Group Executive biographies

The group executive is comprised of the network chief executives, country directors and the group senior management team. They are responsible for the day-to-day running of the NHS Confederation Group and the implementation of the corporate strategy.

Daniel Mortimer, Interim Chief Executive, NHS Confederation

Danny Mortimer is the interim chief executive of the NHS Confederation having previously served as its deputy chief executive. Danny has been chief executive of NHS Employers since November 2014, leading work relating to workforce policy and practice.

Danny first worked in healthcare as a porter and a CSV care assistant before becoming a management trainee in Stoke-on-Trent. He worked in the NHS in Bath and Brighton before taking up his first director post in West Sussex. He then worked in Executive roles in hospitals in Hertfordshire and Nottingham before joining NHS Employers.

Danny is a Chartered Companion of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a trustee of the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion and the NHS Retirement Fellowship and chairs the Cavendish Coalition of social care and health organisations. 


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.


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.

Louise Patten, Chief Executive, NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC)

Profile to be added shortly.

Darren Hughes, Director, Welsh NHS Confederation

Darren has been director of The Welsh NHS Confederation since August 2019. Prior to this he had worked in health professional regulation as director for Wales at the General Pharmaceutical Council and Head of Office at the General Medical Council.

Darren joined the Welsh Confed with a wealth of experience working with the NHS.  His career to date has meant he has worked extensively with the NHS, healthcare professionals, the UK and Welsh Governments, politicians, the media and health stakeholders.

He has also conducted research at Cardiff University looking at how organisations can work together to campaign for legislative change.

Darren was born and brought up in Gilfach Goch in south Wales and now lives “just over the mountain” with his family.


Paul Davies, Interim Director of Finance and IT

Paul Davies is a Chartered Accountant and has a wealth of experience in senior finance roles in the not-for-profit, retail and financial services sectors. His last position was as director of finance and operations at the Chartered Institute of Taxation, immediately prior to this he was finance director at the British Retail Consortium
Paul joined the NHS Confederation in July, 2020 as Interim Director of Finance & IT, working two days/week on Monday and Thursday.


Layla McCay, Director of International Relations

Dr Layla McCay joined the NHS Confederation as director of international relations in May 2018 following a medical career and a decade of leadership roles in international public health and health systems policy.

After obtaining her medical degree at the University of Glasgow, Layla trained as a psychiatrist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, where she later also sat on the trust board.

She first moved into national health policy as Clinical Advisor to the NHS Medical Director at the Department of Health. Layla went on to earn a Masters degree in Health Policy, Planning and Financing from LSE and LSHTM and took up the role of Assistant Medical Director at healthcare company Bupa. From there, Layla moved into international public health and health systems.

She has held international roles at the World Health Organisation, the World Bank and at several global health NGOs, think tanks and universities based in Washington, Tokyo, Hong Kong and London, with teams across Africa and Asia. She has held academic positions at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Hong Kong University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and at TED.

Layla is founder of the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health, is an Asia Global Fellow, and has written on health issues for a diversity of international publications from The Lancet, to New Statesman, National Geographic, and South China Morning Post.

Daniel Reynolds, Director of Communications

Daniel Reynolds joined the NHS Confederation in December 2018. He leads a team that is responsible for internal and external communications as well as membership engagement and insight. 

Daniel is a former journalist and now communications director with 20 years’ experience of working in high-profile national organisations, including think tanks and membership bodies. He began his career as a news reporter on a local newspaper before joining Sky as a news reporter. He then joined the independent health think tank The King’s Fund, where he eventually became deputy director of communications before taking up the role of director of communications at another think tank, the Nuffield Trust. After seven years he left to become director of communications at NHS Providers before joining the NHS Confederation.

Daniel also plays a key role in supporting the development of the NHS communications profession by sitting on the NHS England and NHS Improvement communications development board and lecturing on NHS England and NHS Improvement’s post-graduate diploma in healthcare communications. 

Joan Saddler,  Director of Partnerships and Equality

Joan is director of partnerships and equality at the NHS Confederation leading work around inclusive engagement and equality and diversity. She was formerly national director of patient and public affairs based within the patient and public engagement and experience division at the Department of Health and Social Care. Areas of responsibility included NHS and 3rd sector liaison, complaints, local involvement networks (LINks) and transition to Healthwatch.

As a former primary care trust chair and mental health trust non executive, Joan also brings a system wide governance lens to her work along with her experience as a chief executive within the community and voluntary sector. Joan was awarded an OBE for services to health and diversity in 2007. Her experience informs her role working with the chief executive of NHS England as co-chair of the national NHS Equality and Diversity Council.

Nick Ville, Director of Membership and Policy

Nick Ville is director of membership and policy for the NHS Confederation. He is responsible for the Confederation’s national policy work and regional support service for members. Nick has worked in a number of national senior health and public policy roles in the NHS, central government and national regulators. Before joining the Confederation, Nick was policy director at Monitor/NHS Improvement where he led work on a number of areas including how to close the NHS funding gap, the government’s response to the Francis report and the Five Year Forward View. Nick also served on the board of NHS London supporting the development of a new health strategy for London and was a director in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit where he led work to improve services for problem drug users and improve the operation of the criminal justice system.

John O’Brien, Commercial Director

John joined the NHS Confederation in November 2019 as commercial director; he is also project director of NHS ConfedExpo, our new joint event with NHS England and NHS Improvement.  John leads the teams that deliver all the Confederation’s events, commercial engagement, commercial marketing and our venue in Leeds, Horizon.

John has 25 years’ experience working in membership bodies, including nine years at the NHS Confederation from 2002 to 2011, as Head of Membership and subsequently Director of Member Services.  He has also held senior roles at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, NHS Providers, The Law Society of England & Wales, the Global Law Summit, AXELOS Global Best Practice and a technology consultancy working with membership bodies and charities. 

Marie Pritchard, Interim Director of People

Marie joined the NHS Confederation in August 2012 and took up the role of Interim Director of People in July 2020.
Marie leads teams that support our staff with HR, organisational development and office management as well as governance and GDPR. Marie is currently also Deputy HR Director for NHS Nightingale, Yorkshire and the Humber.
Marie has 18 years experience working in HR in the public and not for profit sector including establishing and delivering HR services within the Police and the Education sectors. She is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.


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