Meet the Board

Beatrice Fraenkel, Chairman

Beatrice has been Chairman of the trust since 2008. She has many years experience in the private sector, having built up a successful family owned commercial property business. As Independent Chairman of the North West Regional Centre of Excellence, she led the development of a regional design review panel, and helped develop and deliver a regional understanding of the economic impact of design, and the impact of design on developing sustainable communities.


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Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive

Before coming to Mersey Care Joe was Director of Commissioning Support at the NHS Commissioning Board. This role gave him national responsibility for the design and delivery of a significant component of the commissioning reforms outlined in the White Paper: Liberating the NHS. As Director of Commissioning Development for NHS North West (seconded from Chief Executive role at NHS Central Lancashire), he led on the development of commissioning reforms across the North West of England. During his tenure at NHS Central Lancashire (2007 to 2010) the trust became the most improved primary care trust in the North West and one of the most improved in England, according to the World Class Commissioning national assessment.




Matt Birch, Non Executive Director

Matt is currently a Director of Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited, having held previous board positions in retail companies, with a specialism in retail property. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1997 with MA (Hons) in Land Economy and qualified as Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1999.



Gerry O’Keeffe, Non Executive Director (Senior Independent Director)

Gerry recently retired as Chief Operating Officer of a UK business with 7,000 staff and annual revenues of £1.5 billion

He has supported the NHS as a key supplier for four years and has a lifetime of experience working in information technology and consulting businesses, leading large teams in the UK and internationally.

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Gaynor Hales, Non Executive Director

Biography to follow



Nick Williams, Non Executive Director

Nick worked as a consultant in the financial services sector, leading transformation change programmes across a range of clients. He is currently Consumer Digital Director for Lloyds Banking Group, spanning Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland. 



Pamela Williams, Non Executive Director

Pamela used to work as Executive Director of finance at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council before recently retiring. She has extensive experience at Board level in a range of organisations. 



Dr Robert Beardall, Non Executive Director

Robert has a broad medical leadership background with over 24 years experience in family and aerospace medicine, clinical quality improvement, population health management, clinical epidemiology and health informatics.  



Cath Green, Non Executive Director

Cath worked in local government for 27 years and in the registered social housing sector since 2010.  She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Cath was appointed as the Chief Executive for First Choice Homes Oldham in November 2010 and completed the final negotiations on the Large Scale Voluntary Transfer of almost 12,000 homes from Oldham Council in February 2011.  This secured £149 million of investment in the first five years.



Elaine Darbyshire, Executive Director of Communications and Corporate Governance

Elaine has held a range of senior posts within the NHS since 2009 and was recently seconded to the Department of Health for two days per week as Deputy Director of Communications for the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge. Prior to joining the NHS she worked for 22 years in Guardian Media Group’s Regional Division.


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Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director

Dr Fearnley was appointed Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Ashworth Hospital in 2001 and has held a range of posts first within Ashworth Hospital and with Mersey Care’s medium, high secure and local services divisions. He is a member of the steering group for the Liverpool Mayor’s Health Commission (2013-14) and is the trust leadfor INTERREG IVB three year Innovate Dementia project,one of 8 partners across North West Europe.




Mark Hindle, Executive Director of Operations

Mark became Executive Director of Operations in July 2016.  He was previously Chief Executive of Calderstones Partnership NHS Foundation Trust from 2013-2016. Before that, he was Chief Operating Officer at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust which followed his appointment as Managing Director of Community Services across Blackburn with Darwen, Central Lancashire and East Lancashire Primary Care Trusts. His earlier roles included Preston PCT’s Director of Corporate Development, Director of Operations at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals. Mark has extensive experience running major hospital sites.

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Amanda Oates, Executive Director of Workforce

Amanda was Director of HR at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust from September 2009 to July 2013. She has more than 16 years human resources and organisational experience and qualified with the CIPD in 1996. After leaving University she started her career on a Graduate Management Scheme in the private sector with NatWest in 1992. She joined the NHS in 1998 and has worked in various HR and OD development roles in a range of NHS organisations before being appointed to her first director role in 2008 with NHS Blackburn with Darwen. Amanda also has an MSC in Strategic HRD and is accredited to use a variety of OD tools.




Neil Smith, Executive Director of Finance / Deputy Chief Executive

Neil has worked within NHS finance and performance management within Merseyside and nationally since

1985. He has held posts within acute and community trusts and health authorities, becoming Executive Director of Resources (Deputy Chief Executive) at Mersey Care in 2013.




Ray Walker, Executive Director Nursing

Ray has more than 30 years experience of working in the public sector, in clinical practice, academia and mental health management. He has served on national mental health/nursing groups, is a member of the NHS Top Leaders Programme and the Prime Minister’s Commission on Nursing.

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Dr Louise Edwards, Director of Strategy and Planning (non-voting member)

Dr Edwards is an experienced Board level strategist and leader who has a track record of achievement in leading change in both NHS commissioning and provider organisations. Prior to joining the NHS in 2005, Louise had leadership roles in the not for profit sector and was an academic at Manchester University.



Trish Bennett, Director of Integration (non-voting member)

Trish has worked in the NHS for over 30 years in various nursing leadership positions in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester in both provider and commissioning roles. Joined Mersey Care from NHS England, where she was the Director of Nursing for the Lancashire and Greater Manchester Sub Region responsible across the sub region.

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