You are here > About Us > Patient Council > Patient Council Members

Patient Council Members

Meet the members of the Council...


Robert Lee-Bird - Chairman, Patient Council

There I was heading towards the start of year 62 on my journey through life, a trip that has had many twists and turns along the way. My working life has taken me from Tesco to the boardroom, from litter picking to company director - another road saw me running my own landscape gardening company.

While working as construction logistic manager in London, I led on multimillion pound projects (rubbing shoulders with the great and good along the way). That all sounds wonderful, but in fact I’m just an ordinary man who has always tried to give 100 per cent to everything I do and make sure that my family never went without. 

It was April 2015 when out of the blue I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. Surgery left me with less than half a stomach and not a great deal of oesophagus, but thankfully no chemotherapy was required.

During the treatment and recovery process I asked if there was a support group, only to be advised that there was not! This was because no one had volunteered to start one, so that's exactly what I did.

Then in the post came an invitation to join the Patient Council, which I did, and after interviews and checks I took up a place on the council. We represent all patients, their families and carers, making sure that Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust delivers the best possible care. The opportunity arose to apply for chairman of the council, which I did after being interviewed by senior members of the Trust.

I was appointed and took up my post on July 4, 2016 - unlike our American friends on this day I had no fireworks.

I am very, very passionate about doing the very best I can with the help and support of the council and the Trust team to give the patients a voice and make sure that everything is done to make their experience the best it can possibly be. I have tried in writing this to give you an idea of what I am, where I have been and of course where I am going, I will never get tired of trying and will always give 100 per cent.

Robert Lee-Bird - Chair of Patient Council
Robert Lee-Bird - Chair of Patient Council

Paul Foulger - Vice Chairman, Patient Council

My name is Paul Foulger and I am Vice Chairman of the Patient Council at MEHT, in addition I have just taken on the role of ambassador for the Mid and South Essex Success Regime and will be representing patients here at Broomfield.

I want to ensure that everything possible is done to enable the best possible pathway for all patients with the most positive outcome. This will entail liaising with the community so that the whole journey can be monitored from start to finish and working as part of the Patient Council is a positive way to achieve these aims.

I am 79 years young and have lived in the Chelmsford area for 50 years, the last 40 in Danbury. I am married with twin sons and have four grandchildren.

My career has been in the hotel, catering and personnel field, retiring in early 1995 as Head of Catering and Employee Services at Sainsbury’s. In 1990 I held the position of International President of the Institute of Hospitality. I set up the Mid Essex Cancer Services User Group in 2001 - which was then part of the Mid Anglia Cancer Network and later transferred to the Essex Cancer Network until its closure in 2013. I am still involved with the committee as a member.

In addition, I am chairman of the Mid Essex Stoma Support Group, which has about 150 members. While the group is mostly social, it is a forum for ostomates – those who have had an operation to create an opening in their body for the discharge of body wastes –  to exchange experiences and ideas. I am also a telephone counsellor for the Colostomy Association. I am passionate about giving something back to the NHS, having suffered Hodgkin’s Disease in 1963 and then apparent ‘terminal’ bowel cancer in 2000. Luckily, with the determination of two very special consultants at Broomfield Hospital, I am now in the clear 16 years on. It is now my turn to ensure that all patients passing through Broomfield have the best outcome possible.

Paul Foulger - Vice Chair Patient Council
Paul Foulger - Vice Chair Patient Council

Ray Berris - Vice Chairman, Patient Council

My name is Ray Berris and I am Vice Chairman of the Patient Council at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust.

I am 68 years old and have lived all my life in Chelmsford, where I currently reside in Springfield. I am married with two children and have two teenage grandsons, and am a retired electronics engineer having spent most of my working life in the Marconi group of companies.

I stopped work in mid-2015 having suffered a serious cardiac problem and I have also had several  eye operations at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. As I have always been very happy with my dealings with the NHS, and now I had time on my hands, I felt that I wanted to give something back so I started volunteering in the outpatients department of the hospital.

