Our Board

The Board of Directors is made up of both Executive and Independent Non-Executive Directors. The Independent Non-Executive Directors hold the Executive to account and are accountable to the members, through the Council of Governors.

David Astley, Chairman

David was awarded an O.B.E in 2006 for services to the NHS, has held a number of very senior roles in the NHS including Chief Executive of East Kent University Hospitals NHS Trust between 1999 and 2006 and Chief Executive of St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust between 2006 and 2011.

From 2011 to 2015 David was Chief-Tertiary Hospitals Group of the Hamad Medical Corporation in Qatar. On return to the UK and retirement from full time Executive duties, David was appointed as a non-executive director of Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. David is a Trustee of Yoakley Care, a charity based in Margate, Kent, which manages alms houses and a care home.

Declared interests – A Director of Yoakley Care Share Ltd and Yoakley Care Trustee Ltd, a charitable company that manages almshouses and a care home. His daughter Emma is a Director at PWC Consulting who sometimes works with the public sector.

Simon Weldon, Chief Executive Officer

Simon Weldon joined SECAmb as Chief Executive on 24 April 2023.

He has a wealth of leadership experience, with an NHS career spanning more than 20 years across acute and commissioning sectors.

Prior to being appointed as SECAmb Chief Executive, he was Group Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Northamptonshire Group, serving in the position from 2020 and leading the trust to university hospital status.

Prior to this position, Simon was Chief Executive of Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust where he led the organisation out of quality special measures.

Declared Interests – None

Saba Sadiq, Chief Finance Officer

Saba joined SECAmb as Chief Finance Officer in July 2023 having held a number of senior finance roles within the NHS including most recently Director of Finance at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Saba comes with a strong history of improvement in the NHS and a broad experience of working in both acute and community settings and in partnership across health and social care systems.

Declared Interests – None

Ali Mohammed, Executive Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

Ali is already established as a successful NHS HR leader, including winning the HSJ HR Director of the Year award in 2006. Having begun his NHS career in a junior HR position at Medway NHS Trust, Ali went on to hold various senior HR positions at a number of large trusts including Medway, Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Trust, Barts Health NHS Trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Since 2018, Ali has led on the transformation and delivery of the national NHS Graduate Management Programme, securing significant additional investment and increasing the number of internal candidates being invited onto the scheme.

Declared Interests  – Trustee at LHA London – a housing charity in central London from October 2019 to December 2023. It’s a non-financial professional interest, unpaid but reimbursement of receipted travel expenditure.

Dr Rachel Oaten, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Oaten, a qualified Emergency Medicine Consultant since 2017, started working at Salisbury Hospital and was appointed as Clinical Lead for the Emergency Department in 2018. In March 2020, she took on a part-time role as Deputy Medical Director at East Midlands Ambulance Service. In October 2021, she was promoted to Deputy Clinical Director of Medicine at Salisbury Hospital, while still remaining active as an Emergency Consultant and serving as a Trauma Team Leader on shifts.

Declared Interests –

North Bristol NHS Trust. Southmead, Bristol, Regional Trauma Team Leader, started 01/06/2022 – Ad hoc 12 hour shifts at weekend covering the region from major trauma. Expectation is to work around 6 shifts a year and this is shared

QUALSAFE Awards, Position Held: Review Panel Member for First Aid Publication, Date Employment Commenced: September 2018, Clinical review of a first aid publication refreshed on a regular basis to ensure in line with current guidance. Days worked: 1/year maximum.

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. Position Held: ED Consultant Date Employment Commenced: 01/08/2017 hours: 1PA contract a week (16 hours a month clinical shifts only mainly done at weekends to maintain ED Consultant skills and competencies.

ACOS Medical, Codford, Position Held: Company Director and Medical Lead Date Employment Commenced: September 2016, hours: Company that is CQC registered and provides medical cover to private events e.g. large festivals. There are no NHS contracts held and no intention to look at any expansion into this area. Company also supplies clinical governance/CQC support to a number of Companies that work on the NHS framework across the Country locally these include Elite Medical and Ambulance (Hailsham) and MEDi4 (Crawley Down) who are based within the SECAMB footprint. There are other Doctors who can support with those specific in the SECAMB locality should there be a conflict e.g. patient safety case / concern raised. Provision of clinical governance to Wiltshire Police and provision of a named Doctor as part of a service level agreement. Days worked:  Variable – split with other Directors and personnel in Company mostly at weekends and highly seasonal mainly in the summer no impact to SECAMB completed in days off/annual leave.

