Meet the executive team

Executive team (including non-voting board members)

The executive team is made up of the voting members of the board and also a number of non-voting board members.

The following board members are senior healthcare professionals who have worked in a variety of clinical and / or managerial roles and bring specialist advice and guidance to support the voting members to take well-informed commissioning decisions.


James Wright

Head of commissioning

James’s NHS career began at the North Devon District Hospital in 1996, and has progressed through a number of areas of responsibility including positions in NHS acute hospital management, contracting and commissioning. Having grown up on the edge of Exmoor, he has a deep connection with North Devon, and a broad appreciation of the health and wellbeing issues faced by our rural and town communities. James enjoys working with our local GPs, who are now at the forefront of healthcare commissioning in North Devon, he is confident that we will continue to improve and develop healthcare services for the communities of North Devon in these challenging times.

Kevin Wheller

Chief Finance Officer - Northern and Eastern Planning and Delivery Unit (N&E PDU)

Kevin joined NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning group during its authorisation phase in October 2012. Kevin has worked within finance in the NHS since 1996, having trained and qualified in 1991 as a Chartered Accountant working in public practice. Kevin has had a number of senior finance roles within the Devon health economy but more recently was Deputy Director of Finance for Torbay Care Trust. Kevin grew up in Mid Devon and currently lives in the Tiverton area.

Richard Croker

Head of medicines optimisation

Having grown up in North Devon, Richard qualified as a pharmacist in 1996 and worked in a number of community pharmacies in Hampshire and Dorset. He joined the NHS in North Devon in 2002, and since then has been working in the prescribing (now medicines optimisation) team, advising GP colleagues on the use of medicines, improving outcomes for patients and ensuring value in the use of resources.

Barbara Jones

Head of locality contracting (North and East)

Barbara started her career in London in 1990 and worked in St George’s Hospital and the Hammersmith Hospital in operational management roles before moving to Exeter several years later. She spent nine years at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust before joining East Devon Primary Care Trust. Barbara has experienced a number of organisational changes, gaining and developing expertise in a wide range of contractual, performance management and service change issues. Her team manages all contracts for healthcare providers based in the locality (the largest being Northern Devon District Hospital) and work with other commissioners where patients from our locality receive care from providers elsewhere (Bristol and Plymouth in particular).

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. Lorna’s most recent experience is working for NEW Devon CCG as the Chief Nursing Officer, leading on patient safety and quality and clinical leadership for the non-medical profession.

Tracey Polak

Assistant director of public health

Tracey qualified as a nurse and health visitor and has worked for the NHS across Devon for 29 years. She has experience as a lecturer in health studies and has worked as a consultant in public health for six years. Tracey will be working within the local authority as part of the Public Health team whilst remaining closely linked to the Clinical Commissioning Group. She is committed to working across the wider determinant of health to reduce health inequalities.

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