The Governing Body

The Governing Body is the key decision-making body of the CCG and became accountable for its activities from 1 April 2013. On 11 December 2012, the Group became a legal entity after it was authorised by the NHS Commissioning Board.
Our Governing Body has a chair, 2 executive directors, 2 secondary care clinical member, 4 lay members and 6 GP members, who are responsible for providing the clinical leadership of NHS Kernow as it commissions community, acute and mental health services. Our director of primary care is also a member of the Governing Body, along with the local director of public health or their deputy. Since 1 April 2020, NHS Kernow also commissions primary medical services as delegated by NHS England.

View dates and meeting papers for our Governing Body meetings.

If you have any questions for our Governing Body board members, you can email

Dr Iain Chorlton

Dr Iain Chorlton, chair

Iain grew up in Cornwall and has been a GP since 1997, working the majority of that time in the county. He is currently a partner at Tamar Valley Health.

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He has a longstanding interest in commissioning, and has stepped into the role of chair having been a Governing Body GP for the east of the county since the CCGs formation.

Iain and his family are foster carers and he dedicates his spare time to the Friends of Urambo and Mwanhala charity supporting projects in Tanzania.

Executive directors
Helen Charlesworth-May

Helen Charlesworth-May, accountable officer, NHS Kernow/strategic director for public health and care, Cornwall Council

Helen became NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council’s joint chief officer for health, care and wellbeing on 1 April 2020.

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The role provides joint leadership and oversight, as services continue to evolve to meet the changing demands of our population. Under Helen’s leadership, public health, health and, care services will be better placed to develop joint approaches and services which respond to people’s needs and promote the wider health and wellbeing of people and communities.

Helen’s appointment follows her work as Cornwall Council’s strategic director of adult social care and health.

Her extensive career in both the NHS and social care spans over 30 years. She has a proven track record of working across adult social care and health, driving forward innovative health and care integration.

Helen’s appointment to this role is initially for 18 months.

Clare Bryan

Clare Bryan, chief finance officer and senior information risk officer (SIRO)

Clare Bryan does not deny that a chance to live in Cornwall – a beautiful area and a great place to bring up a young family – was a significant factor in applying to become our chief finance officer.

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She says the role is also a chance for career progression and to prove herself in a top commissioning finance job.

Clare was previously in the NHS England Wessex office as head of finance and is well-versed in commissioning, having worked in primary care trusts and clinical commissioning groups, It is also an area of finance she enjoys.

Clinical members
Dr Matthew Hayman

Dr Matthew Hayman, secondary care doctor member

Matt read medicine at Edinburgh and Oxford completing a PhD in neurophysiology during that time.

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Having trained in geriatric medicine Matt has held consultant roles in Cambridge (Addenbrooke’s), London (UCLH), Portsmouth and Taunton (Musgrove Park Hospital) working in geriatric and acute medicine. Matt has always been interested in frailty and models of care that looked outside the acute hospital.

In Somerset, Matt has held a number of leadership roles within acute and community trusts and is currently deputy chief medical officer of an alliance of acute, primary care, mental health and community foundation trusts with a merger planned for April 2020.

Natalie Jones

Natalie Jones, chief nursing officer, NHS Kernow

Natalie has worked in the NHS for more than 30 years, having a background in adult nursing and midwifery.

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Natalie has obtained a variety of clinical experience across community and primary care, developing a special interest in family planning and counselling. Having held a number of senior roles in care delivery and leadership in the NHS across a wide range of organisations, Natalie brings to the board a wealth of expertise and well established relationships across partner agencies.

Throughout her career Natalie has been a passionate advocate for patient engagement to improve the quality of services, and is committed to supporting people to achieve their highest potential.

Educated to Masters degree level, Natalie currently holds a portfolio of responsibilities that includes quality and safety, infection control and safeguarding adults and children.

Lay members
Chris Blong

Chris Blong, deputy chair and governance lay member

Chris spent over 30 years as an officer in the Armed Forces and retired as a Senior Brigadier in 2010.

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During his career, he worked collaboratively with the defence medical community. The latter stages were spent managing defence level logistic and life support capabilities for all 3 services in the UK and overseas.

Chris has embedded himself within the Bude community and continues to restore his family’s Cornish longhouse, which is an ongoing labour of love. He is a qualified and experienced Canoe England level 2 paddle sports coach.

Married with 3 children, he currently acts as a volunteer coach and mentor to former Service personnel.

Nikki Kelly

Nikki Kelly, patient and public involvement lay member

Nikki has previously worked alongside the public sector to support people with long term conditions both within acute care settings and in their community.

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Nikki has more than 20 years of experience in advocacy, place-based regeneration, social justice, high impact community events and supporting people in some of the country’s most deprived communities, most recently as the director for premier league football club Tottenham Hotspur’s Foundation.

Melissa Mead

Melissa Mead, primary care and prevention lay member

Melissa is a passionate health campaigner and works relentlessly for the Sepsis Trust, raising awareness of the condition among the public and health professionals to improve early recognition and help.

John Yarnold

John Yarnold, fiscal management lay member

John is a qualified accountant, with extensive experience and knowledge in both banking and the NHS.

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His roles include cost accountant; management accountant; chief internal auditor and a unit accountant.

He was employed as deputy director of finance in Plymouth Health Authority in 1986 and appointed as acting director of resources 2 years’ later. John continued in that role until the NHS Trust became established, when he became the first director of finance for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

He undertook a 2 year secondment to the Department of Health as project director for the shared business services initiative, before returning to Plymouth as to support performance and governance and finally finance director, where he helped return the trust to surplus after 3 years’ in deficit. John retired from the NHS in 2011, but his passion and interest has not waned and he has continued to provide advice and support to a number of trusts across the country.

