Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors comprises full-time executive and part-time non-executive members.

Executive directors are employees of the NHS Foundation Trust, led by the chief executive. They are responsible for the day-to-day management of the Trust.

Non-executive directors are not employees, but officers. They bring to the Board an independent perspective. It is their role to challenge decisions and proposals made by the executive directors. They also hold executive directors to account.

The role of the Board of Directors, led by the Chair, is to provide effective and proactive leadership of the Trust; to set the strategic aims of the Trust, ensuring the quality, safety and effectiveness of the services provided as well as ensuring that the Trust is well-governed in every aspect of its activities.

The description of each of the current directors’ areas of expertise and experience demonstrates the balance, completeness and relevance of the skills and knowledge that the directors bring to the Trust.

Non-Executive Directors

The Board considers all non-executive directors to be independent as they were appointed to their roles through open competition and are not employees of the Trust.

Alison Davis

Alison joined the Trust in February 2021 as Chair of both the Board of Directors and the Council of Governors.

Alison started her career as a State Registered Nurse, working in the acute sector eventually specialising in renal dialysis and transplant. Later, while studying law she spent several years as an agency nurse working in acute, community and nursing home settings.

Alison has been a Non-Executive Director in various NHS and Foundation Trust organisations; for 11 years she was a Chair in mental health, learning disability and community NHS Trust services. She has broad experience in governance, quality and patient safety, equality, diversity and inclusion. She is also strongly committed to patient/ service user, staff and stakeholder engagement. In her most recent appointment with Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust she has held the post of Senior Independent Director.

Alison has been involved in a number of charities and social enterprises during her career.

Heidi Travis
Non-Executive Director (Senior Independent Director from 01 April 2023)
(Chair, Finance and Investment Committee)

Heidi joined the Trust as a Non-Executive Director in March 2018. She joined Sue Ryder in March 2010 as Director of Retail, and took on the role of Chief Executive in September 2013.

Previously, Heidi had worked as a business consultant developing small businesses. Before that, she spent 25 years at Marks and Spencer, most recently as an executive in group planning and strategy as well as managing a buying group.

Heidi also worked as a lay member of the Aylesbury Vale CCG until 2013. She became a non-executive director for Bucks PCT (now Bucks NHS) in 2008 and chairs a Bucks speech and language therapy group. She lives in Milton Keynes.

Gary Marven
Non-Executive Director
(Chair, Audit Committee)

Gary joined the Trust as a Non-Executive Director in April 2022. Gary is an accomplished senior executive with over 20 years’ leadership experience, the majority of which he operated at board level, spanning both private and public sector organisations, from SMEs to globally-recognised brands. Gary commenced his career as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young and progressed through various financial director roles in a major retail company, before moving into general management at the BBC where he ultimately led a major technology project, before becoming CEO of MLL Telecoms.

Gary retired as CEO in 2020 and has continued to work with MLL Telecom as a Non-Executive Director. Gary also provides free consultancy to charities supported by The Cranfield University Trust.

Haider Husain
Non-Executive Director
(Chair, Charitable Funds Committee)

Haider joined the Trust as a Non-Executive Director in April 2020. He has held senior positions in a variety of multi-national companies in the technology sector, including GE Healthcare and Microsoft. He has a passion for quality, and has previously been an ISO auditor, Six Sigma Blackbelt and is currently a British Standards Institute committee member for Healthcare Organisation Management.

Haider serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Healthinnova, which specialises in transformational healthcare technology. He holds a BSc in Medical Informatics, and a Master of Informatics. Haider is married to a nurse, has a young son and lives in Bedfordshire.

Dr Dev Ahuja
Non-Executive Director
(Chair, Quality and Clinical Risk Committee)

Dev joined the Trust in September 2022 as an Associate Non-Executive Director and was promoted to a substantive Non-Executive Director role in January 2023. Dev is a physiotherapist by background with special interest in complex trauma and chronic pain. He worked in India and the UK as a clinical physiotherapist before transitioning to case management services. Working first as a case manager and then as operational manager, Dev gained hands-on experience of developing and enhancing rehabilitation services.

Dev completed his doctorate looking at factors influencing adherence and attendance in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. He has presented at over 50 conferences internationally as well as running training courses for healthcare professionals around workplace rehabilitation. Dev currently works as Clinical Director for RTW Plus, a rehabilitation services company.