Emma Williams, Executive Director of Operations

Emma’s career in the health service spans 25 years during which she has gained experience in frontline roles, service improvement, governance, commissioning, and senior leadership.  She is committed to improving both patient outcomes and staff experience as the public health remit evolves.

Emma is the Trust’s Accountable Emergency Officer.

Declared interests – Emma’s husband, David Williams, is Head of Emergency Planning, Response & Resilience. She does not line manage David – he is part of one of her wider teams, recruited through formal standard Trust processes.

David Ruiz-Celada, Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Transformation

Originally from Barcelona and an aeronautical engineer by training, David now lives in Kent and joins SECAmb after a decade of working in the aviation industry. With a focus on operations planning and management, logistics and improvement, David has worked across airlines and air handing operators in Spain and most recently at London City Airport since 2014 where he was previously Director of Operations Strategy and Planning. This role saw him work in a number of key areas including developing forecasting and modelling capability within the airport and delivering a number of improvement initiatives using technology and process changes to increase capacity.

Declared interests:

Companies with influential role:

  • Kintsugi Therapeutics (Minor shareholder & board member)
  • Biointaxis (Minor shareholder, non-executive director business advisory role)
  • Leukos Biotech (Minor shareholder, CEO)
  • Affirma Bio (Minor shareholder & board member)
  • ONSTX Olavide Neuron (Minor shareholder & board member)
  • Janus Project (owner)
  • Other Companies with minor shareholding (<25k€ investment or <5% capital): Oxolife, Methinks, Devicare,  Zecardio, Nuubo, BHV Partners)
  • Investor in healthcare specialized VC funds Asabys Partners, Inveready, Alta Life Sciences

Father (Luis Ruiz-Avila) is involved in the biomedical sector, focussed in entrepreneurial, executive and investor activities, in early-stage drug discovery and development, helping companies transition from clinical proof into global pharmaceutical development and eventual commercialisation.

Margaret Dalziel, Executive Director of Quality & Nursing

Margaret is a paediatric  nurse and leader who has worked in the NHS for 40 years with extensive experience in senior operational and professional leadership roles across all healthcare systems and sectors including acute, community & mental health providers.

Declared Interests – none.

Michael Whitehouse, Independent Non-Executive Director

Michael brings with him a wealth of experience of audit and financial oversight across the public sector. Until 2017 he was Chief Operating Officer of the National Audit Office. Michael has also been responsible for a number of evidence-based reports to Parliament related to the health sector, including on the financial performance and sustainability of the NHS, hospital-acquired infection, dementia, end-of-life care and autism. Since retirement, Michael has focused on his role as a trustee and honorary treasurer of Cruse, the bereavement charity.

Declared interests –

Board member and chair of Audit Committee of Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency

Interim Co-Chair of the MHRA.

Howard Goodbourn, Independent Non Executive Director

Howard has been a member of SECAmb since 2014. Formerly working as Chief Financial Officer for Southern Water with frontline staff and some emergency response. He has also worked in senior Finance positions for various large utility organisations including the energy business, Eon UK  and also a UK transport business, part of RATP, which included running bus services in London with c.3,000 employees. Howard was instrumental in leading the transformation of Southern Water to become more commercial and efficient without compromising quality of service.

Howard brings strong financial and commercial experience including input into bids, contract negotiations, competitor analysis and industry benchmarking and believes that his experience can help the Trust on its journey to become ‘outstanding’.

Declared interests – None

Prof Tom Quinn, Independent Non Executive Director

Tom is the Chair of the Quality and Patient Safety Committee.

Tom, joined the Trust as a non-executive director in October 2020.  He works at St George’s, University of London and Kingston University.  As a nurse, he has spent four decades in healthcare and has experience in both hospital and pre-hospital care. Now a senior academic, the majority of his research has focused on improving outcomes for patients under ambulance care.

He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, European Society of Cardiology, American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. His contribution to patient care was recognised in 2019 by election as an honorary Fellow of the College of Paramedics.

He also holds a number of volunteer roles locally including being Clinical Director of HeartStart Farnham Lions and nationally as a Trustee of British Association for Immediate Care.

