Senior Management Team biographies

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Our directors and a number of senior managers within the organisation make up our senior management team. 

The Executive Group is comprised of the chief executives of our networked organisations, they are responsible for the day-to-day running of our networked organisations:

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation

Daniel Mortimer, Chief Executive, NHS Employers

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive, Mental Health Network

David Hare, Chief Executive, NHS Partners Network

Heather Moorhead, Director, Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care

Julie Wood, Chief Executive, NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC)

Elisabetta Zanon, Director, NHS European Office

Vanessa Young, Director, Welsh NHS Confederation

The Confederation Management Team (CMT) is responsible for the day-to-day running of the core NHS Confederation: 

Sarah Walter, Group Director, Internal Affairs

Ed Browne, Assistant Director, Finance

Andrea Hester, Assistant Director of Pensions and Reward, NHS Employers, and Director of People, NHS Confederation

Phil McCarvil,  Assistant Director, Policy

Andrew Fisher, Deputy Director, Communications and Commercial Services

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation

Niall has served in some of the most prominent national roles in health and care. Before joining the NHS Confederation, for seven years he was the chief executive and registrar of the General Medical Council, where he oversaw a raft of major reforms. For six years before that he was chief executive of the King’s Fund which under his leadership pioneered work on managing long term conditions and the reform of social care funding. 

For sixteen years (from 1988 to 2004) he was a senior correspondent for BBC News, latterly as Social Affairs Editor. Early in his career he was the editor of Nursing Times and of a journal for allied health professionals.  

Daniel Mortimer, Chief Executive, NHS Employers

Danny Mortimer took up post as chief executive of NHS Employers in November 2014. NHS Employers is the voice of employers across the NHS, and leads work relating to workforce policy and practice on behalf of the NHS.

Danny has a degree in politics from York University and first worked in healthcare as a porter, and a CSV care assistant before becoming a regional trainee in Stoke-on-Trent. He then worked at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, and Brighton Health Care. His first director post was for Royal West Sussex NHS Trust and Western Sussex PCT from 2001.

He subsequently (2003) became director of HR and organisational development at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. He joined Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust as executive director of HR in 2007, and he became its executive director of workforce and strategy in 2009.

Danny is a chartered fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.


Sean Duggan, Chief Executive, Mental Health Network

Sean Duggan joined the Mental Health Network as Chief Executive in November 2016. Sean is passionate about raising standards of care and treatment of mental health services and improving lives of those who use services and their carers. His focus is on influencing politicians, policy makers and heads of public sector organisations and other key stakeholders to deliver evidence based intervention with a sound economic basis.

Previously, Sean joined the Centre for Mental Health as director of Criminal Justice Programme in 2006, and became Chief Executive in 2011. Immediately before joining the Centre, Sean was Director of Health and Social Care for Criminal Justice at the London Development Centre and offender health consultant for the Department of Health. He trained as a registered mental health nurse in Sussex, where he also held his first NHS Board Director’s post.

Sean is a founder member of the Mental Health Policy Group and has expertise in forensic psychology and criminal justice.

David Hare, Chief Executive, NHS Partners Network

David leads the independent sector NHSPN, concentrating on NHS reform and promoting the contribution that independent sector healthcare providers can make in the modern, pluralist NHS, and the benefits their involvement brings to patients and commissioners.

Previously David was a director at The Whitehouse Consultancy, a political communications firm based in London. At Whitehouse, David built and led the company’s public services team, providing advice and support to a wide range of organisations involved in delivering health, education, children’s services, social care and welfare-to-work programmes.

David has also acted as the director of strategy for the LIFT Council, the trade body that represents the private sector equity investors in the Local Improvement Finance Trust programme, overseeing all of their engagement with government bodies.

David has also worked in Parliament as well as being a parliamentary adviser to a large national charity.

Heather Moorhead, Director, Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care

Heather joined us from the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (a membership body) where she was the chief executive responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organisation to support and facilitate local government improvement and modernisation.

Previous to this, Heather was director of the Sustainable Northern Ireland Programme where she was responsible for developing the organisation which provided advice and guidance to government departments on sustainable development issues.

Heather’s earlier career was spent in the field of Environmental Health and she held positions across various specialism’s including health and safety, consumer protection, training and health promotion.

Heather is a member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the NI Chief Executives Forum.

Sarah Walter, Group Director, Internal Affairs

Sarah joined the NHS Confederation in April 2012 and is responsible for ensuring effective delivery and development of the organisation's day-to-day operating activities.