Dev is also a current Trustee at MK Community Foundation and a Parish Councillor for the Broughton and Milton Keynes Village Parish Council. He is passionate about enhancing quality outcomes in healthcare and community engagement into local service delivery.

Mark Versallion
Non-Executive Director

Mark joined the Trust as a Non-Executive Director in January 2023, previously serving on the boards of Luton & Dunstable NHS Hospital from 2013-20, and NW London NHS Hospitals Trust from 2008-13. He brings experience from the commercial sector with BAE Systems plc, Capgemini plc, and ten years as director of a London marketing agency.

He has worked for a US Senator and for a UK Government Minister and has held a number of national and local government roles, as well as directorships in the public and private sectors.

He was a Royal Navy officer for 14 years in the Reserves, and was a London Councillor for nine years. Since 2011, he has been a Central Bedfordshire Councillor, holding senior positions in schools, social services, housing and healthcare. Mark is married with four sons and lives in Heath and Reach, Bedfordshire.

Jason Sinclair
Associate Non-Executive Director

Jason joined the Trust as an Associate Non-Executive Director in September 2022. Jason is an experienced executive director, management consultant and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute with over 20 years in strategic executive and operational posts, including within corporate business, SMEs and within higher education.

His experience spans employment and resourcing/recruitment management within corporate organisations to SMEs, from early careers to executive hire level, and experience of location change project management and implementation of large-scale resourcing for new locations. An Equality, Diversity and Active Inclusion Transformation Lead, with a focus on executive D&I strategy development, governance and D&I best practices in recruitment lifecycle and staff development, Jason is passionate about all things people.

Precious Zumbika-Lwanga
Associate Non-Executive Director

Precious joined the Trust as an Associate Non-Executive Director in January 2023. Precious is an experienced Executive, Chartered QS, Cost & Commercial Expert and Strategic Advisor who commands over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry. Precious is the founder of Carus Advisory Services, a boutique construction and management consultancy. She is an advocate of diversity equity and inclusion and a strategic change expert drawing from her own professional and personal experiences. She has extensive experience facilitating leadership team (SLT & Board level) conversations and is a Cranfield University Executive Development Associate/ Facilitator where she curates and develops leadership modules on inclusive leadership and how to develop high performing teams.

She is current Chair and founding committee member for the Milton Keynes Ethnic Business Community whose purpose is to connect business owners and professionals from black, asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds with the wider Milton Keynes business community.

She was named one of the NatWest Top 100 most inspirational women in 2021 in the Oxford Cambridge Arc and is a passionate speaker on leadership, inclusion and sustainable procurement.

Ganesh Baliah
Associate Non-Executive Director

Ganesh joined the Trust as an Associate Non-Executive Director in January 2023. Ganesh graduated in Podiatric Medicine 20 years ago and has worked in the NHS since that time. He has previously held consultant privileges at the local private hospitals and continues to practice privately in Bedfordshire. His clinical interests are sports medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, foot and ankle surgery and paediatrics. Ganesh was also a key contributor to the landmark Sak’s Report commissioned and published by the Royal College of Podiatrists in 2021.

He is currently the Chief of Allied Health Professionals for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, and chairs their AHP Council as well as providing senior leadership to their AHP Faculty. Prior to this he was Regional Head of Allied Health Professionals for NHS Health Education England (Midlands & East). Until recently, he was the national lead for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging for the HEE AHP programme and now provides strategic leadership for the SNEE ICS in this field, working in partnership across the system with provider EDI & B leads.

Outside of work, he is a school board governor at his children’s primary school and a Board Trustee. He is keen to ensure that all patients and staff have equitable access to services, treatment as well as training and development.

Executive Directors

Joe Harrison
Chief Executive 

Joe Harrison has been an NHS acute hospital chief executive for almost ten years. He joined Milton Keynes University Hospital in 2013, transforming its record in quality, performance and finances. Under his leadership the trust has gained teaching hospital status and pioneered digital advances that have revolutionised patient care and experience.

Joe has championed innovation and expansion, overseeing significant development across the hospital estate, including the building of an academic centre in partnership with the University of Buckingham and a new cancer centre, along with multiple other developments to improve access and keep up with patient demand in one of the fastest growing places in the country.

Along with an ambitious digital innovation programme, Joe has championed workplace wellbeing to improve the working lives of the team at MKUH. He is also a board member of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, chair of the Clinical Research Network Partnership Board for Thames Valley, member of the NHS Confederation Employers Policy Board and the University of Buckingham Council. Joe also works nationally with NHSX to transform health information across the health and care sector, giving patients power over their own information and enabling organisations to work together more effectively to provide better care.