Declared Interests – Emeritus Professor, Kingston University.  Undertaking research funded by National Institute for Health Research, British Heart Foundation, and Gas Safety Trust.  External examiner for Paramedic Studies degree at University of Limerick, Ireland. Member of Domain Expert Group, Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project. Volunteer roles with European Society of Cardiology, member of Task Force on Allied Professions).  Volunteer role: Trustee/Director of British Association for Immediate Care.  Volunteer role: Trustee of Aston Defibrillator Funds, Farnham.  Volunteer role: Clinical Director, HeartStart Farnham Lions.  Volunteer role: Trustee, Hale Community Centre.  Volunteer role: British Cardiovascular Society/Intensive Care Society, UK Cardiogenic Shock Steering Group.  Volunteer role: British Cardiovascular Intervention Society Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Focus Group.

Dr Subo Shanmuganathan, Independent Non-Executive Director

Subo has a varied career in complex education, clinical and regulatory executive roles and has held several non-executive roles.

She brings extensive knowledge and experience of strategic business change, organisational development, education and training and transformation programmes to deliver commercial revenue, gained in both the charitable and public sectors. Her PhD is in Clinical Immunovirology from Imperial College London.

Declared Interests – Non-Executive Director Bromley Community Interest Company, Non-Executive Director for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Paul Brocklehurst, Independent Non-Executive Director

Paul, from Bexhill, East Sussex, has more than 25 years’ board-level experience, most recently as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. He has spent more than a decade as a CIO in local authorities and has also worked with numerous ‘blue chip’ companies in the private sector.

Paul joins SECAmb to provide scrutiny and support in the important and growing area of strategic digital and IT development.

Declared Interests – Trustee for Myeloma UK

Liz Sharp, Independent Non-Executive Director

A registered nurse by background, Liz Sharp has more than 30-years’ background in both the public and private health sectors. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge in delivering and improving patient outcomes and experience.

Until 2018, Liz was the National Director of Clinical Services for BMI Healthcare, an independent provider running 54 hospitals. Her executive career includes her working in partnership with the clinical education team to develop an in-house associate practitioner programme, enhancing governance through introducing an electronic risk-based reporting system for staff, and leading large-scale change programmes including building a care and rehabilitation centre and developing clinical strategy.

An experienced non-executive, she remains a Trustee of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People and is both Chair of its Care, Quality and Safety Committee and the Board’s Safeguarding Lead.

Declared Interests – Board Trustee, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People ( Care and Rehabilitation Services, Mobility and Residential Services Charity), Board Director, The Grange 2016 ( Supported living in Kent), Member of the Royal College of Nursing, Professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Dr Chris Gonde, Associate Non-Executive Director

Dr Chris Gonde Senior Liver Transplant Scientist in the Liver Unit at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust which is the largest liver transplant centre in the UK.  He joined SECAmb as an Associate Non-Executive Director in 2021. Chris has published over 20 medical and scientific research papers on the use of immunosuppressive drugs after liver transplantation.  He has presented and spoken at national and international conferences on liver transplantation.  Chris jointly led a campaign in organ donation encouraging Black Minority Ethnic to be organ donors; the project was funded by the department of Health.  Chris chairs King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCH), Black and Minority (BME) Ethnic Network and is the Trust’s expert lead for the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).

Dr Gonde has great financially experience in a large complex organisation, the  London Mutual Credit Union (LMCU) where he served as Non-Executive Director (2010-2015), Deputy Chair of the Audit Committee ensuring that processes and procedures of the organisation were robust enough to protect member’s interests and organisation’s financially assets.

Chris is also a former Southwark Councillor from 2014-2015, Chaired Standards committee, Community Council and member of planning Committee.  Currently is a local school governor and chairs the finance committee. Dr Gonde is passionate about justice and fairness for all and campaigns to end health inequalities experienced by BME communities.  He has run 12 London Marathon raising funds for Refuge a charity that supports women and children experiencing domestic violence.

Declared Interests – none.

Max Puller, Non-Executive Director

Max Puller holds the position of Director at BCW Change, a division of global communications agency BCW specializing in organizational change and employee experience. In this role, he works with global clients to implement successful and sustainable business transformations and cultural changes.

Max’s background includes previous positions such as Head of Colleague Communications and Engagement at Tesco Bank, Employee and Change Communications Director at Sodexo, and Chief Communications Officer at the UK Ministry of Defence. Before joining SECAmb, he served on the Board of the Salvation Army, providing counsel on reputation, marketing, and fundraising matters.

Declared Interests –

Full-time employed as Business Transformation Director at BCW, a division of WPP, who frequently work with the public sector.

Director and Governor of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (pro-bono).

Postgraduate Executive MBA candidate at the University of Surrey.