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About Our Governing Body

NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body is chaired by Dr Steven Cleasby and Dr Majid Azeb is the Clinical Vice Chair. Dr Matt Walsh is the Chief Officer and Neil Smurthwaite is the Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Chief Officer.

The Governing Body has 15 members including GPs, secondary care specialist, registered nurse and lay member for patient and public involvement. It also has two non-voting members who are the Director of Public Health and the Director of Adults and Wellbeing at Calderdale Council.



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Dr Steven Cleasby, Chair of CCG

Steven has been a GP in Calderdale since 1999, when he started at Spring Hall Group Practice. His specialist area is Diabetes and also has a keen interest in medicines management. He has held a clinical leadership role in Calderdale since 2002 as the prescribing lead for the Primary Care Trust and joined Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group in 2007 as part of practice based commissioning where he was Chair. Steven went on to hold the position of Vice Clinical Chair at the CCG from 2013 until being elected as the Chair of the CCG from 1 May 2018.

Steven is currently a member of the CCG’s Remuneration Committee and Commissioning Primary Medical Services Committee and is Governing Body lead for Safeguarding, Cardiovascular Disease and the Voluntary Sector. He is also the Caldicott Guardian.

Steven is also Vice Chair of Calderdale’s Health and Wellbeing Board and chairs the Integrated Commissioning Executive of the Local Authority and the CCG. He is keen to develop the prevention agenda alongside Public Health, as well as see innovation in primary care. He lives in Calderdale with his family.

Dr Matt Walsh, Chief Officer

Matt graduated from the University of Leeds Medical School in 1987. After various hospital and GP training posts in Bradford, he became a GP partner in 1991 and was appointed as a GP trainer two years later.

Matt spent 6 years in senior management as Medical Director for Bradford South and West Primary Care Trust, and was responsible for bringing the four Bradford and Airedale CCGs together to create a single Bradford and Airedale PCT. He then moved to a role in NHS Leeds PCT as Medical Director and Executive Director for Commissioning, where he spent 4 years before joining NHS Calderdale as Medical Director in 2009.

Matt lives in Calderdale and is married with two children. He is passionate about helping to make health and social care services in Calderdale the best they can be. Matt is a member of the Finance and Performance Committee and the Commissioning Primary Medical Services Committee.

Neil Smurthwaite, Chief Finance Officer, Deputy Chief Officer

Neil Smurthwaite joined the CCG having previously been Chief Financial Officer with Airedale Wharfedale and Craven CCG.

He is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and has worked in finance for more than 20 years, joining the NHS seven years ago.  Previously, he was a Director of Finance in social housing and worked for over eight years as a senior client manager in a top 10 accountancy firm in Leeds which specialised in public sector audit and consultancy.

Neil has lived in Calderdale for over 10 years and considers it his adopted home after moving from the south coast many years ago. He is married with three children and two dogs. After many years of being a slave to rugby, Neil has now turned his hand to running and gardening, in between being his kids’ taxi driver!.

Mr David Longstaff, Lay Member Chair of the Audit Committee

David Longstaff has spent of most of his career working for British Telecom. He started as an apprentice and finished after 38 years as a senior executive in charge of audit and risk. In that time, he covered the Calderdale area and knows it well.

As a Lay Member and Deputy Chair of the CCG, he chairs the Audit Committee and is the CCG's lead for whistle-blowing and conflicts of interest. He’s passionate about the CCG being open and transparent and getting the best outcomes for local people.

He has lived in West Yorkshire all his life. Most of his family lives in the Brighouse area and all use the local NHS.

David is married, has one child and three grandchildren. He is a big Rugby League fan.

Dr Majid Azeb, Clinical Vice Chair

Majid studied medicine at the University of Liverpool, qualifying in 1999. He did his junior doctor training in  Liverpool and Calderdale, before moving to Southowram Surgery as a GP partner in 2005.

As well as his practice role, Majid holds a number of lead roles within the CCG. He is Chair of the Quality Committee and clinical lead for urgent care and non-elective care, which puts him at the heart of developing services in these areas.

Majid has many pastimes away from medicine, including playing five-a side football and growing his own vegetables. Majid grew up in Halifax and has strong ties to the Park Ward area of the town.

John Mallalieu, Lay Member (Finance and Performance)

John joined the CCG having been a Non-Executive Director of Calderdale Primary Care Trust from 2009 and is a Lay Member on the Governing Body.

John is currently the Chief Executive of the Bank Workers Charity, a benevolent society which exists to support the health and wellbeing of the banking community.

John has extensive experience in public, private and social enterprise organisations. He was the Managing Director of Turning Point, one of the Country’s leading social enterprises, and held senior roles in both NHS Professionals and NHS Direct, moving into healthcare following a successful periods in Senior Management Roles with Dixons Stores Group International and in Retail Financial Services. He also holds Trustee roles for a national conservation charity and a North-West Housing Association.

John is a member of the Finance and Performance, Audit and Remuneration Committees. He is also the Chair of the Commissioning Primary Medical Services Committee.

Dr Caroline Taylor, GP Member of the Governing Body

Caroline graduated from Leeds Medical School in 1992, underwent GP training in York and Otley, and has held a variety of hospital and GP jobs, including working at Overgate Hospice for two years.