John Blakesley
Deputy Chief Executive

John has over 30 years’ experience in the NHS. His career started in pathology, before moving into general management.

He has undertaken a range of executive director roles as director of performance and delivery as well as deputy chief executive and director of market management (commissioning for a large PCT).

In addition, John has experience of the commercial sector with a specialised surgical company. He has a particular interest in using information systems to improve patient care and decision-making.

Dr Ian Reckless
Chief Medical Officer / Deputy Chief Executive

Ian was appointed as Chief Medical Officer in April 2016. He qualified from St George’s Hospital Medical School, London and undertook postgraduate training in the Oxford region. He worked as Special Adviser to the Healthcare Commission in 2004, and was Special Assistant to the Chief Medical Officer in 2005-06.

Ian was appointed Consultant Physician and Senior NIHR Research Fellow at Oxford University Hospitals in 2007. He also held the roles of Associate Medical Director (Quality) and Clinical Director, Neurosciences. Ian has a good understanding of system working having been a member of the Governing Body of a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for several years, and is currently leading work with partner organisations on behalf of MKUH.

Ian continues to undertake clinical work in Acute Medicine. He remains an Honorary Consultant Stroke Physician / Senior Clinical Lecturer at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Ian has a particular interest in postgraduate education, having previously served as Training Programme Director, and has authored books on general medicine, and the interface between medicine and the law.

Ian was appointed as a Deputy Chief Executive in 2020, with a particular focus on working with partners across Milton Keynes and the wider system.

Yvonne Christley
Chief Nursing Officer

Yvonne joined the Trust as Chief Nursing Officer in September 2022. Yvonne, who joined from at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals where she was Deputy Chief Nurse, has a wealth of experience in developing and embedding strategies designed to improve the quality of clinical services.



Emma Livesley
Chief Operations Officer

Emma joined MKUH from Nottingham University Hospital where she has spent the last 6 months as interim Deputy Chief Operating Officer. She has a wealth of NHS experience which started in Public Health and migrated into operational and management experience in the acute provider sector. She was Director of Operations at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, and held senior management roles in Calderdale and Huddersfield FT and East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, the Royal Free, Guys and St Thomas’ London. Prior to her appointment in Nottingham, Emma also spent 18 months with NHS Improvement in regulation.

Emma’s passion is building high quality operational teams who deliver the best services for patients through partnership working and embracing the transformation agenda.

Daphne Thomas, Interim Chief Finance Officer at MKUHDaphne Thomas
Interim Chief Finance Officer

Daphne has worked for Milton Keynes University Hospital since December 2014. Daphne has extensive experience as a senior finance leader in the NHS in both executive and non-executive roles. Daphne’s NHS career has spanned ambulance, acute hospital, GP-led urgent care and Integrated Care System (ICS) settings and has given her significant experience for what it takes to deliver organisational objectives and goals within challenging financial resources. She is an Inclusion and Diversity Ambassador for One NHS Finance as well as being actively involved in promoting staff development.

She qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young and in her early career worked in audit, corporate finance as well as private equity settings.

Kate Jarman
Chief Corporate Services Officer

Kate has substantial experience as a communications professional and company secretary.

She has worked on and with boards in the acute health sector and police and criminal justice agencies. Before joining MKUH as director of corporate affairs, Kate spent a number of years at Bedford Hospital. At Bedford she held a number of posts including associate director of corporate affairs and communications as well as company secretary.

Kate is passionate about staff and patient engagement, leadership and culture. She is also interested in developing integrated governance systems to support the delivery of safe, effective, high quality care.

Danielle Petch
Chief People Officer

Danielle joined the Trust as Director of Workforce (now Chief People Officer) in July 2018. Before joining MKUH, Danielle worked at a variety of NHS Trusts, including large and small acute hospitals, a mental health Trust and a community provider. Danielle holds an MBA and a BSc (Hons), along with having completed the NHS Leadership Academy’s Nye Bevan programme. Throughout her career Danielle has led on a variety of initiatives to maximise workforce efficiency and staff experience.

Danielle is passionate about recruiting and retaining the best people to work at MKUH and strives to create a working environment and benefits offering which are supportive to staff during all stages of their career. Under Danielle’s leadership the strategic focus of the workforce agenda is to recruit and develop the workforce required today and for the future.


Last Modified: 1:06pm 09/02/2024