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“I am incredibly pleased to introduce our new Executive Team at NHS Somerset. Since taking on the role of Chief Executive at NHS Somerset Integrated Care Board (ICB), it has been my ambition to create a team with the knowledge and passion to enable us to make a real change for the benefit of the people we serve.

While there has been a lot of change and challenges to overcome, I am excited to focus on the next steps. These appointments, coupled with the care, commitment and knowledge we already have across the ICB and the wider system, are a key part in helping us create an ICS that is committed and passionate about making a real difference..” – Jonathan Higman, Chief Executive NHS Somerset.

Alison Henly – Chief Finance Officer and Director of Performance

Alison was the Director of Finance, Performance, Contracting and Digital for NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and transitioned across into her new role in the ICB on 1 July 2022.

Alison brings with her a wealth of experience, not only from her time in the CCG where she provided financial and strategic performance leadership across the system, but from having worked for Dorset and Somerset Strategic Health Authority as well as Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust during her time in the NHS.

With an in-depth experience of primary care, contracting and the digital agenda as well and leading the sustainability agenda and accountability governance, Alison constantly strives for quality improvements through transformation and efficiency. Her broad knowledge of health and care system and passion for continual improvements and collaborative working to benefit the people of Somerset helped to provide a cohesive transition in July.

Shelagh Meldrum – Chief Nursing Officer

Shelagh began her career in nursing in 1987, working predominantly as a senior nurse in acute medicine before becoming a specialist nurse in neurology. In 2016, following 14 years in the independent health care sector, she returned to the NHS, working in a variety of executive roles, (including five years as Chief Nurse) at Yeovil District Hospital.

She is well aware of the pressures and challenges experienced across the health system, in particular, nursing, midwifery, and the allied health professional groups and her previous role as Chief Officer Partnerships & Collaboration for Yeovil District Hospital and Somerset Foundation Trust, has provided her with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the wider health and care system, and the potential for greater collaboration and partnership working.

Shelagh will draw on her knowledge and experience to support improvement, collaboration and ensuring the clinical, care and support voice is well represented. Shelagh’s passion for improving working cultures and having shared values to allow us to focus on the health and well-being of the population we serve, will help the ICS to fulfil its promise.

Bernie Marden – Chief Medical Officer

Dr Bernie Marden has been a Medical Director at RUH Bath NHS Foundation Trust since 2017. A neonatal paediatrician by background having qualified in London in 1992, he worked in several hospitals in Wessex before undertaking a Neonatal Fellowship in Vancouver.

During his time at RUH he was the first Divisional Director for Women and Children, paving the way for maternity services to be brought into the organisation.

Bernie is currently Chair of the South West Paediatric Critical Care Operational Delivery Network and continues to play an active role in the Bristol and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) system, co-chairing the Population Health and Care Board and serving as SRO for the development of a shared provider Electronic Patient Record.

He has previously held board positions at community provider Wiltshire Health and Care, and the independent hospital Sulis Bath as well as serving as clinical lead for the development of the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care, a highly technical but holistic family centred environment.

With a master’s in medical law and ethics, he is passionate about promoting an approach which is fair, reasonable and just and is excited to join NHS Somerset and being able to work with colleagues across the system to make a real difference to the people of Somerset.

Victoria Downing-Burn – Director of Workforce Strategy

Victoria, who joins us as Director of Workforce Strategy has 20 years’ experience working across a variety of NHS settings, from commissioning to mental health, community and acute. Passionate about integration and working differently, she is highly experienced in developing and implementing strategies, leading organisational change with compassion and care.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), she is also the Vice-President of the Healthcare People Management Association (HMPA) Southwest (a HR charity) and a governor at Bath College. Committed to transforming the skills agenda as part of economic and social development, Victoria is looking forward to forging new relationships and connections across Somerset.

Jade Renville – Director of Corporate Affairs

Jade Renville has extensive experience within the NHS. Starting in commissioning, first within Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) and then Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, she worked across several company secretarial roles within both Somerset Foundation Trusts.

In her recent role as Associate Director of Partnership and Integration, she broke down organisational boundaries to support and facilitate the development of the Somerset Integrated Care System (ICS).

She is focused on improving outcomes and tackling inequalities as well as removing the barriers between health and care and joins NHS Somerset as the Director of Corporate Affairs with responsibility for corporate governance, risk management, compliance and regulation, legal services, PALS and complaints, emergency preparedness, resilience, and response (EPRR) and business continuity, information governance, security, estates and health and safety.

Charlotte Callen – Director of Communications and Engagement

Charlotte became a BBC Home Affairs correspondent in 2017. During her time with the BBC, she has covered a wide variety of key, public issues, from major local, national, and international news stories to more recently helping the public make sense of the rapidly evolving Covid-19 situation for BBC viewers.

Charlotte worked in news for over 15 years; making BBC Radio Four documentaries, running the political output for parts of England as well as running the news team for one of the BBC’s flagship radio stations. Charlotte has worked in national roles but began her career as a local reporter in Somerset and is acutely aware of the pressures faced across the local health and care system.

She is looking forward to bringing together the people of Somerset with healthcare professionals and the voluntary sector to share ideas, building a truly people-led system which will benefit all and improve health and well-being in the county.