Governing Body

The Governing Body is responsible for ensuring that the CCG has appropriate arrangements in place to exercise its functions effectively, efficiently and economically, and in accordance with the principles of good governance. In the CCG, the Governing Body is responsible for the CCG’s budget which is spent as efficiently as possible to provide high quality healthcare for the local population.

Our Governing Body meetings are open to the public. You are welcome to observe and there will be an opportunity to ask questions.

Governing Body Members

The Governing Body is accountable to NHS England  who oversees the performance of the Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The Governing Body members are made up of senior executive positions, GPs and clinicians.

They ensure the CCG commissions the highest quality services, with a view to securing the best possible outcomes for the patients within the financial allocation, whilst maintaining a consistent focus on quality.

David Gallagher – Acting Chief Officer

With previous experience of working with CCGs in Newcastle, Gateshead, County Durham and Darlington, David has been involved with the NHS in both clinical and strategic roles as a commissioner and provider. He has lived locally all his life and has extensive management experience including in hospitals and commissioning, including 12 years in senior manager roles at South Tees Hospitals and a period as PCT locality director in Darlington. Having started his career in 1982 at Sunderland Royal Infirmary he joined Sunderland CCG as chief officer in 2012, where he also chaired the Sunderland A&E Delivery Board and Sunderland’s Children’s Strategic Partnership, was vice chair of the Sunderland Safeguarding Children’s Board and a member of the Health and Wellbeing Board and Sunderland Partnership. He took up his post in Tees Valley in March 2020. On a wider footprint he chairs the CNE Armed Forces Network and the Estates strategy group and is a member of the Workforce Strategy Group.

Dr Janet Walker - Medical Director

Dr Janet Walker – Medical Director

Janet has previously been a South Tees CCG Governing Body Member and Chair however since June 2019 was successfully recruited to the role of Medical Director working across the Tees Valley CCGs; Darlington CCG, Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees CCG and South Tees CCG.

Key strengths

Dr Walker has specialist interests in medicines optimisation, palliative care and children and young people. Since becoming Chair she has been working to increase patient and public engagement, with amongst others, the locality Patient Participation Groups (PPG) and the Patient and Public Advisory Group (PPAG). She is passionate about partnership working.


Dr Walker has been a Teesside GP working in Eston since 1998. She played an active role in Practice Based Commissioning (PBC) as group chair, before becoming the lead for the Greater Eston Pathfinder.

Nicola Bailey

Nicola Bailey – Chief Officer

Nicola was the acting Chief Executive for Hartlepool Borough Council and has previously held posts such as Director of Child and Adult Services. Nicola began her early career by training and working as a nurse in the NHS before moving to working in integrated services between the NHS and the Local Government in Cheshire. With over 20 years of working in a managerial and leadership capacity within health and Local Government she has had extensive experience of managing and leading organisations through change, developing integrated services and solutions and working at a senior board level. Nicola was the shared Chief Operating Officer between North Durham CCG and DDES CCG prior to the development of the shared management arrangement for the 5 CCGs in the southern collaborative.

Graeme Niven - Chief Finance Officer

Graeme Niven – Chief Finance Officer


Mr Niven is an experienced NHS Executive Director and has worked on Teesside since 2003. He qualified as a Chartered Institute of Management Accountant in 1994. He was appointed as Chief Finance Officer in April 2013 following a period as Chief Finance Officer Designate for the CCG. He has worked in the NHS for 32 years in varying roles including in a community and mental health provider, regional role and commissioning roles.

Jean Golightly - Executive Nurse

Jean Golightly – Executive Nurse

Appointed on 25 April 2013

Key strengths

Ms Golightly has extensive healthcare experience including management of clinical services, clinical governance, risk management and education.


Ms Golightly has over 20 years’ experience in a variety of healthcare and geographic settings, including Europe and the United States. More recently she was working in acute hospital trusts prior to joining the CCG. She is the Executive Lead for Learning Disability.

Other committee membership

Member of Quality, Performance and Finance Committee; Audit and Assurance Committee and Primary Care Commissioning Committee.

Andy Mackay

Andie Mackay, Lay Member

Andie served as a firefighter for over 28 years, gaining strategic management experience with the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service. Andie graduated from Teesside University in 2010 with a Master’s in Business and Administration (MBA) with a particular focus on Transformational Leadership. Andie joined Stockton BC as a senior manager leading Construction and Facility Services as part of the Community Services directorate of the council. Andie is also the lay member for Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG and Darlington CCG.

Dr Vaishali Nanda- GP Member

Dr Vaishali Nanda- GP Member

Appointed on 9 October 2015. Dr Nanda’s term of office expires in October 2018.

Key strengths

Dr Nanda is ready to adapt to change and strives to improve services for patients. She has a good understanding of challenges facing primary care and has a commitment to understanding and improving the quality of care. She works with colleagues to improve the morale of staff delivering care.


Dr Nanda is a GP at Discovery Practice, Middlesbrough and has practiced as a GP since 2005. She is passionate about improving services; this passion has led to working beyond her own practice and she is the GP Quality Lead for the CCG. Within this role she works with the CCG’s major providers, the two local authorities, NHS England’s Area Team and primary care.