Caroline has been a GP in Calderdale since 1999 when she started working at Beechwood Medical Centre. She has always had a keen interest in mental health, and is the CCG’s clinical lead for mental health and primary care as well as being a member of the Quality and Audit Committees.

Caroline lives in Calderdale with her GP husband and teenage son and daughter, and is a big believer in the importance of a healthy lifestyle in maintaining both physical and mental health. Her favourite way to unwind is running and cycling in our beautiful Calderdale countryside.

Dr Helen Davies, GP Member of the Governing Body

Helen has worked as a GP in Calderdale for 27 years during which time she has developed a deep understanding of the needs of patients. Serving on the CCG’s Governing Body will enable Helen to use this experience to help improve care systems in place across Calderdale.

Helen has a great deal of experience in both the training of new GPs and appraisal of practicing GPs and a comprehensive knowledge of the challenges general practitioners face across Calderdale, but also the opportunities available to them to improve patients’ lives.

Helen has a particular interest in developing patient self-care; encouraging greater uptake of healthy lifestyles; empowering patients in the personal management of their illness and educating residents on how to best use their local care services. She is also keen to promote joined up provision of care so that people get the care they need however they access the service.

Dr Farrukh Javid, GP Member of the Governing Body

Farrukh completed his GP training in Calderdale and Huddersfield before working in various practices across the region as a sessional GP, which gave him an understanding of local services and demographics, before taking up a partnership role at Rastrick Health Centre.

Before qualifying as a GP, Farrukh undertook a Leadership fellowship during which he was involved in the development of a psychiatric liaison service in conjunction with South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust, Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust and the CCG and also helped to develop content for the “Ignaz” smartphone app, which allows doctors to easily access local clinical guidelines and information.

Farrukh has recently completed an MSc in Healthcare Leadership with the NHS Leadership Academy, and in his spare time likes to stay active and enjoys playing football, badminton and running.

Dr James Gray, GP Member of the Governing Body

James qualified from Leeds Medical School in 2008 and completed his GP training in the Pennine VTS training scheme in 2013. He also holds a BSC in Physiology.

He is a GP and partner at Bankfield Surgery in Elland, where he is also the practice commissioning lead. He has previously worked as a locum at multiple local practices in Calderdale and Huddersfield. James is passionate about people and business and is always seeking new and innovative ways of working to help optimise the best care for the local community

For a number of years James was also a volunteer Bishop, where he oversaw marriages, funerals, baptisms and Sunday meetings. He now volunteers in his local hospice and oversees a local youth group. James is married with four children and in his spare time he enjoys watching films with his family, and regularly attending his local gym. He enjoys watching and participating in all sports, his favourite being football. He continues to be a lifelong supporter of Sheffield Wednesday.

Rob Atkinson, Secondary Care specialist

Rob studied medicine at the University of Leicester, before qualifying in 1996. He is currently a Consultant Gastrointestinologist at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Clinical Director for Acute, Specialist and Emergency Medicine, with responsibility for clinical strategy, quality and governance.

He joined the Governing Body for NHS Calderdale CCG in July 2017 as our Secondary Care Specialist and also sits on the Commissioning Primary Medical Services Committee.

Away from work, Rob is married with three children and enjoys cooking, tennis, bridge and walking.

Dr Robert McSherry, Registered Nurse

Rob’s enthusiasm, motivation and passion for the nursing profession are unwavering, with over thirty years’ experience he continues to support and facilitate teams in the quest for excellence in practice.

In December 2010 Rob was awarded a Fellowship to the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, (FFNMRCSI) for his significant contributions to nursing/patient safety and the Higher Education Academy, National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) 2011 in recognition of his excellence in learning and teaching.

Rob is Adjunct Professor University of Tasmania, visiting Professor Tehran University of Medical Sciences and previously visiting professor with Narh-Bita University, Ghana and Clinical Associate Professor with the Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia.

Penny Woodhead, Chief Quality and Nursing Officer

Penny has worked in the NHS for 30 years, trained as a general nurse in a London teaching hospital specialising in oncology and palliative care, and has clinical and management experience across tertiary, secondary, primary care and the voluntary sector.

Penny has been involved in clinical governance since 1998 at service and organisational level, and she holds the role of Chief  Quality and Nursing Officer in the CCG.  Penny is responsible for making sure that the services that are commissioned are of a high standard.  This includes patient safety, safeguarding, clinical effectiveness and patient experience.

Penny is also the organisational lead for Patient and Public Engagement and Equality and Diversity, and is a member of the Quality Committee. Penny represents the CCGs on the Local Safeguarding Children and Adult Boards.

Paul Butcher, CMBC Director of Public Health, Advisor to Governing Body

Paul has worked in various public health roles for over 30 years mainly within the NHS both in frontline and managerial positions. This work has been within the North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions. He was appointed Director for Public Health (DPH) for Calderdale Council in October 2013.

The core purpose of the DPH is as independent advocate for the health of the population and system leadership for its improvement and protection.  Paul is a member of the corporate leadership team in the council and advises and advocates for health and well being across Calderdale.

A Director of Public Health cannot work in isolation and as such being part of the CCG Governing body provides opportunities to ensure the successful delivery of public health programmes and support local health service planning and commissioning. Paul has specific research interests in physical activity, air quality and climate change.

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