I quickly decided I that I had more to give, so I joined the Patient Council in November 2015. 

My aim, as part of the council, is to do my utmost to make patients’ experiences when going through the NHS the best they can be.

Ray Berris - Vice Chair Patient Council
Ray Berris - Vice Chair Patient Council

Paul Carwardine - Patient Council Training Mentor

My background is in veterinary medicine.

When I graduated from Edinburgh University in 1961 I went to work in an agricultural practice in North Devon for six years before moving to Torquay to join one  that, as well as dealing with farm animals, included domestic pets and the inmates at Paignton Zoo. My patients ranged  from gerbils to giraffes!

In 1972 I moved to Essex to join a multi national pharmaceutical company where I was involved in product development. This included  the adaption of human medicines for veterinary use which brought me into close contact with the medical profession.

I later became Director of Technical Services leading a team responsible for the technical training of  sales and marketing staff and providing technical support and advice for customers including the investigation of complaints and adverse reactions relating to the company's products.

I was also  involved in speaking on product related topics  at conferences and universities not only in the UK but also overseas.

I returned to general practice in 1992 after taking early retirement following a major re-organisation within the Company. As well as providing a locum service for local practices I ran an RSPCA clinic and provided veterinary cover for Harlow Greyhound Stadium.

I finally retired in 2010 although I still retain my membership of the RCVS.

I have been a patient in Broomfield on four occasions, the last being for prostate surgery in 2015 after which I attended an "In Your Shoes" patient feed back session. It was at this that I first heard about the Patient Council and applied to become a member. 

I have found that the work  the Council does is not only interesting but highly rewarding. By visiting wards and talking to patients we are able to learn of any concerns they may have about their care and  help to find ways to resolve them. Likewise when feedback is positive we are able to pass this on to the ward staff concerned.  I also represent patient's interests on several hospital committees.

Currently I am responsible for the mentoring and training of new members of the Council to enable us to further our aims and objectives.

I am a firm supporter of the  NHS and believe that the contribution made by the Patient Council helps to  improve the patient experience of the services it provides in the very challenging circumstances of today.

Paul Carwardine - Patient Council Member
Paul Carwardine - Patient Council Member

Jane Pratt - Patient Council Member

My name is Jane Pratt, I am 62 years old, married and I have 2 grown up daughters and 3 little grand children.

I started my career working in a bank in the city and over the years held various office roles. After taking a career break to have a family I completely changed direction. I trained in Beauty Therapy, reflexology and Aromatherapy. I started my own business and worked my hours around my children.

In 1997 our life changed when my husband suffered a head injury whilst riding his motorbike. I stopped working to nurse and support him. During the months that followed, sitting beside his bed in hospital, I watched and listened and this inspired me, once my husband had recovered enough, to train as a nurse.

I finally achieved my goal and worked in cancer care, where I learned the true meaning of good end of life care.

I feel that my experiences as a nurse, as a patient myself and as the relative of a patient, have given me an insight and a feel for what is right and fair.

The NHS is a wonderful institution with pockets of brilliance. I truly believe that “Every single patient deserves the best quality care, delivered in the most sensitive manner”

I hope that in some small way, working with the patient council will allow me to help this belief to become the only acceptable way to treat people.

Jane Pratt - Patient Council Member
Jane Pratt - Patient Council Member

Duncan Hayes - Patient Council Member

At the date of writing this profile (March 2017) I am just a few weeks off my 69th birthday.

Career-wise, following my first redundancy in the early 1980’s I went back into full-time education for 3 years and qualified as a Chartered Secretary.  I am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (FCIS) and have acted as Company Secretary of various blue-chip, listed and unlisted companies, including respected household names.

