As an NHS Foundation Trust we are accountable to the people we serve in South Tyneside and Sunderland and have greater freedoms to plan local services and respond to the needs and wishes of our communities.

We are authorised and regulated by independent regulators including NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and have around 14,000 people who have joined us as Foundation Trust members.

We are accountable to our members via a body known as our Council of Governors, which works closely with our board of directors to help inform and influence our strategies and plans. Our Governors are made up of a number of elected public and staff members, as well as appointed representatives who are co-opted from other organisations such as local councils, businesses and the voluntary sector.

To contact a Trust governor email:


Who can be a Governor?

You can stand for election to our new Council of Governors if:

  • You are a member of the NHS Foundation Trust, (if you are not a member but wish to join our Trust please fill in our online form) link to form
  • You are 16 years or over,
  • You are a member of the constituency you wish to represent
  • You can be appointed to the Council of Governors if you are asked by your organisation to do so, following a formal approach from the Trust.

Why have Governors?

Governors represent the views of and provide a link to our public, staff and partner organisations.

Governors of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust will have the opportunity to:

  • Ensure we are accountable to our members and the communities that we serve
  • Represent the interests of our partner organisations
  • Communicate effectively with our members and help us to develop networks for engaging with the wider community
  • Help us plan for the future by canvassing the views and opinions of members and local communities
  • Influence change, development and improvements to the way we deliver care to our patients and service users

Collectively, governors have an advisory, guardianship and strategic role within the governance of the Trust, which is crucial to our success.

Council of Governors overview

Our Council of Governors consists of 26 governors covering the following constituencies:

Chair (also Chair of the Board of Directors)

15 Public Governors

  • Durham - John Moran
  • Gateshead - Sara Cochrane
  • South Tyneside - Jackie Fielding, Gerry Fionda, James Jordan, Paul Dearnaley, Dileep Deshpande, Allyson Stewart  (Lead Governor)
  • Sunderland - Susan Bell, Ross Blenkinsop, Anita Hagan, Kathleen Marley, Pauline Palmer, Angela Thompson
  • Rest of North East of England - Vacant

6 Staff Governors

  • Clinical Acute Staff - Mayflor Bernal, Lindsey Downey
  • Clinical Community Staff - Mark Tull
  • Medical and Dental - Shahid Junejo
  • Non Clinical Staff - Chris Anderson, Jennie Musgrave

5 Appointed Governors

  • Clinical Commissioning Groups  Pat Harle
  • Local Authority, South Tyneside - Councillor Joyce Welsh
  • Local Authority, Sunderland - Councillor Fiona Miller
  • Higher Education Medical Schools - Kenny McKeegan, Scott Wilkes

Keep reading to find out more about our Governors

Public Governors - South Tyneside


Paul Dearnaley

Dearnaley Paul - Copy.jpg

Paul has lived in Westoe for the majority of his life and with a growing family reliant on the Trust he is looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the activities of a governor and to promote the views of the residents of South Tyneside.

With over 50 years in full time employment, and more than 40 in the private sector, he will bring an unbiased view to the operation of the Trust.

Dilieep Deshpande

Deshpande Dileep.jpg

Dileep's employment with the NHS started in January 1980 in Hospital & Community Paediatrics.  He was a representative of Community Paediatrics on the District Medical Committee and later on regular meetings with the Trust for few years.  He is an active Member of the British Medical Association and has a keen interest in local Health Care provided by Hospitals and GPs.

Dileep is a resident of South Tyneside and hopes to raise issues relating to healthcare try to improve the quality of care.

Allyson Stewart (lead governor)

Allyson stewart.jpg‚Äč

Allyson has spent the majority of her career in the Voluntary Sector providing her with vast experience as a Director and also as a carer.  She has previously taken an active role in the local hospital as a former Governor and Lead Governor.  Allyson has a particular interest in departments which carry out a great deal of valuable work behind the scenes, such as security, waste management and the mortuary. 

James Jameson Jordan

James Jameson Jordan.jpg

James is a passionate supporter of the NHS and has lived in South Shields all of his life. He is now retired after serving in the army for 10 years and in the police service for 30 years. He has experience of the fantastic work of the staff in the NHS.

Jacqueline Fielding

Jacqueline Fielding.jpg

Jackie has spent all of her working life in healthcare with 28 years in the private sector with one of the world's leading medical device companies. She has recently left full time employment and is now concentrating on a number of Non-Executive Director roles in the public sector; namely on the Board of NICE and as Chair of NPC Ltd. Jackie would welcome the opportunity to support and contribute to local healthcare, and she believes that the most important factor of great healthcare is having the voice and interest of the patients at the heart of everything.

