Meet the board
Richard Burden - Chair
Richard was previously Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield from 1992 to 2019. He served as a Shadow Minister and on several Select Committees including chairing the Commons Committee set up to scrutinise West Midlands affairs.
An experienced community leader, Richard drove initiatives to build community resilience in South West Birmingham during a time of deep social and economic challenges, including those related to the loss of car manufacturing at Longbridge.
Richard brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role and a passion for helping the people of Birmingham and Solihull
Jasbir Rai - Company Secretary
Jas is responsible for the efficient administration of Healthwatch, ensuring compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements and for ensuring that decisions of directors are implemented.
Jas is the Deputy CEO of BVSC and has worked in the sector for 17 years and has been company secretary for BVSC for over 10 years. Jas has been involved with Healthwatch Birmingham from when it was first set-up and has a wealth of experience in supporting boards and in strategic financial management.
Fiona Taylor - Non-Executive Director
Fiona has worked in a range of health and social care charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Leonard Cheshire, Anchor Trust and Motor Neurone Disease Association - both in education and service improvement roles. She is passionate about reducing health inequality and working with service providers to support people to live the best life they can.
Fiona has also been an Associate Lecturer at Open University for 10 years, where she has taught modules in communication, management and leadership in health and social care. Her original qualification is in Speech and Language Therapy, and she also has post-graduate qualifications in Training & Development and Learning Disability. She is a Chartered Manager with a special interest in the relationships between voluntary and statutory organisations.
Ranjeet Bhupla - Non-Executive Director
Ranjeet was born in Birmingham and is currently living in Birmingham. He is a husband and father of two children.
Ranjeet is a highly experienced Senior IT Leader with a strong track record of managing and delivering ICT services, programmes and solutions in demanding and fast paced environments in the public, private, and third sector. Driven and self-reliant, he sets targets and leads by example, demonstrating collective leadership and collaboration with strong values and good interpersonal skills to engage, motivate and encourage others through change.
Ranjeet has recently obtained a Masters in Leadership from the University of Birmingham. Having worked in the NHS for a period of 3 years, Ranjeet is passionate about the delivery of health and social care in Birmingham and Solihull, meeting the needs of the diverse communities that exist within.
Ranjeet currently works at Teach First as their Director of Technology, striving to improve the outcomes of children in schools and their families in disadvantaged communities.
Neelam Heera - Non-Executive Director
Neelam Heera is the founder of Cysters, a grassroots organisation dedicated to supporting women with reproductive and mental health issues. Cysters work with marginalised communities and remain culturally sensitive despite challenging topics around these health concerns. The group work with the community to reduce cultural barriers, tackle exclusion and ensure equal access to healthcare.
Neelam is also a trustee for Stop Hate UK and the Brain Injury Association. She has recently been awarded a Points of Light from the Prime Minister and is named as Birminghams 30 under 30.
Dr Peter Rookes - Non-Executive Director
Dr Peter Rookes is an experienced health service manager, educator and researcher, who has worked extensively in both the state and non-state sectors in the UK and overseas.
Peter most recently researched relationships between faith-based health providers and governments in developing countries. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ramblers, with a special interest in the Walking for Health Programme.
Dr Rookes is a Non-Executive Director for Birmingham Voluntary Service Council and County International and Faiths Advisor for Birmingham Scouts. As Secretary for Birmingham Council of Faiths, he works to achieve cohesion between people of different faiths and promote the involvement of people of faith in civil society.
With the assistance of colleagues, Peter coordinates the annual Faiths for Fun for children, the twice yearly Faiths, Health and Wellbeing Seminars, and the Birmingham programme for National Interfaith Week.
Having worked in several developing countries, Peter is passionate that comprehensive healthcare should be available according to clinical need and free at the point of delivery, and there should be public involvement in making decisions about health service priorities.
Dr John James – Non-Executive Director
John was born in West Bromwich, graduated from University of Birmingham and has spent his working career in Staffordshire, living in Lichfield.
John currently works as the Medical Director for Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent STP. Prior to this he was a GP in Lichfield for 33 years, and held roles including Chair of South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsular CCG, honorary lecturer at the University of Birmingham, examiner for The Royal College of GPs and civilian advisor to the Tri Services General Practice Education Committee
John has always been committed to the development of future health professionals, through his involvement with the training of undergraduates, postgraduates, GP Registrars, Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Allied Health Professionals
In his roles he has always championed the involvement of the citizen in decisions as regards their health care, be that with the individual or the wider population.
John is passionate about ensuring the citizen and patient voice is central to the planning, commissioning and delivery of health care. John set up his practice’s first patient participation group in the early 1980s, developed a citizen and patient council for the CCG he chaired and has worked closely with Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Healthwatch in his role of STP Medical Director.
Tony Green - Non-Executive Director
Tony’s been Director of Human Resources for a company of 5,000 staff, General Manager of a professional institute, and Director of HR Strategy during the creation of the Environment Agency from 85 smaller organisations. He also lectured in management topics then became a management consultant specialising in business transformations (exciting, high pay, high risk work) until his wife developed motor neurone disease. His ‘instant expert’ role in Birmingham Council’s Scrutiny team was working with the councillor chairs of the Health and Care Scrutiny Committees and briefing them about topics raised by Committee members.
He served on Birmingham Area Prescribing Committee, chairing its Governance Committee, chaired committees of Accord Housing Association Group, served on the boards of subsidiary housing associations then became chair of the Accord Group Board.
Until Covid, Tony chaired an enormous Patient Participation Group (PPG) and Solihull PPGs Network. He currently serves on three patient groups in UHB and is deputy chair of one.
Tim Phillips - Volunteer Board Representative
Tim Joined Birmingham City Council Older Adults section in 1994 post qualification as a Social Worker and spent 23 years as a practitioner and Assistant Manager leaving the council in December 2017. In the years of being a practitioner with the City Tim has been able to build a wealth of experience in terms of statutory service delivery and is familiar with some of the real and perceived barriers citizens hold of the role of social workers and the assessment process.
Tim has experience in the voluntary sector as chair of the Disability Resource Centre since 2004 and has been able to understand the difficulties disabled people have to overcome in all aspects community engagement and access to health, education, and employment and training. Recognising disabled citizens of Birmingham and wider West Midlands ongoing struggle for equality of access to all aspects of community engagement Tim has also broadened his voluntary activities in the community.
Some of Tim’s other voluntary activities include, Birmingham City Council’s Citizens Voice, Healthwatch Birmingham, Birmingham University Hospitals NHS trust which includes membership of Heartlands hospital site action group. Also membership of DMR company’s Children’s services as a Lay person on their fostering panel.