Other committee membership

Locality Clinical Lead for Middlesbrough; Member of Health Inequalities Steering Group and Co-Chair of the Clinical Executive Steering Group; Chair of Clinical Quality Review Groups.

Dr Ali Tahmassebi - Strategic Clinical Lead

Dr Ali Tahmassebi – Strategic Clinical Lead

Appointed on 9 October 2015. Dr Tahmassebi’s term of office expires in October 2018.

Key strengths

Dr Tahmassebi has a specialist interest in improving quality in primary care, and providing challenge to ensure quality is a leading driver for change. He encourages innovation and promotes a culture of joint working between organisations and practices. He also has extensive knowledge of service redesign.


A GP since 1999, Dr Tahmassebi has led the Langbaurgh locality since 2006, engaging closely with practices and clinicians in making Practice Based Commissioning (PBC) and later the CCG successful. He has played a key role in the development of services including community services, MSK integration, medicines management and the role of pharmacists. He is also the clinical lead for the CCG’s IMProVE programme.

Other committee membership

Chair of Health Inequalities Steering Group and Co-Chair of the Clinical Executive Steering Group, Locality Lead for Langbaurgh.

Dr Mike Milner - GP Member

Dr Mike Milner – GP Member

Appointed on 9 October 2015. Dr Milner’s term of office expires in October 2018.

Key strengths

Dr Milner has extensive experience in out of hours care services and general medical practice.


Dr Milner has been a GP since 1982 and has special interests in epilepsy and urgent care. Involved in the Langbaurgh Pathfinder and PCG for many years, he is the Clinical Lead for the NHS South Tees CCG Systems Resilience Group workstream and is actively involved in the delivery of the Urgent Care Strategy.

Other committee membership

Member of Urgent Care Chairs’ Network; Chair of Systems Resilience Group (SRG) and member of Quality, Performance and Finance Committee.

Caroline Gitsham - Interim Chair

Caroline Gitsham – Interim Chair

I have over 30 years’ experience working in the Public Sector, including 15 years working at an Executive Level. I am passionate about customer service and making a difference and have worked with a variety of partners across my career including working in an advisory capacity to the government and other bodies. I have managed a range of complex services and a number of new and innovative service offers have been developed under my leadership, many of which are award winning with tangible outcomes. I have experience of managing significant resources in challenging environments across a range of agendas. I have also led on a number of significant key corporate agendas.

My previous employer describes me as ‘a consistent top quartile performer, demonstrating passionate, energised leadership, a role model for others and a force for positive change. Caroline brings a different dynamic, she challenges the norm and encourages a greater focus on cultural and values alignment, outcomes monitoring and social impact. Her strengths are many, she has an extraordinary belief in people and their ability to achieve their potential. A supportive leader, well networked who enjoys challenges and variety’.

Michelle Thompson – PPI Lead Lay Member

Michelle lost her teenage sister to cancer in 1995 and in 2003 at the age of 36, she survived thyroid cancer. Since then she has run, hiked and cycled all over the world raising money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support. By using her voice locally, regionally and nationally she has made a difference not only in her local community but also in the health and social care and voluntary and community sectors. She was incredibly proud to receive the British Empire Medal in 2013 for Voluntary Community and Charity Work in Darlington and County Durham. Michelle is driven by a passion to ensure that the patient, carer, and public voice is not only listened to but understood and acted upon appropriately.

Mrs Karen Dales – Lay Member

Lay Member and Audit Committee Chair for South Tees CCG, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees CCG and Darlington CCG. Karen is also the Conflicts of Interest Guardian for the three CCGs.

Key strengths

Mrs Dales has 30 years’ experience of working in the public sector including Health, Social Care, Local Government and Education. She is currently Assistant Principal: Corporate Services at Hartlepool College of Further Education.


A qualified accountant, her roles have included Finance Director, planning, policy development, performance, governance, procurement and contract management as well as managerial responsibility for HR, data services, facilities and IT.

Secondary Care Clinician – Derek Cruickshank

Derek qualified in Aberdeen in 1980 and worked in Teesside since 1993 as a Consultant at South Tees Foundation Trust, retiring from clinical practice in 2017. He set up and led the Tertiary Gynaecological Oncology Network Service in the south of the region, with the centralisation of complex gynaecological cancer surgery at the now James Cook University Hospital. He also introduced the national standard of ‘direct referral from cytology to colposcopy’ for The NHS Cervical Screening Programme.

He was appointed the first Head of School for Obstetrics and Gynaecology in The Northern Deanery (2008-2011) and was the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Regional College Advisor in the North East (2013-16). As Chief of Service for ‘Women & Children Services’ (2009-16), Derek oversaw the reconfiguration, at The Friarage Hospital, where a short stay paediatric assessment unit replaced inpatient paediatrics and Consultant led Obstetrics was changed to a standalone midwifery unit.

He has worked with NICE on Ovarian Cancer Guidelines” (2008-11) and was on their National Quality Standards Advisory Committee (2013-16). Derek was appointed to The Northern England Senate Council from its inception (Nov 2013), and has taken an active part in work looking at the configuration of acute services in the area. Derek has been the Secondary Care Clinician for South Tees CCG since April 2018 and in the same role for Sunderland CCG since June 2017. Derek also is the Secondary Care Clinician for Darlington CCG and Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees CCG since April 2019