Gerry Fionda

Gerry Fionda.jpg

Gerry is a resident of South Shields who is retired and applied to be a governor to help the NHS by giving something back. He is a member of South Tyneside CCG Patient Group, part of his GP’s Patient Group and Chair of his Residents’ Association. He believes the world we live in works better when it works for all and will work to ensure that excellent patient care continues to be the primary objective.

Public Governors - Sunderland

Ross Blenkinsop

Ross blenkinsopp.jpg

Ross is a Chartered Structural Engineer who works at senior management level in a national design engineering practice based locally in the North East. He tutors at Newcastle University informing engineering solutions to architectural degree students. He admires the dedication and compassion from NHS staff to deliver a high standard of care and passionately believes the NHS system is one of the greatest institutions, recognising that it is not perfect.

Susan Bell

Susan Bell.jpg

Susan has been a proud resident of Sunderland all of her life. She is now retired from the teaching profession and has spent time as a school governor and working with children and families. She has personal experience of the NHS and understands why the NHS is so highly respected. She is passionate about ensuring that there should be a continuing focus on quality and improvement through listening to, learning from and acting upon the experiences of patients and staff. Three of Susan’s children work for the Trust and this has given her a greater understanding of the inner workings of a hospital.

Anita Hagon

Hagon Anita.JPG

Anita has been a Public Governor since 2019 actively volunteering to be the governor ‘voice’ in a number of Trust groups helping support standards, ensuring good health and wellbeing of the patients and our dedicated NHS staff.

She relishes the opportunity to review, challenge and assure excellent standards of care, financial systems and governance issues as a Governor.

Anita has actively volunteered during the pandemic for the NHS, local council and St Johns ambulance service supporting our most vulnerable individuals in our local community.

Kathleen Marley

Kathleen marley.jpg

Kathleen has 45 years of experience working in the NHS and worked as a Personal Secretary and Medical Secretary.  She is proud to have worked in the NHS for such a long period of time and feels her knowledge would help to address some of these issues the NHS faces.

Pauline Palmer

Pauline palmer.jpg

Pauline is a passionate supporter of the NHS and trained as a nurse and served as a matron in Sunderland hospital.  She ensured that the patients and their families received the highest quality of care, were treated with respect and that patients were fully involved in their care.  Pauline volunteered at Washington Village U3A and at a dogs charity. She is also a member of a GP patient participation panel. 

Angela Thompson

Angela thompson.jpg

Angela worked locally within the NHS as a registered nurse for 36 years.  She has an ongoing interest in both local and national NHS services. She can relate to patient experience and is passionate about ensuring that all patients have a positive patient experience when utilising local NHS services. Angela has served as a Sunderland Magistrate for over 15 years, often chairing the court.

Public Governors - Gateshead

Sara Cochrane


Sara has worked for a number of different trusts across the North East. She has a passion for ensuring services are delivering high quality evidenced based care, which in a time of an ever decreasing budget is no easy task. She believes in open communication and that the role of a Governor is to listen to and communicate the views and wishes of the local community.

Public Governors - Durham

John Moran

John Moran.jpg

John retired from the NHS with over 20 years’ experience both as a nurse and a manager responsible for large, complex services. As a governor he would like to help the Trust to continue to understand the perspectives of patients, future patients and the wider community, while at the same time fulfilling its need to act efficiently, effectively and compassionately in the services it delivers. John has previously been a Board member of a Primary Care Trust, a member of the Board of Trustees of a large community hospital, and chair of governors at a local school.

Staff Governors - Clinical Acute

Lindsey Downey

lindsey downey.jpg

Lindsey is a Patient Flow Manager and Night Matron. She believes that to deliver exceptional care, staff need to be treated exceptionally well and listened to. She appreciates the challenges facing staff who work hard to deliver excellent care to our patients and their families. Lindsey has been a Registered Nurse for 18 years with a background in acute medicine, education and training, and practice development.

Mayflor Bernal

Bernal Mayflor.jpg

Mayflor has worked for the Trust since 2001, starting as an Adaptation Nurse and now currently on a seconded role as Lead Nurse for International Nurses. 

She is passionate about nursing, having worked in various clinical areas in the Trust.  She is very active in supporting the international community in and outside the Trust, and is one of the nursing representatives of the Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) group.

Staff Governors - Non Clinical

Chris Anderson (photo coming soon)

Chris has 30 years’ service in the NHS and is very passionate about the NHS, the Trust and the roles we all have in providing an excellent service for our community.

He has worked in the IT department for over 20 years, and is married with two children.

He is looking forward to helping to keep the patients at the heart of what we all do and strive to help the good reputation the Trust has with the community and beyond.

