About our Advisory Board

This group provides advice on:

  • Healthwatch priorities.
  • The Enter and View programme to monitor the quality of care.
  • Identifying key public concerns.
  • Community engagement activity.

They act as the voice of the people and make sure that Healthwatch Halton adheres to the core principles of; confidentiality, respect, feedback, transparency and influence.

The Advisory Board focuses on agreeing on the work programme and providing oversight to ensure the work programme is achieved as well as supporting with the promotion of Healthwatch Halton and collection of intelligence.

Our Healthwatch Advisory Board comprises of the following members. 

Smiling woman

Michelle Downes 

I began my career working for Typetalk, the the National Telephone Relay Service for deaf people where I gained level one in sign language. I then served in the military as a police officer serving in the UK and overseas for ten years and have always enjoyed serving and helping the community. Continuing with my legal background my under grad and post grad degrees are both in law.  

I very much live in a neurodiverse world with members of my family having disabilities. Due to being passionate and wanting to learn more about the world of special education needs and disabilities (SEND) I qualified with levels 1,2 and 3 in SEND law and subsequently volunteered to be an advisor with IPSEA - Independent provider of special education advice, to offer SEND law advice to parents/carers nationally.  

I am the health parent/carer representative with Halton SEND parent/carer forum (HSPCF) and help to ensure parents/carers voices are heard and delivered to professional bodies across Halton.  I am extremely passionate and dedicated to help improve health services in Halton especially for those with SEND, as they often face inequalities.

I am a director of Inclusivitee CIC, which provides SEND friendly activities in a safe and inclusive space. With an aim to ensure those with SEND feel accepted and a valued member of our community. I was excited that I was invited to join the Healthwatch Halton Advisory Board, as I am very motivated to try and help bring about change and improvement of health and social care services across Halton.

Woman smiling

Maureen Isherwood

I live and work in in Halton. I'm married and have two grown-up sons. 

After 37 years as a civil servant I had a career change in June 2018 when I became the Outreach & Engagement worker for Widnes and Runcorn Cancer Support Group. A role that I enjoy immensely and that brings me into contact with a wide spectrum of people across the borough, ranging from the general public to professional service providers within the health and social care environment.

In November 2019 I was invited to apply to join the Healthwatch Halton Advisory Board. My motivation for joining the board came from wanting to represent the cancer support group within the wider community, as well as to ensure the voice of the community influences the effective delivery of health and social care services needed for the people of the borough. 

The experiences I've gained with Healthwatch have enabled me to enhance my own continuous professional development, listening to the needs of diverse community groups, to broaden my knowledge to support the future design and delivery of services for the population we serve.

smiling woman

Kath Parker

I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1981 and worked in both Acute and Community Services during my career. I then moved from Clinical Nursing and worked for The Royal College of Nursing in a management position. I retired in 2015 and have since been involved as a Volunteer with local Health Services and was also on the Lord Chancellors Advisory Committee to the Magistracy. I then took up my Role at Healthwatch Halton as Chair of the Health Advisory Board in 2019. I stepped down from the role as Chair in March 2023, but remain as a member of the Advisory Board.

smiling woman

Smita Patil

I am a Software engineer and do a lot of programming, business analysis and reporting in my everyday job. I am also involved in various social/volunteering initiatives in work namely Code For Future, Digital Inclusion and also part of the Race and Equality(REN) committee and hold several sessions for these initiatives in work.I have also done a lot of work at orphanages in Mumbai,India.

Healthwatch Halton is my first experience outside of work in the UK. I am glad to be a part of and be associated with Healthwatch Halton, which will help me do exactly what I wanted to do – give back to society.

smiling woman

Lorna Plumpton 

I am a retired Business Management Professional who likes being proactive for others and I enjoy being of help to others, in particular in being a “voice of and for the patients”. I have always had a great interest in the health and wellbeing of people in my career and I have continued to do so locally since my retirement although more so when I became registered disabled (2016).  

I first started as a volunteer in our community in 2008 (when I was working) when I was appointed as Trustee and Chair of Halton Carers Centre, (I stepped down in 2012) and I have also been an active volunteer in the local community for other charity, voluntary and third sector organisations in Halton, which in the past included Halton OPEN, Halton Disability Partnership, and the Halton Health Forum with the NHS Halton and Warrington Clinical Cmmissioning Group. 

I am currently Chair of a local Patient Participation Group (PPG) in Halton where we aim to ensure the patient voice will always be heard, fostering improved communication between the practice and its patients. I also Chair the wider Halton PPG plus forum group which encompasses all of our 14 GP surgeries where we aim to share best practice, and help to improve access to health and social care services in Halton for the people in the borough.

My business experience and knowledge has helped to foster improvements in our local health and social care services through the various organisations I have previously volunteered with.

I was approached and invited to join the Healthwatch Halton Advisory Board when I was attending a health meeting locally with a colleague and good friend.  

I have found the ethos of Healthwatch Halton, along with its purpose and values, are very similar to my own, that of being of value to the local community, something I truly value being. 

I am very proud to be invited to join the Healthwatch Advisory Board.

group of volunteers chatting

Become an ambassador and champion for those using health and social care services in Halton. You will help to maintain the independence of Healthwatch and its ability to hold the system to account on behalf of the public.

Apply to be a HAB volunteer

Past Board papers

We make the papers for our public Board meetings available online. We also publish a summary of what was discussed. Check out our past meetings to read more.

Read the previous HAB papers