Read the latest HealthWatch newsletter:  Newsletter 117, Winter 2021-22

Dr Sarah Wollaston


Dr Wollaston is a rarity – a scientifically literate and sceptical politician. She has consistently used her background as a hospital doctor and GP, and her experience as a forensic examiner for the police, to bring a logical and dispassionate analysis to social problems and affairs of state. Further, she has had the courage to change her mind in the face of new evidence, and even – when supported by sound evidence – to defy her party whips. Her track record includes advising on the ill-considered Saatchi Bill, supporting minimum-unit-pricing for alcohol, chairing the government’s Health Select Committee, and working to protect patients’ confidential information. She has maintained always the highest level of personal integrity. She was the 2018 winner of the HealthWatch Award.

Declaration of interests

To follow.

Sir Michael Rawlins


Sir Michael Rawlins was the chair of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency from 2014 to 2020, and chairman of UK Biobank until December 2019. Previous to that he was chair of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) from 1999 to 2013, and President of the Royal Society of Medicine from 2012 to 2014.

A medical doctor who went on to research safety and efficacy of pharmacological treatments as a professor at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sir Michael chaired the Committee on Safety of Medicines in the 1990s. Amongst his numerous awards and achievements, he was knighted in 1999 for services to the improvement of patient protection from the side effects of medicinal drugs. He once told the Guardian, “All young healthcare professionals, irrespective of whether they eventually undertake research themselves, need to know how to understand what really constitutes ‘evidence’ if they are to practice their profession, to the highest standards, in an ever-changing world.”

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Prof Steve Jones


Steve Jones is emeritus professor of Human Genetics, at the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London; and president of the Galton Institute. An accomplished communicator on evolution and genetics, he appears frequently on radio and television and is a regular columnist for the Daily Telegraph. His academic career is distinguished by his elegant and continuing experimental work on the ecological genetics of snails and fruit flies. Steve Jones is the author of successful and influential books on science for the lay reader, including The Language of the Genes and Darwin’s Ghost.

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Dr Margaret McCartney


Margaret McCartney is a GP in Glasgow who has been a regular column writer for the BMJ and the Financial Times, broadcasts for Radio 4's Inside Health, and is the author of The Patient Paradox - why sexed up medicine is bad for your health, and Living with Dying, finding care and compassion at the end of life. She is also a tutor at the University of Glasgow and chair of the Royal College of GPs Overdiagnosis group — for shared decisions in healthcare.

She says that it's vitally important that we are honest about what we know and what we don't know in  healthcare — and to try and reduce uncertainties where we can. We need to be equally critical of orthodox and alternative medicine — the standard of evidence should be the same, otherwise people are needlessly harmed.

Declaration of interests

My declaration of interest is on Who Pays this Doctor? and on my blog.

Robin Ince


Robin Ince is a comedian, actor and writer, best known for co-presenting the award-winning BBC Radio 4 science/comedy chat show “The Infinite Monkey Cage” with physicist Brian Cox. Dubbed an uber-geek for his rationalist and humanist views, he has explained himself very sensibly in New Scientist: “I think it is a pity to live your life in ignorance and embrace that ignorance—for instance with ideas like intelligent design.” Ince organises highly rational events at the Bloomsbury Theatre and at the Hammersmith Apollo, such as the successful seasonal science, comedy and music show Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People.

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Lord Dick Taverne


Dick Taverne is a Liberal Democrat Member of the House of Lords. He was elected as Labour MP for Lincoln in 1962–1972 and was a Minister in the Home Office and Treasury between 1966 and1970. In 1973 he was re-elected as independent social democrat MP for Lincoln until 1974. In 1972 he launched the Institute for Fiscal Studies and was its first director, later chairman, until 1983. After appointment to the Lords in 1996, he founded the charity Sense About Science in 2002 and was its chairman until 2012. He is the author of The March of Unreason, Science, Democracy and the New Fundamentalism (2006) and Against the Tide — Politics and Beyond, a Memoir (2014).