Mandy Bates

Mandy Bates.jpg

Mandy has worked for the Trust for over 20 years and across numerous Directorates. She has previous experience of being a staff governor and is looking forward to representing staff in shaping the direction of Trust. She is based at South Tyneside as Directorate Manager in Urgent and Emergency Care, experiencing different ways of working and gaining insight ever changing challenges. She will endeavour to effect positive changes to improve the services currently provided and help reflect staff views in shaping the future of the Trust that works for staff and our patients.

Staff Governors - Clinical Community

Mark Tull

mark tull.jpg

Mark began work in the NHS 31 years ago as a Student Nurse and currently has a dual role as a Clinician and a Mental Health Team Manager.  He believes that any successful health organisation must ensure that it has the welfare of not only the community it serves but also the staff it employs.  His is passionate that staff wellbeing and in particular mental wellbeing are high on the agenda of the organisation.

Staff Governors - Medical and Dental

Shahid Junejo
shahid junejo.jpg

As a Clinician, Shahid is aware of the challenges that face Medical staff across the organisation at this time of significant change.  As a former Medical & Dental staff Governor he has contributed positively to the role of the Council of Governors and holding the Board of Directors and senior Trust management accountable.

Appointed Governors

Pat Harle, CCGs

pat harle.jpg

Pat has over 40 years NHS experience, the last 18 years at board level in NHS commissioning and provider services. Most recently she was a Non Executive Director at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust prior to joining Sunderland NHS CCG. Pat has held a number of national offices, including former President and Chair of the British Association of Dental Nurses; Training Advisory Board Chair and Deputy Chair of an examining board.  Pat was awarded a ‘Probe Lifetime achievement award, and presented with a Medal of Distinction from the British Dental Association.

Dr Kenny McKeegan, Education – Newcastle University Medical School

kenny mckeegan.jpg

Kenny has worked for Newcastle University in the Faculty of Medical Sciences both as a researcher and teacher since 2005.  He leads on the implementation of Essentials of Medical Practice, the new Year 1 and 2 MBBS curriculum. Kenny is also leading on the implementation of the MBBS academic mentor scheme and is the School of Medical Education Director of Excellence in Learning and Teaching, MBBS tutor for Intercalation and an external examiner for the MBBS programme at the University of Glasgow.  In September 2018 Kenny became the Lead for Admissions and Recruitment for the MBBS programme.


Cllr Fiona Miller - Sunderland City Council

Cllr Miller.jpg

Fiona currently works for Gateshead Council Public Health as part of the Environmental Health team, as a Covid Support Officer.  She is a BPS registered counselling psychologist and a Governor for a local Multi Academy Trust; Oak Learning Trust.  She has two grown up children, and a dog!


Joyce Welsh - South Tyneside Council

joyce welsh.jpg

Joyce is a South Tyneside Local Authority Councillor for Whitburn & Marsden ward.  Joyce has spent a number of years on the Board of South Tyneside Homes as a Tenant member of the Board. She has been a Rotarian supporting local good causes and worked for a local hospice as a fundraiser for over 11 years.  She is also Treasurer for the South Shields Constituency Labour Party.

Prof Scott Wilkes, Education - University of Sunderland Medical School

scott wilkes.jpg

Scott is Head of the School of Medicine, Professor of General Practice and Primary Care at University of Sunderland and part-time GP in North Tyneside.  He has extensive experience on a number of Research and Educational Boards and also served as a non-Exec Director for a number of organisations.  Scott is a member of the Society for Academic Primary Care and has delivered a number of BMJ masterclass lectures throughout the UK.  His research interests centre on the management of infertility and hypothyroidism in general practice and embedding new technologies in the clinical consultation.

Governor Elections 2024

Could you be a Trust Governor?

The process to elect governors to the Council of Governors is now underway.  The notice of election can be viewed here.

Thirteen seats on the Council of Governors are up for election. The places up for election are as follows: three in South Tyneside, five in Sunderland, one in Gateshead, one in Rest of North East and Cumbria, one in Durham, one in Non-Clinical, and one in Clinical Community.

The role of the Council of Governors is to give assurance to local people that the Trust is being managed correctly by the Board of Directors, and that it is listening to the views of its members who access services in its forward planning.  Governors are also involved in the development of our Annual Plan and the Quality Account, and are members of various Trust committees. Being a governor is an opportunity to get involved in the work of the Trust.  For more information on being a governor, a guide is available here

Anyone who is a member of the Trust is eligible to apply to become a governor.  Those who are thinking of applying for the first time are invited attend a short information session.  For information on the sessions, please contact the Membership Office.

For more information, please contact the Membership Office via email to or by calling 0191 2022171.

Nomination forms can be completed online at