Governing Body members

Healthy People, Living Healthy Lives, in Healthy Communities

- The vision adopted by the CCG and supported by the CCG mission

Who we are - Governing Body

In national terms, NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG) is one of the largest clinical commissioning groups with a registered population of 897,300 served by 130 member practices.  It is organised into three localities thus ensuring the CCG will be responsive to the needs of local people whilst benefitting from economies of scale where things only need to be done once.

Our Governing Body lay members have a clear statutory role to act as an independent, expert voice on the Governing Body. Locality lay members, on the other hand, represent patients and public views at a locality level. 


Dr Tim Burke


Tim has been actively involved in GP or practice-based commissioning for a number of years while practising at Wallingbrook Health Centre, Chulmleigh.

He has lived in Devon since 1996 when he and his family moved back to the UK after a period living and working in Canada.

Tim is looking forward to continuing to build on the strong and effective working relationships that have been developed between managers and clinicians within the CCG to ensure that it delivers its vision in true partnership.

Voting member.

Dr Nick Roberts

Chief officer

Dr Nick Roberts graduated from Bristol University in 1986. He worked as a GP for Ipplepen and Kingskerswell Medical Practice for 22 years.

Nick set up a patient support group in 2000 and this continues as Sharing Care. The practice has flourished and now operates out of two purpose built surgeries.

Nick has a special interest in teaching and personal development and has worked as a GP trainer and appraiser for many years.

Subsequently, after achieving the Certificate of Training practice and a Masters in Business Administration, he became an associate director for Health Education England. In this role, he set up the Clinical Support and Evaluation Service for GPs.

Nick started his role as chief clinical officer with South Devon and Torbay CCG in July 2015, but has worked for the CCG since April 2013 as clinical lead for the Newton Abbot locality.

In early August 2017, Nick took on the role of chief officer on an interim basis for NEW Devon CCG.

Voting member.

Hugh Groves

Chief finance officer

Hugh joined the CCG from his previous role as director of finance and deputy chief executive at Devon Partnership NHS Trust. Before this he was director of finance and commissioning with East Devon Primary Care Trust.

He joined the NHS under the graduate finance scheme and qualified as an accountant while based in Bristol. Hugh then held senior finance and information posts in East Somerset and with Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust before moving to Devon in 2001.

Hugh undertakes the valuable position of Senior Information Risk Owner for the CCG. Click on Hugh's image to read more about the role.

Voting member.

Lorna Collingwood-Burke

Chief nursing officer

A qualified nurse and midwife, Lorna moved to Devon with her family in 1996 after returning from living and working in Canada for 10 years.

Lorna has extensive experience as a senior leader working across both NHS provider and commissioner organisations. Lorna also has experience in business management, setting up her own limited company and spending four years supporting NHS organisations across the UK in service redesign and patient safety and quality.

She was deputy director of nursing at NHS Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, leading on patient safety and quality and clinical leadership for the non-medical profession.

Lorna has been chief nursing officer at NHS NEW Devon CCG since June 2014, leading its nursing and quality directorate, which is responsible for quality improvement and assurance, patient advice (PALS) and complaints, safeguarding children and adults, healthcare acquired infections, equality and diversity and serious incidents.

Lorna undertakes the valuable position of Caldicott Guardian for the CCG. Click on Lorna's image to read more about the role.

Voting member.

Dr John Womersley

Chair - northern locality

John has been a GP in North Devon since 1987. For a number of years he has been involved with various Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and now with their latest managerial manifestation as Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG).

John has also previously been chairman of North Devon Hospice and championed palliative and end of life services in North Devon. John believes that through clinical commissioning we have an opportunity to radically change how health and social care is both accessed and delivered in this country. Legally this will take significant engagement with the public as well as teamwork and imagination, of which we have abundance in North Devon.

Voting member.

Dr Simon Kerr

Chair - eastern locality

Biography to follow

Voting member.

Dr Shelagh McCormick

Chair - western locality

Biography to follow.

Voting member.

Rob Sainsbury

Chief operating officer

Rob began his career as a general nurse in Gwent before becoming a ward manager, senior nurse manager and moving into directorate general management for acute and emergency medicine.