He says, "I strongly support HealthWatch because it is one of the leading voices exposing bad science and promoting the formidable and vital task of improving the public understanding of science."

Declaration of interests

No further interests to declare.

For press and other enquires please contact us.

The elected members of the HealthWatch committee are also Trustees of the Charity. In addition there are committee members who are not Trustees, but who are co-opted for their specialist expertise. Committee members and Trustees are elected at each Annual General Meeting.

President: Nick Ross CBE Trustee


Nick is a journalist and campaigner and was one of the founders of HealthWatch. He is a veteran broadcaster who launched British breakfast TV, Watchdog and Crimewatch and whose credits include many of the best-known news and current affairs programmes on radio and TV.

He is a Trustee of Sense About Science and the UK Stem Cell Foundation, Chairman of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science at UCL, a non-executive director of one of the largest NHS acute hospital trusts, and a member of the Royal College of Physicians Committee on Ethical Issues in Medicine and of the research steering group of the Royal College of Surgeons. He has twice been Chairman of the Royal Society Science Book Prize and been a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics as well as several government committees and inquiries including the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee, the Health of the Nation Working Group and the NHS Taskforce. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and a visiting professor at UCL.

Nick was awarded CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2021 for services to broadcasting, charity and crime prevention.

Declaration of interests

I do not believe there is anything that would affect my approach to HW; rather my commitment to the aims of HW is likely to colour my approach to the other tasks. But I suppose I should concede I have multiple interests that might be considered by others to affect the impartiality of my role in HealthWatch:
  • Voluntary commitments to boards and advisory committees of several health-related and bioethics charities and not-for-profit organisations.
  • Occasional paid work for, or involving, the Department of Health, NHS, health-related companies including the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors.
  • Broadcasting and journalism sometimes concerning health issues.

Chair: Professor Susan Bewley Trustee

Susan B 2014

Susan Bewley is Emeritus Professor (Honorary), King’s College London Department of Obstetrics & Women’s Health. She has always been devoted to the cause of rational, empathic and evidence-based medicine and the development of learning cultures. She was Honorary Clinical Director Obstetrics, NHS London (2010–2013) and consultant obstetrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (1994–2011) where she was responsible for leading a highly regarded maternity unit and introducing innovative services, including perinatal mental health and domestic violence enquiry and advocacy.

Her main research interests were severe maternal morbidity, domestic and sexual violence, and institutional abuse, with over 350 publications including seven books. She chaired the RCOG Ethics Committee 2004–2007 and NICE Guideline Development and Evidence Update Groups (2012–date), as well as performing independent reviews of NHS maternity services and being an expert advisor to Government. She worked part-time at the Havens Sexual Assault Referral Centre (2014–2018) variously as an out-of-hours Sexual Offenses Examiner, research lead and locum consultant lead.

Declaration of interests

Prof Bewley's declaration of interest can be found here: Who pays this doctor?

Vice-Chair: Leeza Osipenko Trustee


Dr Leeza Osipenko is a Senior Lecturer in Practice at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She joined the LSE Department of Health Policy in September 2018.

Between 2014 and 2018 she led Scientific Advice at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE). She chaired over 150 advisory meetings at NICE and at the EMA (European Medicines Agency) and closely collaborated with EUnetHTA and MHRA. At NICE, Dr Osipenko provided methodological, operational, and strategic leadership for the team which became well-known internationally. During those years Dr Osipenko represented NICE as a Chief Analyst at the Department of Health Appraisal Alignment Working Group.

Prior to joining NICE, she did a post-doc at Warwick Medical school and worked as Principal Economist at the public sector consultancy, Optimity Matrix.

Declaration of interests

No further declaration.

Treasurer: Dr Saba Ul-Hasan Trustee


Saba is a registered doctor with over five years of experience working in NHS hospitals. She is currently a Research Associate and Operational Manager at Consilium Scientific.