GP members
Dr Paul Cook

Dr Paul Cook

Paul studied and trained to be a GP in Cardiff, as well as undertaking further training in New Zealand for 18 months

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He moved to Cornwall in 2001 and had a combination of roles over time as a locum, salaried GP for six years in north Cornwall and a police surgeon. Paul is now a partner in Carnon Downs Surgery, since joining the surgery in 2010.

Over the last 10 years, Paul has been involved in mental health commissioning and has been the PCT/CCG mental health clinical lead for over five years. He has seen various aspects of the NHS through this role, as it is linked to almost all areas of commissioned services.

Paul used to be a be a gig rower but recently, more of this time is spent with his family.

Dr Judy Duckworth

Dr Judy Duckworth

Judy studied medicine at Sheffield University and has been working in Cornwall since 1994.

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She is currently employed at Falmouth Hospital by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and by NHS England as a GP appraiser. In previous roles, she was a partner at Helston Medical Centre, and a salaried GP with the out-of-hours service and the acute GP service at Treliske Hospital. Judy has held managerial roles as senior medical adviser to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly PCT and deputy medical director for the Cornwall out-of-hours service.

Judy enjoys sailing, hill-walking, skiing and painting. She is committed to high-quality, safe and accessible healthcare which is responsive to the needs of local communities.

Dr John Garman

Dr John Garman

Dr John Garman is a well-known and respected face for people living in and around Helston, where he has been a partner at Helston Medical Centre for the past 12 years. He was also the Isles of Scilly lead GP for five years.

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During his time at St Mary’s he helped transform the practice, which the CQC twice rated as being outstanding under his leadership.

He said: “I have a passion for person-centred care and my experience on Scilly has given me great insight into the complexities of commissioning and instilled in me a sense that anything can be achieved, with the right will.

“I’ve seen first-hand how things can develop when people work together, and I’m excited about supporting NHS Kernow to achieve its vision.”

Dr Francis Old

Dr Francis Old

Francis attended Leeds University where he studied 2 degrees in medicine and medical physiology.

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On qualifying, he returned to Cornwall and his medical rotation included a spell at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in the intensive care unit of the emergency department. He then did his GP training and joined the Helston Practice in 2003 where he was an original member of the West Cornwall Commissioning Group.

Francis left the practice in August 2017 and now works in urgent and emergency care as a locum GP. He has a special interest in championing access to health care for the population of the Scilly Islands, a community he got to know when he was a fisherman. Francis is the Governing Body lead for primary care, urgent care and prescribing.

Dr Deryth Stevens

Dr Deryth Stevens

Dr Deryth Stevens is passionate about making sure people can access the same high quality care, no matter where they live. Dr Stevens is a salaried GP at Tamar Valley Health.

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Previously, Deryth was the clinical chairman for NHS North Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group where she oversaw the design of an out of hospital community service; a new stroke pathway; the redesign of maternity services and a new service to support the mental health of children and adolescents.

She said: “At north Warwickshire, I feel I have shaped the culture of our CCG to be open, transparent, collegial, and supportive. This is something I’m looking forward to continuing in Cornwall.”

Dr Rob White

Dr Rob White

Rob is a GP and a partner at St Agnes surgery and is also NHS Kernow’s clinical lead for elective care.

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Rob graduated from Kingston Poly with first class honours in bio-analytical science and biochemistry and qualified at the University College Hospitals and Middlesex School of Medicine. He has held research posts at Harefield Hospital, St Mary’s and St Bartholomew’s Medical School and St Thomas Hospital.

When he’s not working with Serco’s out of hours’ service as an acute GP or a GP sifter at the referral management service, Rob can be found either restoring his 1968 Morris Minor or relaxing with his wife and 4 children.

Other members
Andrew Abbott

Andrew Abbott, interim Governing Body member

Andrew combines experience gained from both healthcare and telecoms, working at senior levels in the NHS and commercial sectors.

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Prior to joining NHS Kernow, Andrew was working in healthcare consultancy for independent healthcare specialists supporting the NHS across England. He has experience of working with PCTs, CCGs, acute trusts and SHAs, and delivered multi-agency change programmes across whole health and social care economies. Prior to this Andrew was a locality commissioning director in a PCT in Avon, and an associate director at a large acute foundation trust in Gloucestershire, with an evolving portfolio covering operations, strategy, clinical audit, performance management and change management.

After studying medical science and neuropharmacology at Birmingham University Medical School, Andrew entered the telecoms consultancy industry helping global blue-chip and venture-backed technology companies to grow and build their businesses, focusing on human resources and sales channel management. Reigniting his interests in medicine, Andrew left the sector to join the NHS through the Gateway to Leadership Programme.

Andrew moved to Cornwall with his wife and 2 young daughters, and has family in Perranwell Station and Plymouth – he enjoys spending time with his family, trail running, cycling and music.

Rachel Wigglesworth

Rachel Wigglesworth, public health interim director

Rachel is the public health interim director for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Rachel started in her role in March 2020.

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The director of public health is leading the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and responsible for promoting and protecting the health of the population. Rachel is working with health, care and system partners to ensure a joint approach to tackling health inequalities in Cornwall. She is passionate about working alongside communities to improve the health of vulnerable groups and previously worked for Shelter and Sure Start. Rachel has also worked on mental health and employment programmes and in a wide range of public health roles including with Public Health England, CCGs and public health teams across the south west. She also has a strong academic interest and research experience with Oxford University, London School of Economics, Exeter University Medical School and holds a lead role for promoting public health NIHR research in the south west peninsula.