A move to Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust saw him take on the roles of head of nursing and head of hospital access.

Rob returned to South Wales to join Aneurin Bevan Health Board as a programme lead for the Trust’s sustainability and turnaround strategy and was later promoted to the position of head of integrated services for health and adult social care, jointly employed by the NHS and Newport City Council. This role covered acute, community and social care delivery across a number of services.

Following this, Rob joined Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group, where he was deputy managing director and lead for its Out of Hospital Programme.

Rob worked for Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust as the Executive Director of Operations before moving into his current role as Chief Operating Officer for NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.

Rob is a Registered Nurse with a Diploma in Nursing from the University Hospital of Wales Cardiff. He also has an Msc in Health and Public Service Management at the University of Glamorgan.

Rob is passionate about integrated care and partnership working to achieve the best outcomes for patients.

Non-voting member.

Annette Benny

Interim joint director of corporate affairs

Annette commenced her career as a state registered podiatrist, joining the NHS in 1988.

She has since held roles in operational management, leading capital projects, consultancy, commissioning and performance management in both the NHS and Department of Health.

As the programme manager, she helped set up the largest CCG in England, NEW Devon CCG, which was established with no conditions in 2012.

She then led a portfolio comprising contracting, business intelligence, information technology, referral management, human resources and organisational development.

Annette has an MA in management and leadership in health and social care, two postgraduate certificates (leading change and organisational development respectively) and in August 2017 achieved the ICSA advanced certificate in corporate governance.

Passionate about making a difference for local people, she has led a number of major change programmes such as the rollout of Choice, Choose and Book across Devon and Cornwall and the redesign of the Devon wide Referral Management Service.

Annette is a Director at Delt Shared Services; a company she co-founded between the CCG and Plymouth City Council to provide great IT services in partnership and to maximise opportunities to improve health and wellbeing by keeping quality jobs at a local level.

Annette is currently the interim joint director of corporate affairs for both NEW Devon CCG and South Devon and Torbay CCG with a portfolio covering governance, corporate affairs, and information technology, information governance and holds the accountable emergency officer role for both CCGs.

More recently, she is proud to have worked with her fellow Chief Information Officers across Devon and Cornwall to produce a jointly owned Digital Roadmap covering a population of 1.7 million.

Non-voting member.

Sonja Manton

Joint director of strategy

Dr Sonja Manton joined NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and South Devon and Torbay CCG as the Joint Director of Strategy in April 2017.

Sonja has managed and led acute and integrated community health and social care in the NHS in a variety of roles since January 2003. Most recently, Sonja worked for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust as their Associate Director for Community Health and Social Care. She previously held the roles of Chief Operating Officer, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, and General Manager for Health and Social Care at Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust.

Sonja has a strong track record of working with clinicians and professionals in acute, primary and community health and social care provider and commissioning organisations, to deliver system-wide sustainable benefits for the population. She has significant experience of leading and supporting teams and partners through periods of significant development and change, with particular expertise in joint working and integration of health and social care, delivering a nationally and internationally recognised model of care.

With a PhD in systems dynamics, coupled with extensive experience of implementing change and innovation at an operational and strategic level, Sonja is passionate about working with people to deliver the best possible outcomes for everyone every time.

Sonja is a keen cyclist and outdoor enthusiast and loves to spend as much time as possible with her husband, family, friends and dogs, all of which keep a smile on her face!

Non-voting member.

Dr Nick Kennedy

Secondary care doctor

Nick has been a Consultant Anaesthetist and Intensivist in Taunton for 17 years, and was Clinical Director for Theatres and Critical Care in Taunton 2012-16. He commenced his role with NEW Devon in October 2015, and has held a similar post with South Gloucestershire CCG since 2013.

He has a major clinical interest in the care of obese patients, is lead anaesthetist for the South West Level 1 NHS bariatric surgical service in Taunton, and was Chairman of the National Society for Obesity and Bariatric Anaesthesia (SOBA) 2009-14. In his spare time he coaches youth football and plays tennis.

