Read the latest HealthWatch newsletter:  Issue 113, Summer 2020

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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


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.

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

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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: Dr James May


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.

Treasurer: Anne Raikes


Anne is an Oxford maths graduate who qualified as a Chartered Accountant.

She has since acquired fifteen years’ experience as a fund manager for Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, specialising in asset allocation mainly for international corporate clients.

In her spare time she is a keen choral singer who also enjoys skiing, tennis and walking.

Declaration of interests

I have no conflicts of interest. My income is entirely from work in fund management which has no connection with anything related to the health service.

Secretary: Professor David A Bender

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David is Emeritus Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at University College London. His research has been mainly in the area of tryptophan, niacin and vitamin B6, and especially the role of vitamin B6 in steroid hormone action. His main activity prior to retirement was teaching, especially to medical students.

More information at

Declaration of interests

I was an employee of University College London, and now have my university and state pensions. I receive royalties on a number of academic text books I have written or part-written and give occasional lectures to organisations outside the University.

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 vaccines 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 John Illman


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 Asssociation, he divides his time between writing, lecturing and media consultancy work. He is a visting 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


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


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

I am a freelance clinical science consultant, and have pharmaceutical and other biomedical companies among my clients. I do not receive any material benefits for my voluntary work in support of evidence based medicine.

Membership Secretary: Alan Henness

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Alan designed, created and maintains the HealthWatch website.

Alan is Director of the Nightingale Collaboration, which challenges misleading healthcare claims and was initially setup with funding from Dr Simon Singh.

Declaration of interests

None declared.

Roger Fisken

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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

None declared.

Andrew Fulton

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


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


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

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Declaration of interests

None declared.

Leeza Osipenko


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.

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

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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 currently a final year nursing student at King’s College London with an interest in education and service improvement. He was the 2019 winner of HealthWatch student Prize in the Nursing, Midwifery and AHP category. Prior to nursing, he worked as a Quality assurance analyst at Pearson Education Limited. 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 Mathematics and Science GCSE examinations.

Declaration of interests

No further declaration.

Annual General Meetings

Minutes of Annual General Meetings can be found here.


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