Sarah's early career was spent leading policy development at the Department of Health, and she subsequently went on to specialise in business improvement and delivery roles. She has worked for a number of organisations in the public and not-for-profit sectors, most recently as part of the team involved in establishing NHS England.

Elisabetta Zanon, Director, NHS European Office

Elisabetta Zanon has 20 years of professional experience in European affairs. This has included representing different UK public sector organisations to the EU institutions, as well as working for different European associations.

She has a successful track record in influencing EU policy and legislation and in designing and running EU communication and awareness raising campaigns.

She established the NHS European Office in Brussels at the end of 2007 and since then works as director of this office, covering a broad range of EU policy developments of importance to the NHS and ensuring the NHS engage effectively with the EU agenda.

Her role also involves representing the NHS in the following European organisations: the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation (HOPE), the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers’ Association (HOSPEEM), the European Centre for Enterprises with Public Participation (CEEP).

Julie Wood, Chief Executive, NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC)

Julie Wood is the director of NHSCC and as such works with the NHSCC co-chairs to lead NHS Clinical Commissioners. As part of this national role, she is involved in working at the centre of detailed policy development and implementation with the Department of Health, NHS England and the other main national organisations ensuring that the independent collective voice of CCGs is heard.

She combines her role with NHSCC with a small amount of healthcare policy consultancy activities, supporting commissioning and innovation with local health communities and national/international healthcare-related organisations.

Julie’s NHS career spans 30 years, focused on service development and innovation in primary care and commissioning, with the last 16 years at director/chief executive levels within Health Authorities, PCG/Ts.

She has had many articles published and most recently has published work with the Kings Fund and the Nuffield Trust with the NHS Alliance on Clinical commissioning and Improving the quality of commissioning of primary care.

Ed Browne, Assistant Director, Finance

Ed is the senior finance professional at the NHS Confederation and works across all parts of the group on financial matters. Ed has a strong background in NHS finances and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). Having started his career at St George’s Hospital in London in 1998, he has worked in provider, commissioning and mental health organisations across Merseyside, Yorkshire and London. He joined the Finance team at the NHS Confederation in 2007. Ed also provides financial advice to a local charity in Leeds, where he is currently treasurer.

Phil McCarvill, Assistant Director, Policy

Phil McCarvill joined the NHS Confederation as deputy director of policy in April 2015. Prior to joining the NHS Confederation he was head of policy and public affairs for the charity, Marie Curie. He has previously worked for the Commission for Racial Equality, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), as well as a range of roles in local government and the NHS.

Phil has written extensively on a range of issues including dementia, end of life care, health inequalities, NHS reform, housing and race equality. He is an experienced media spokesperson, with experience of both television and radio.

Phil has a PhD in ethnic relations from the University of Warwick.

Andrea Hester, Assistant Director of Pension and Reward, NHS Employers, and Director of People, NHS Confederation

Andrea leads NHS Employers' work on the NHS Pension Scheme reform programme and the total reward strategy for the NHS. She has held a variety of senior roles including director of HR at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust and director of OD and HR at NHS North of Tyne. Andrea was appointed to the NHS Employers Assembly in 2003 and from this role became a member of the management side Staff Council and Pay Negotiating Committee.

She joined NHS Employers full time in 2006 as the head of programmes, with responsibility for the ISTC work programmes and workforce productivity. In October 2006 Andrea became the head of employment services with responsibility for health and well-being, employment practice, revalidation and education. Following a period of just over 18 months at NHS North of Tyne, Andrea returned to NHS Employers as the Head of Pensions and Reward.

Vanessa Young, Director, Welsh NHS Confederation

Vanessa was appointed as Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation in April 2016 from her role as Corporate Director Resources at Bridgend County Borough Council.

Using her extensive experience of developing strategy and driving transformation and efficiency in the public sector, Vanessa leads the Welsh NHS Confederation and ensures the views of its members are at the heart of Welsh public policy.
She has worked in both Whitehall and the Welsh Government as a policy civil servant and was, for a time, Chief Accountant for the NHS in Wales. 
Vanessa was the Director of Resources for the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) between 2008 and 2012 where she represented local authorities at a national level on financial matters, including the annual financial settlement.  In 2012 she moved to Bridgend County Borough Council where she was the statutory Chief Financial Officer and she played a significant role in steering the authority through a major period of change and financial constraint. 

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