Voting member.

Dr Virginia Pearson

Director of public health - Devon County Council

Virginia is director of public health for Devon County Council, having previously worked in both service and academic public health and general management in the South West. She was a GP in Northampton before completing her training in public health.

From January 2007 to March 2013 she was joint director of public health for Devon Primary Care Trust and Devon County Council.

She is a member of the Devon Health and Wellbeing Board.

Non-voting member.

Ruth Harrell

Director of public health

Ruth was appointed as the Director of Public Health for Plymouth City Council in January 2017.

Previously she was a Consultant in Public Health at Plymouth City Council, taking a lead role in disease prevention.

Ruth completed her consultant training in 2014 in the West Midlands, where she worked on a range of different public health issues spanning the three areas of public health; health protection, health improvement and healthcare public health.

Ruth has a background of some 14 years in healthcare, working in commissioning and service improvement, and brought to those roles both academic and applied skills from a former career in physics.

Ruth’s main interest is to work across the health and social care system to improve outcomes for the population, in particular to reduce the differences seen in health outcomes across different groups in our population.

Jennie Willmott

Lay member, patients and public

Jennie is passionate about making sure people are given an opportunity to have a greater say in the way services are designed and commissioned and that their voice is heard in all sectors of the health community.

Jennie brings a wealth of experience in working in involvement at a community and partnership level. Her career as a health service manager in Wales spanned strategic planning and development, operational service delivery and commissioning. She has considerable experience of partnership working, running focus groups, patient reference groups and wider consultation events for a range of stakeholders when faced with organisational or service changes.

As the daughter of a Dawlish GP, and having grown up in south Devon, she is pleased to have returned home to Devon and able to contribute to the development of local health care services and to ensuring that the CCG delivers on the 10 agreed principles of patient & public engagement.

Voting member.

Michelle Law

Lay member, finance

Michelle is based in Exeter and became an independent consultant following a 13-year career in global investment banking in London, Hong Kong and Sydney.

She began in corporate advisory and equity capital markets and gained experience working with growth companies across a range of sectors and completed numerous fundraising transactions.

Following this, Michelle spent eight years in Sydney where she led the corporate strategy function for the Australian business of global financial services firm UBS. Michelle was promoted to the role of Asia-Pacific Operating Officer for UBS's advisory, capital markets and financing businesses where she was responsible for the smooth running of the department across the region including Japan, China and Australia during a period of significant organisational change.

The experience gained throughout her career has spanned all aspects of senior management including financial management, reporting and budgeting, strategic analysis, industry research, HR, legal and regulatory issues and internal audit. Michelle holds an MA in Economics from Trinity College, University of Cambridge.

Voting member.

Dr Chris Hanvey

Lay member, safeguarding

Chris was chief executive of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Most of his career has been spent working in both statutory and voluntary organisations. He was chief executive of the Thomas Coram Foundation, the UK’s oldest children’s charity, and deputy chief executive of Barnardo’s.

Chris also worked within the Cabinet Office, working on de-regulation issues, and was on the advisory committee of the Home Office’s Active Community Unit. He was also a trustee of Sentebale, Prince Harry’s charity which works with children and their families with HIV/AIDS in Lesotho.

Chris was a school governor and non-executive director of a community health trust and is now vice chair of the government’s Family Fund.

Chris lives with his family in Topsham.

Voting member.

Nick Ball

Lay Member, governance and probity

Nick is a Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) qualified accountant, with extensive NHS experience. He has held senior finance roles in health and education, including the Director of Finance positions at Plymouth College of Further Education and South Devon College.

He was, until Sept 2016, Chair of Cornwall Housing, the largest provider of Social Housing in Cornwall, providing homes to over 10,000 people in the County.

Nick has particular interests in corporate governance and services that bridge the transition from acute to community settings, and he chairs the Audit Committee.

Nick is also a non-executive director at South Devon and Torbay CCG.

Nick is also the Conflicts of Interest Guardian for the CCG which is a requirement by NHS England to oversee any declarations of interest and ensure compliance.

Voting member.

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