Saba has previously worked in a primary care setting in London, where she created a Whole Systems Integrated Care programme for a local health authority.

In 2020, she completed her MSc in Health Policy, Planning, and Financing from the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

She is well versed in multidisciplinary methodologies to policy creation, implementation, analysis, and evaluation at the local, national, and international levels.

Declaration of interests

I have no conflicts of interest. My income is mainly from my Limited consultancy company, which provides IT and non-profit research organisation services.

Secretary: Roger Fisken Trustee


Roger read medicine at Oxford, where he also undertook a PhD in neuroanatomy. He trained in clinical medicine in Birmingham, then received specialist training in Birmingham, London (St Bartholomew's Hospital) and Liverpool before becoming a consultant physician in North Yorkshire, specialising in diabetes and endocrinology. He retired in 2010. Roger's endocrine research focussed on hypercalcaemia and hyperparathyroidism. During his working life, he was a referee for several medical journals, including The Lancet and Diabetic Medicine. He has been a member of HealthWatch UK for twenty years and has, on several occasions, acted as an assessor for the student prize competition.

Declaration of interests


Newsletter Editor: Mandy Payne


Mandy attends committee meetings but is not a Trustee of the Charity

Letters for publication are welcome — please contact the Editor.

Declaration of interests

Mandy Payne has been producing the HealthWatch Newsletter since 1995 and is paid for her professional services for this.

Aside from HealthWatch UK, Mandy Payne is a freelance medical editor and also works closely with bioethics consultancy Words & Science, Brussels providing advice and training support for clients that include vaccine industry R&D. Mandy does not hold shares in any pharma, vaccine or medical device company. She is an associate member of the Committee On Publication Ethics (COPE) and a member of the European Association of Science Editors.

Dr James May Trustee


James graduated from Sheffield Medical School in 1997, and is now a GP principal in Kennington.

He has an MA in Bioethics from St Mary’s College in Twickenham, writing a dissertation on the mind-body problem in medicine, and he has a long-term interest in the history and philosophy of science.

Declaration of interests

I have no conflicts of interest. My income is entirely from work as a General Practitioner for the NHS.

Dr John Illman Trustee


Dr John Illman is a former editor of General Practioner. He spent five years as medical correspondent on the Daily Mail and eight years on The Guardian as health editor. The immediate past chair of the Medical Journalists Association, he divides his time between writing, lecturing and media consultancy work. He is a visiting lecturer in medical journalism at the University of Westminster and is writing a series of books on mental health. His former titles include The Body Machine with Christiaan Barnard. He has received several awards.

Declaration of interests

John Illman runs a commercial consultancy, John Illman Communications. Clients include pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, the NHS, charities and representative bodies such as the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is a PAYE employee of the University of Westminster and a freelance journalist, broadcaster and author. He was paid by the Research Defence Society (now known as Understanding Animal Research) to write the book: Animal Research in Medicine (2008 100 years of Politics, Protest and Progress: The Story of the Research Defence Society.

Keith Isaacson Trustee


Keith is a Senior Consultant Orthodontist. He joined HealthWatch shortly after its formation and has been on the committee for many years. He is currently Vice Chairman of the committee. Professionally he was formerly Chairman of Examiners for Orthodontics for the Royal College of Surgeons of England and formerly Chairman of the Medical Writers Group of the Society of Authors. Life Member of the British Orthodontic Society. He has lectured extensively worldwide and co-authored four text books, which has been translated into 15 different languages. He is lead editor of the British Orthodontic Societies' Guidelines on Radiography.

Declaration of interests

Keith Isaacson receives payment for NHS consulting at the Great Western Hospital Swindon. He receives private income from consultation in Ireland. He is published by Reed Elsevier. He does not receive income from any commercial company. He does not own shares in any Pharmaceutical or medical equipment company.

