Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors sets the overall strategic direction for the Trust and is collectively responsible for monitoring all aspects of performance, providing financial stewardship and ensuring the provision of high quality, safe and effective services.

The Executive Directors manage the day to day operational running of the organisation, whilst the Non-Executive Directors are focused on challenging the Executive Team on management and strategy. The Non-Executive Directors do not hold any managerial responsibility, but are accountable with the Executive Directors for the Trust’s performance. The contribution of Non-Executive Directors, and their relationships with Executive Directors and governors, is facilitated by the Chair.

All of our Non-Executive Directors are considered to be independent, as they have not been employed previously by the Trust and do not have any financial or other business interest in the organisation.  Murray Freeman is our Senior Independent Director.

Details of our Board meetings, Agenda and Papers are available on this page  Board Meetings

The Committees of our Board of Directors are:

  • Quality Improvement Committee
  • EDI Committee
  • People, Culture and Development Committee
  • Finance and Performance Committee
  • Commissioning Committee
  • Audit Committee
  • Charitable Funds Committee
  • Remuneration and Terms of Service Committee

You can find out more about the work of these committees in the Trust’s Annual Report -  Publications | Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT (gmmh.nhs.uk)

The Board works closely with our Council of Governors to enable the governors to carry out their statutory duties. Governors’ views are sought on the Trust’s forward plans and the Board also provides feedback on the Trust’s undertakings and performance.

Our Council of Governors provide local accountability by representing the interests of members and partner organisations. The Board of Directors retains overall responsibility for decision-making, except where the Council of Governors has statutory responsibilities.

Members of the Board of Directors can be contacted via communications@gmmh.nhs.uk or 0161 773 9121.

Our Constitution contains more detailed information on how the Board and Council of Governors operate.

Tony Warne, Chair (Current Term ends December 2026)

Headshot of Tony WarneTony Warne is Professor Emeritus in Mental Health Care at the University of Salford, and the former Dean of the School of Health and Society, and Pro Vice Chancellor. He has worked in NHS mental health care services since 1975, as a practitioner, manager and academic. He has a PhD in primary and secondary care relationships. The focus of his research interest is on inter-personal, intra-personal and extra-personal relationships, using a psychodynamic and managerialist analytical discourse. He has published extensively in these areas.  He is the co-editor and author of the books using Patient Experience in Nurse Education and Creative Approaches to Health and Social Care Education. Previously he was a Non-Executive Director and Vice Chair for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS FT, a Non-Executive Director at Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS FT and Chair at Stockport NHS FT. He is a Councillor for Blackpool Council.

Nicki Buckley, Non-Executive Director (Current Term ends December 2026)

Headshot of Nicki BuckleyNicki is an ACCA qualified accountant, with a 20-year career in finance.  She is currently the Director of Finance at a Manchester Housing Association and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in finance, regulation, risk management and assurance. Having worked in the social housing sector for the last 10 years, she has progressed her career to executive director level, gaining significant experience managing various stakeholders relationships such as, Regulators, Funders, and Boards, reporting financial management, performance, statutory accounts, risk and assurance. 

She has previously held a non-executive director role at another housing association, acting as a member of the Board and audit committee.

Nicki is passionate and enthusiastic and believes putting people at the forefront of business decisions is key to delivering good quality outcomes. Continually seeking ways in which we can positively impact people’s lives, she is an advocate for efficiency and effectiveness, driving innovative solutions to increase automation in every day working practices, reducing time spent on administrative activities to focus time on delivering excellence and value for money throughout frontline services.  

She has lived experience as a service user of GMMH, accessing mental health services at intervals throughout her life and received an ADHD diagnosis in 2022. She is passionate about raising awareness around the benefits and challenges this brings and aim is to change people’s attitudes and biases in her sphere of influence.  Her aim is to shape a more welcoming and compassionate society, where people’s differences are truly embraced.

Saleem Chowdhery, Non-Executive Director (current term ends February 2025)

Photo of Saleem Chowdhery

Saleem Chowdhery is a Chartered Accountant and an audit/finance professional with many years advising and supporting Boards of directors within large and complex organisations. He has worked at the Co-op Group since 2015 and is presently the Director of Risk and Internal Audit and a Co-Chair of RISE, the colleague network that supports Black, Asian and ethnic minorities colleagues.  He is also a Trustee at Unity Medical Foundation - a medical charity that funds cataract operations for people overseas.  In February 2022, he stepped down as a Trustee and Chair of the Audit, Risk & Finance Committee at the Co-op Foundation, a Manchester based Charity, which supports young people experiencing loneliness and mental health issues.

Previously Saleem has held roles with Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, BAA plc, KPMG and others. He brings to the Board his experience of corporate governance, risk management, business transformation, IT change and finance.

Saleem in Chair of the Finance & Performance Committee

Chrissie Cooke, Non-Executive Director (current term ends 8 May 2027)

Chrissie Cooke

Chrissie recently retired. Prior to retirement Chrissie was Chief Nurse at Sefton CCG where she had oversight of quality and safety of commissioned services. She was also chair of Visyon Ltd, a charity dedicated to mental health and emotional support for children and young people in Cheshire, and Executive Nurse Consultant for Niche Patient Safety Ltd. A significant portion of her career has been dedicated to the NHS where she has served as a practitioner, middle manager and director and she has held senior leadership roles in children’s and adult Social Services.