In addition to routine matters I have had to step up to unusual, interesting and diverse challenges such as: playing the lead role in a £1.3bn takeover; being interviewed, as the official spokesman of the company, and acting as a witness in a case brought by the Serious Fraud Office; voiding Directors’ 4m share options (not favorably received!); defending (successfully) a £2m unfair dismissal claim; and acting as a Director of a number of UK and overseas companies.

I have lived in the Chelmsford area since our family moved here from Norfolk in 1953.  Since then I have experienced being a patient in various Chelmsford hospitals as a result of 6 operations (none, luckily, involving major procedures) and ward stays following a couple of cycling accidents.

With over 30 years’ experience of attending meetings and condensing discussions into accurate Minutes, when I decided to retire at the end of September 2016 I felt that the Patient Council might be able to find a use for my skills.  Accordingly, I offered my services and am enjoying the opportunity it gives me to assist patients in getting their views on the services the hospital provides over to management.

Duncan Hayes - Patient Council Member
Duncan Hayes - Patient Council Member

Nick Fogden - Patient Council Member

After school attended Reading College of Art and Design studying photography. Employed at Oxford University Molecular Biophysics Department. Joined Oxfam where I worked for several years in the communications department as a photographer, doing several tours of India, Bangladesh and West Africa.

This is where, I think, the passion for patients came from, as I spent the end of one tour working at Delhi Hospital in India traveling small villages to educate in health and hygiene and some time at the hospital preparing American Peace Corps workers for their tour of Bangladesh.

Volunteered at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio for 4 years, where my interest was mainly ward visits and requests, before moving recently to Essex where I continued my Radio involvement at Broomfield, again concentrating mainly on ward visits.  Here I found out about the Patient Council which seemed an obvious step and am now utilising and developing my patient skills within this team.


Nick Fogden - Patient Council Member
Nick Fogden - Patient Council Member

Malita Reade - Patient Council Member

My name is Malita Reade, I am 63 years old and have 1 grown up daughter.

Since leaving school many moons ago I have always dealt with finance, firstly for Essex County Council, then Barking and Havering Health Authority. I was then offered the opportunity to join a private Company still working in finance and am now am a Director of a Marine Insurance Company covering the Asia Pacific region.

In 2016 I had a very bad fall and experienced the NHS first hand. While lying in bed recovering and getting used to the metal in both my arm and my leg, it gave me the opportunity to observe staff and patients. I had a lady visit me and ask me about my experience and thought then that it was something that I would like to do. A few months later the advert appeared for Patient Council Members in the local paper so I decided to apply. 

I am hoping that my experience with my family and myself as patients will help in some small way to give the patients the best experience possible during their stay in hospital.


Malita Reade - Patient Council Member
Malita Reade - Patient Council Member

Tony Harvey - Patient Council Member

I was born in the “Call The Midwife” era, in South London, just a few months before the NHS Act came into force in June 1948. I have first hand knowledge of nothing of life before the NHS, but I recall the horrors of early childhood which afflicted friends and neighbours in those days - diphtheria, whooping cough, polio (I avoided everything except measles) - which are not much more than memories, thanks largely to the NHS.

After leaving school, I started work in the insurance industry which kept me occupied in a variety of roles with a variety of employers until I eventually retired in 2014. Most of my working life was spent in the City (apart from six years in Saudi Arabia) and it was the easy commute which attracted us to Chelmsford over 45 years ago. Our second home in Chelmsford was the Chelmer Village house in which we are still living 35 years later. Both of our children, who still live in Chelmsford, were born in St John’s Hospital and Broomfield has welcomed the next generation.

My involvement with health care, before I retired, was as a satisfied consumer and I did not think it was possible to make any meaningful contribution as a lay volunteer. This perception changed when I became a volunteer Associate MHA Hospital Manager at a mental health facility in Chelmsford and it was this realisation that prompted me to volunteer for the Patient Council - I have no healthcare experience, but I am able to contribute and am happy to do so.


Tony Harvey - Patient Council Member
Tony Harvey - Patient Council Member