Les Rose Trustee


Les is a retired clinical research scientist, and worked for over 35 years in managing clinical trials, training and advising clinical researchers, and evaluating results of trials. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Clinical Research, and a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. Les has a blog at, and tweets as @majikthyse.

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Membership Secretary: Alan Henness Trustee

Awaiting photograph

Alan designed, created and maintains the HealthWatch website.

Alan has retired but was Director of the Nightingale Collaboration, which challenged misleading healthcare claims and was initially setup with funding from Dr Simon Singh.

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Andrew Fulton Trustee

Andrew Fulton

Andrew graduated from Queen Mary University in 2017 and currently works at the Eastman Dental Hospital as a Paediatric Dentist.

He won the HealthWatch Student competition in 2015 and has been involved in HealthWatch since as a committee member and trustee. He is currently pursuing training with the aim of specialising in Paediatric Dentistry.

Declaration of interests

I have no conflicts of interest. My income is entirely from work as a dentist for the NHS.

Philippa Pigache Trustee


Philippa has been a journalist and author for more than 50 years. She has contributed (staff or freelance) to The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Independent Television News, the Mirror, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, The Observer and World Medicine. Since the 1990s she has specialised in health and medical science, contributing to The Lancet, Pharmaceutical Visions, Hospital Post Europe and Hospital Imaging & Radiology Europe. She has also authored a number of consumer health books and published short stories and a novel. From 2002 to 2016 she was honorary secretary of the Medical Journalists’ Association and editor of the journal, MJA News.

Declaration of interests


Tom Moberly Trustee


Tom is a medical journalist. He is currently UK editor of The BMJ, and has previously worked as clinical news editor at GP magazine, science reporter at Scrip World Pharmaceutical News, and as a news and feature writer at the Pharmaceutical Journal.

Declaration of interests

As editor of BMJ Careers, I am an employee of the British Medical Association. I am a member of the National Union of Journalists.

Jolene Slothouber Galbreath


I’m an ACCS Anaesthetics trainee at Royal United Hospitals Bath. I am a past-president of the Maternity and Newborn Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine. Before coming into medicine, I worked at the University of Aberdeen as a post-doc and lecturer.

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Sofia Hart

Awaiting photograph

Awaiting details

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Student representatives

Pavithran Maniam

Pavithran Maniam

Pavithran is currently a final year medical student at the University of Dundee. He completed his BMSc (Hons) in Genetics, Cancer and Personalised Medicine and he has an interest in evidence-based medicine. His research interests are in the area of cancer genetics and surgery.

Declaration of interests

I have no conflicts of interest.

Robert Grant

Awaiting photograph

I’m currently a fourth year medical student at the University of Leicester. I was a graduate entrant in 2016, with my previous degree being a BS in Chemistry; minor in Maths.

I have a keen interest in teaching, research, and evidence based practice and hope to carry this forward beyond my time as a student. I’m currently the president of the Leicester University Medical Research Society. We’ve been fortunate to help students get involved in projects and gain some research skills which may not be developed during the normal medical curriculum.

My main focus has been in Renal and Cardiovascular medicine over the past few years.

Declaration of interests

None to declare.

Sylvester Odame-Amoabeng

SylvesterOdame Amoabeng

Sylvester is Registered Nurse and alumnus of King’s College London with an interest in education and service improvement. Prior to nursing, he worked as a Quality assurance analyst at Pearson Education Limited. He is currently employed at University College London Hospital as an Acute medicine nurse.

He won the 2019 HealthWatch student Prize in the Nursing, Midwifery & AHP category and was a Finalist in the 2020 student Nursing Times Awards. Outside the clinical environment, he writes a blog and works as a tutor dedicated to building up the confidence of his students as they prepare for their GCSE examinations.

Declaration of interests

No further declaration.

Annual General Meetings

Minutes of Annual General Meetings can be found here.


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