Chrissie has extensive experience in very senior leadership and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in quality and patient safety. Having dedicated her career to mental health and learning disabilities, she possesses a thorough understanding of the care sector, having worked in board roles for the past 16 years. She also has lived experience of using mental health services.

Chrissie brings a skill set that encompasses a wide range of competencies, including quality improvement, human factors and patient safety, good governance, legal and statutory compliance, risk management and assurance, financial and people management. She has consistently advocated for people-centric approaches, because she is passionate about supporting vulnerable people to have good lives.

As well as her role at GMMH Chrissie is also Vice Chair at Creative Support Ltd, a national not-for-profit housing and social care provider and Deputy Chair at Space4Autism in Cheshire.

Helen Dabbs, Non-Executive Director (current term ends September 2024)

Helen is recently retired. Prior to retirement, Helen most recently worked at executive level at helen NHS Improvement (NHSI) North (2015 to 2018) as Regional Nurse Director and Delivery and Improvement Director, where she had oversight of the safety, quality and financial sustainability of provider trusts and also supported trusts with their   quality improvement agendas. Helen joined NHSI from Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) where she held progressive roles including Director of Mental Health (2002 to 2005), Director of Operations (2005 to 2008), Acting Chief Executive Officer (2008 to 2009) and Deputy CEO/Director of Nursing and Partnerships (2009 to 2015). During her time at RDaSH, Helen also held a number of additional roles including Specialist/Clinical Advisor to CHI/Healthcare Commission/Care Quality Commission (CQC) and National Taskforce Advisor to the Better Care Fund.

Helen’s early career began with clinical nursing posts (general and mental health) (1984 to 1991), prior to progression to senior management roles in provider organisations (1991 to 2002). Helen holds professional dual registration as a nurse.

Helen is chair of the Trust's Quality Assurance Committee.

Murray Freeman, Non-Executive Director (current term ends 30 September 2026)

Murray Freeman Murray was a GP in Birkenhead for over 35 years. He retired from Practice in March 2021. He has been a Non-Executive director since 2012, initially with Wirral Health and Care Trust, and then with Mersey Care NHS Trust from 2018 until 2023. He is passionate about the quality and safety of care provided to people with mental illness. Murray is committed to the safety and wellbeing of staff. 

He has been involved in a wide range of NHS organisations and committees including:

Specialist Adviser – Care Quality Commission (2014 -2020)

GP Executive Board Member – Wirral Health Commissioning Consortium  2010 - 2012  

Lead for Cancer & End of Life Care – NHS Wirral / Merseyside & Cheshire Cancer Network (1999 – 2010) 

Medical Director – Wirral Community Healthcare NHS Trust (1994 – 1996)

Chair -Wirral Local Medical Committee 1990 -1992  

He is a Trustee of Oak Trees Multi Academy Trust on Wirral and YPAS (Young Persons Advisory Service) in Liverpool.

Murray is the Senior Independent Director and Non-Executive Freedom to Speak up Champion

Stewart Lucas, Non-Executive Director (current terms ends February 2025)

Photo of Stewart Lucas

Stewart Lucas is a seasoned leader with a passion for equality and diversity. As an openly disabled person, he believes unequivocally that it is society that creates the barriers to equality.

He has worked at CEO level within various equality charities for 30 years, including taking the lead on the Paralympic legacy for London 2012 (to this day the only host city to ever see an increase in physical activity levels of disabled people). He has worked in mental health since 2013, initially as CEO of Lancashire Mind, then as lead for VCSE integration within the Greater Manchester integrated care system, and currently as Head of system influencing for National Mind. Prior to becoming a board member, he was a governor at Greater Manchester Mental Health.

In both roles, and continuing to this day, he sees his role to be a custodian for those whom GMMH provides services for. He believes emphatically that we need to be always person-centred and patient-focused and uses his position on the board to ensure that those concepts are at the heart of all discussions. In his spare time, he is an amateur music journalist reviewing bands you have never heard of with logos you can’t read.

Stewart is Chair of the People, Culture and Development Committee


Simone Spray, Non-Executive Director (Current Team ends on 8 May 2027)

Simone Spray Simone Spray (she/her) has been working with children, young people, families and communities for over 30 years driven by a passion for equality, social justice, youth empowerment and creativity. A qualified Psychologist and Youth Worker, Simone cut her teeth in the Greater Manchester public sector and then went onto lead the UK Child Poverty Programme at Save the Children, scaling up evidence-based programmes within the political infrastructures of each nation. 

Simone has led 42nd Street for 10 years; the charity supports 11-25 year olds in Greater Manchester with their emotional well-being and mental health, offering a choice of effective, young person-centred, rights-based therapeutic, group, creative, social action and digital approaches. Simone is committed to co-creation and co-design alongside experts with lived and professional experience and she uses this approach in her role as chair of the GM VCSE Mental Health Leadership Group, Co-Deputy Chair of Young Manchester and a Trustee for Gorse Hill Arts Studios.

