities and make sure our priority projects and work programme reflects the concerns and interests of our diverse local community.
Read the Healthwatch Decision Making Policy & Procedure to find out how our annual priorities are agreed and set.
Our Chair: Judith Goodchild
Judith, who is a former school inspector from North Petherton, has a passion for shaping local health services. Mother of two Judith spent 15 years working in the nuclear industry, and 18 years as an Ofsted inspector. Since retiring six years ago, she has become increasingly involved as a volunteer in the governance of local NHS services, and is a public governor representing West Somerset. Judith said: "I have volunteered with Healthwatch Somerset for many years because it’s a body that listens to people and their concerns about the NHS, and it is in a position to be able to lobby those who are able to make changes. I’m very aware of the problems facing the health service at the moment and supportive of the services, but equally I think the public’s voice should be taken into account when making decisions at a higher level. I hope my awareness, knowledge and understanding of primary and secondary health services will give a holistic view of healthcare in Somerset. I am excited by the prospect of being able to begin to shape an approach to the representation of views on health and social care in Somerset that will build on the excellent work done already."
Vice Chair: Sandra Wilson
Sandra is the owner and co-founder of an IT company installing and supporting complete systems for businesses nationally, of which Sandra remains the MD. During her time in business Sandra has set up new business networks; sat on the Boards of many organisations as a Director and Chair (CBI, Chair of Somerset Chamber) and been an officer of many local community groups. Sandra said: "My interest in health matters is long and varied including complimentary therapies. Involvement with the NHS developed from being a founder member of the PPG for the Exmoor Medical Centre in 2004, of which I have been Chair since 2010, and a member of The Somerset PPG Chairs Network since its inception in 2010, becoming Chair in 2016. Technology will be leading the provision of health services and treatment into the future and I hope my background will provide a helpful and constructive perspective from a service user."
Former ambulanceman Bob, from Shepton Mallet, has had plenty of first-hand experience with local health and care, having worked as an ambulanceman for over 30-years in the county and looking after his wife Shirley as her main carer before she passed away in 2010. His daughter Michelle is also in long term care, after suffering a stroke several years ago. Bob said: "By talking and listening to people who have been ill – you get fantastic knowledge and feedback on health services, which we will all have to use at some stage in our lives."
Jennie has worked in the not-for-profit sector for forty years both nationally and locally. For 12 years she was Director of Fundraising for Marie Curie Cancer Care in the South West, then held the same role at Dorothy House Hospice Care near Bath, where she became Acting Chief Executive for a year. At sixty, Jennie officially retired from full-time work and continued with her company, Flory Charity Consultants. She now advises charities on a national basis, with strategy, governance and income generation. Jennie has lived in the South West for 36 years having previously moved around the United Kingdom many times. She is a Governor of Yeovil District Hospital and volunteers with Mind in Somerset. Jennie has a special interest in mental health especially in the younger generation.
Debbie recently retired from the NHS where she worked for over 40 years. She is still a registered nurse and is currently supporting the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Mendip; running the vaccination drop-in centre in Shepton Mallet and visiting local care homes to offer booster vaccinations. Debbie worked for many years for the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group supporting patient experience, safety, and quality.
Tony settled in Somerset in the 1980s during his 28 years of service as a Naval Officer. He subsequently worked in the systems engineering industry, including extensively for customers in Europe and the wider world. From 2016 to its merger with Somerset Foundation Trust in April 2023 he was a Public Governor of Yeovil District Hospital, developing a good understanding of the delivery of acute NHS services in the county.
Tony said: "I view the developing Somerset Integrated Care System as a logical step towards improved health and care services, but I also believe it is essential that any changes to the delivery of services are properly monitored by independent bodies like Healthwatch. I particularly enjoy interacting directly with people in order to represent their views at all levels."
Sue Thomas is passionate about the delivery of healthcare. She trained as a general nurse and midwife in the 1970’s working as a district nurse until she moved into a national position in 1991 spending almost 18 years as policy and practice adviser with the Royal College of Nursing. From 2008 she worked with Neurological Commissioning Support, a charity-led service, to bring the user voice into the commissioning of health services. Sue worked as a CEO in commissioning support until her retirement in 2021. Since then she has provided consultancy to a number of NHS trusts and charities to help improve service commissioning. Sue was keen to join Healthwatch Somerset as she feels that in the new NHS landscape of Integrated Care Systems local residents need to have their say and Healthwatch is an excellent vehicle to provide this.
Gill has been involved with the Health Service in Somerset for the last thirty years. Born in Somerset, she is a widow with two children and five Grandchildren. Her participation with the sector started with the Somerset Community Health Council, and then she became a Board Member of Yeovil District Foundation Trust for twelve years.
Gill said: "I really enjoyed my time on the Board and became very interested in Clinical Governance. I am a member of my local Patient Participation Group for my local practice, also on the Board for End of Life care in Somerset. I hope my experience in these various roles will help with my role as a Local Board member and volunteer with Healthwatch."
Board meetings and papers
People can attend public sessions of our Board meetings and summaries of what we discuss and decide at these meetings are available on request.
Find out about our next public Board meeting