Our Chair, Sir Robert Francis QC

Sir Robert has been a barrister since 1973 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1992. Before his retirement from full time practice in March 2020 he sat as a Recorder (part time Crown Court judge) and as a Deputy High Court Judge.

He specialises in medical law, including medical and mental health treatment and capacity issues, clinical negligence and professional discipline.

He has chaired several health-related inquiries, including two inquiries into the care provided by Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust and the Freedom to Speak Up Review into the treatment of NHS staff who raise concerns. He is a non-Executive Director of the Care Quality Commission and was appointed Chair of Healthwatch England in 2018. He is a member of the expert panel appointed by the Health and Social Care Committee to evaluate progress on the government’s commitments on health and social care.

He is the honorary President of the Patients Association, and patron of the Florence Nightingale Foundation.  He has been awarded Honorary Fellowships of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, the Royal College of Surgeons (England) the Royal College of Pathologists, and the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine.

Philip Huggon, Vice Chair

Philip is Chair for the NHS Transformation Unit in Manchester. He advises the NHS about service change in Greater Manchester and the North West.

He is also involved as Chair or Non-Executive Director at several other organisations, including Liverpool Women’s Hospital, RCU and the Potato Council. Philip’s area of expertise is marketing and transformation.

Lee Adams

Lee was the Independent Chair of the Sheffield Equality Network and has a strong background in community development and public health, with a career spanning 40 years in education, the NHS and local government.

Lee has been a senior manager for much of her career, including being CEO of a large District Council, Deputy CEO of Sheffield City Council and Director of Public Health in Leeds. She was also the National Chair for the Society of Health Education and Promotion Specialists, Vice Chair of the Public Health Alliance, and has been a Trustee for two domestic violence charities in Sheffield.

Andrew McCulloch

Andrew has 40 years’ experience in health and social care nationally, locally and internationally. He is currently a Board Member of Social Work England, a consultant to the World Health Organisation, and the Chair of the General Medical Council’s trading arm (GMCSI Ltd).

Previously, Andrew was CEO of the Picker Institute Europe, a world leader in using patient and staff experience data; and before that he was CEO of the Mental Health Foundation. He has a life-time commitment to people’s voices being heard in determining policy and practice in health and social care.

Sir John Oldham

A GP by background, Sir John worked in inner-city Manchester and Derbyshire before retiring from clinical practice. He is Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Global Health at Imperial College and was the Chair of the Independent Commission on Whole Person Care. 

Sir John was previously a Senior Independent Director at the Care Quality Commission, a member of the National Quality Board for the NHS in England, and National Clinical Lead for Quality and Productivity at the Department of Health and Social Care. 


Danielle Oum

Danielle has a wealth of experience in designing, commissioning and leading services, building teams, and developing staff.

She is Chair for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and Family Optima Local Stakeholder Board and a member of Wrekin Housing group. Previously Danielle designed and led the Learning Hub with University Hospital Birmingham, engaging over 2,000 unemployed people and employers in healthcare and construction opportunities across the West Midlands.

Helen Parker

Until recently Helen was Deputy CEO of Which? and, before that, held the roles of Policy Director and Editorial Director. 

She has also served on the Fundraising Standards Board, and has a strong background in championing people’s rights. As well as experience in communications, consumer research and policy, Helen has played a key role in delivering digital content and solutions which meet people’s needs. She is also a non-executive Director of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Pav Akhtar

Pav is an equality and employment law specialist whose professional career has spanned the public, private and voluntary sectors.

He is currently Head of Equality at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust and the equalities lead for Healthier Lancashire Integrated Care System where he is shaping the health inequalities and inclusion strategy.

As a long serving Director of UK Black Pride, Pav has worked to improve the intersections of race, faith, and sexual orientation, and campaigns for disability rights.


Umar Zamman

Umar is the Executive Director of People, Communications and Inclusion at Nottingham CityCare, a social enterprise delivering Healthcare services.

He has experience in human resources, inclusion and cultural change as well as in health and frontline services, including NHS Foundation Trusts, Fire and Rescue services and the Home Office. He is frequently called upon as an expert speaker in human resources, diversity and organisational development at both a national and international level.


Past Committee papers

We make the papers for our public Committee meetings available on-line. We also publish a summary of what was discussed. Check out our past Committee events to read more.

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Declarations of interests for our Chair and Committee

We have detailed the declarations of interests for the Healthwatch England Chair and Committee. For example, connection with a voluntary or other body or position in a political party.

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