Jan Ditheridge, Chief Executive

Jan joined GMMH in July 2023 as Chief Executive. Headshot of Jan Ditheridge

She is an experienced strategic leader and has been a Chief Executive since 2012. She has held a wide variety of clinical and operational roles in health, social care, and the private sector, in the UK and Canada. Jan has a wealth of expertise in cultural change, transformation, clinical quality, and effective performance management, which she uses to drive her passion to ensure service users and their families receive high quality care and that staff enjoy coming to work.

Jan is a dual-qualified nurse in both mental and physical health.

Dr Arasu Kuppuswamy, Chief Medical Officer

Dr Arasu Kuppuswamy Arasu joined GMMH in September 2023 from Livewell Southwest which is a recognised provider of integrated health and social care services, and where he held the post of Medical Director. Before this he was Deputy Medical Director for Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.

As well as these posts, Arasu has the role of Consultant Psychiatrist and has worked in the NHS since 2003. He has a wealth of experience in mental health as well as acute care, commissioning and community services including primary care.

John Foley, Acting Chief Operating Officer

Photo of John Foley John has worked in the NHS over 30 years qualifying as a Registered General Nurse in the early 1990s. John has worked in clinical and managerial roles across acute care and community health care services.

Elizabeth Calder, Chief Strategy Officer

Liz joined GMMH in 2019 from the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, where she held the EC post of Deputy Director of Strategy and Planning and provided strategic leadership and support to key programmes of work.  Since joining the NHS as a Graduate Management Trainee in 1994, Liz has worked in senior roles across the North West of England including commissioning, community, acute and tertiary organisations.  As an Economics graduate with an MA from University of Manchester, Liz has extensive experience in strategic change, significant transactions, service developments, contracting, tenders, planning and operational management.  Recent roles have included working with partners to establish the first Integrated Care Organisation in the country and the national proton therapy service at The Christie. 

Andrew Maloney, Chief People Officer

Andrew Andrew has worked in senior HR positions across a broad range of NHS sectors. From 2000 to 2004 he worked as the Assistant Director of HR for Sefton Health Authority and Sefton Primary Care Trust working on HR change management projects that supported the establishment of PCTs across Sefton. In 2004, Andrew joined The Walton Centre NHS Trust as Director of HR and was part of the executive team that led the organisation to Foundation Trust status. In 2009 Andrew joined our Trust as Director of HR and Governance and he has more recently taken on wider responsibility for capital development, estates, facilities and corporate governance. Andrew also undertakes two national roles as an NHS Employers representative on the Social Partnership Forum and the NHS Staff Council.

Suzanne Robinson, Chief Finance Officer

Suzanne Robinson joined GMMH in August 2020 as Director of Finance and IM&T.  Photo of Suzanne Robinson

With almost 20 years of experience working at a senior level within large acute and specialist providers as well as commissioning organisations in the North West of England, Suzanne has held the role of Director of Finance at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.  Previous to this, she held roles of Director of Finance, Performance and Digital at North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust and Finance Director of Staffordshire Stoke-on-Trent Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP).

Suzanne serves as Chair of the Health Financial Management Association (HFMA) Mental Health Finance Faculty and she is also Senior Responsible Officer for the Future Focused Finance Valuemakers Programme which represents over 2000 finance staff across the country.

You can follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzanneFINANCE

Maria Nelligan, Chief Nurse

Maria Nelligan Headshot Maria joins us from her current role as Chief Nurse and Quality Officer at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCFT), where she has worked since 2019. 

Maria’s extensive knowledge and patient-focused leadership has been widely recognised and, in May 2021, she received the highest recognition from the Chief Nurse for England.

Fleur Blakeman, Director of Improvement

Fleur joined GMMH from her previous role as Improvement Director working for NHS England. Fleur quHeadshot of Fleur Blakemanalified as a registered general nurse in 1991 and has worked in a number of different roles in the private and public sector. Fleur brings lots of relevant experience and transferable skills to GMMH including experience of commissioning and providing mental health, addiction and learning disability services, leading service transformation and managing change.

Fleur is passionate about improving NHS services, service user experience and outcomes, and making best use of the resources we have available to us.

Dr Mike Hunter, Director of Quality Improvement


Picture of Dr Mike HunterMike joined the Board of Directors at GMMH in March 2024, seconded from his role as Executive Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust. Mike is an experienced Board-level clinical leader and has led through regulatory turnaround, including the development of a Quality Improvement Framework and Clinical Strategy. He has also led a number of major change programmes, including Primary and Community Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Services transformation.

Mike is a medical doctor and consultant psychiatrist by professional background. His clinical work has mainly involved the care of people with severe mental health problems in the Assertive Community Treatment and Inpatient Rehabilitation settings.  Mike is also the National Specialty Advisor for Adult Mental Health at NHSE, where his recent responsibilities have included clinically leading the development of national currencies for “personality disorder” and complex trauma care and chairing NHSE’s national Restrictive Practice Oversight Group.

As a patient

As a service user, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Find resources for carers and service users  Contact the Trust