Non-Executive Recruitment

Our Board

The Board of Directors is responsible for formulating and driving strategy, ensuring accountability and shaping culture. It is ultimately accountable for everything that goes on in the organisation and it is responsible for putting the right people, the right quality of information and the right systems in place to make decisions. It operates through a scheme of delegation within a robust framework of systems and reporting which ensures that core business and risks are being controlled. The Board gains assurance through its committee structure and sources of other assurance and it meets formally, both in public and private sessions throughout the year to discharge its duties and receive those assurances. Our Chair and Chief Executive have complementary roles in leadership: 

  • Our Chairman, Peter Strachan, leads the Board of Directors and ensures its effectiveness. The Trust’s Chairman also chairs the Council of Governors.
  • Our Chief Executive, Helen Ray, leads the Executive Team and the organisation.

All Directors adhere to the Trust’s Standards of Business Conduct policy and the core principles underpinning Board responsibilities and behaviours, including the Nolan Principles and the fit and proper person requirements of the Trust’s CQC registration and NHS Provider Licence.  

The role of the Executive Director

Some decisions are delegated to the executive management of the Board of Directors. Decision making for the operational running of the Trust is delegated to the Executive Management Team.      Executive Directors share the same corporate responsibilities as Non-Executive Director colleagues but bring detailed knowledge of the organisation’s management systems and processes and of the health sector, as well as specialised clinical and managerial expertise.    

The role of the Non-Executive Director  

Non-Executive Directors contribute to the development of strategy and play an important role in scrutinising and supporting our management team to achieve agreed goals and objectives and in  monitoring the reporting of performance. Non-Executive Directors are drawn from the local community and can ensure that the voice of the public is heard in decision-making processes and that the interests of patients remain at the heart of Board discussions. 

Non-Executive Directors also have a role in working with the Chair in the appointment and remuneration of the Chief Executive and other Executive Directors as members of the Trust’s Nomination and Remuneration Committee. All of our Non-Executive Directors, including the Chairman, are considered to be independent.

Non - Executive Directors

Peter Strachan, Chair of the Board

  • Chair of the Board and Council of Governors.
  • Chair of the Governor Nomination & Remuneration Committee and the Board Nomination & Remuneration Committee.
  • Health and Safety Champion

Peter Strachan joined the Trust as Chair on 29 May 2018. A graduate of Durham University, Peter returns to the North East from Scotland to join the ambulance service after a career in the railway industry, latterly as chairman of UK Rail and managing director of the Caledonian Sleeper for Serco PLC. He has also served in senior roles with Network Rail and the Department for Transport. He  has strong links and family ties to the region. 

As an NHS Foundation Trust, NEAS has around 12,000 public and staff members who elect Governors to a Council that holds the Board of Directors to account and is responsible for appointing the Chairman and Non-Executive Directors.

“It’s a great privilege to be appointed to chair the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. I’m very much looking forward to making a difference to the communities and people of the North East through the vital role the Ambulance Service plays in the healthcare of the region.

“I’ve been really impressed by the commitment of the team and dedication for our patients throughout the organisation, and I believe my passion for service improvement will allow the Trust to build on the very high standards already achieved.”

Catherine Young, Deputy Chair and Senior Independent Director

  • Deputy Chair and Senior Independent Director
  • Chair of the Performance and Finance Committee.

Following graduation, Catherine joined a “big 4” accountancy firm, qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1987.  Since then, she has worked in practice and in business, at both PLC and SME level, including as a manager and as a business owner. 

Catherine has previously held non-executive positions as Chair of Audit Committee with the national charity Breast Cancer Care and as Governor and Member of Finance & Development Committee at the University of Sunderland.  She is currently a Commissioner, and pension scheme trustee, at the Port of Blyth whilst continuing to work on out-sourced financial governance and administration assignments.  Catherine is also a member of the ICAEW Northern Regional Strategy Board.

Carolyn Peacock

  • Chair of the People and Development Committee.
  • Champion for: emergency planning / civil contingency; Freedom to Speak Up; and equality and diversity.

Carolyn Peacock joined the Trust on 1 November 2015, having enjoyed a successful 32 year career at Northumbria Police, achieving the position of Assistant Chief Constable and gaining significant leadership skills and experience.

Carolyn has also been a lay panellist for the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s fitness to practice hearings. She is also an accredited workplace and community mediator, and a performance and leadership coach.

Carolyn is Chair of our Workforce Committee and a member of our Audit Committee as well as acting as the Board Lead on Emergency Planning.


Helen Suddes

  • Chair of the Quality Committee.
  • Champion for ‘being ‘open’ and safeguarding.

Helen Suddes joined the Trust on 1 November 2015.

Helen is a qualified nurse by background and has held senior positions within North East primary care organisations. This includes experience of leading county-wide Urgent Care Reviews and overseeing specialist primary and community care services. She has also been a magistrate, and currently works within health education within the North East.

Helen chairs our Quality Committee as well as the Board Champion for Safeguarding.

John Marshall

  • Champion for procurement and sustainability. 
  • Director / Chair of our subsidiary company, North East Ambulance Service Unified Solutions (NEASUS)

John joined the Trust on 1 November 2017, having spent his legal career at Dickinson Dees LLP and latterly Bond Dickinson LLP from 1989-2016. A Disputes Resolution Partner, he was elected Senior Partner in 2010 and was responsible for managing partnership issues, promoting the firm externally and shaping and delivering the firm’s future strategy with the Managing Partner. He was a key member of the team that negotiated a transformational merger in 2012 and latterly was Vice Chairman of the new firm.

As well as consultancy work, John is now Non- Executive Director and Chair of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, a public/private partnership whose role is to deliver economic growth and promote the area as a great place to visit, and to live, learn, work and invest.

John also holds a number of other senior non-executive roles. He is Chair of Trustees of Newcastle United Foundation, Chair of the Regional Development Committee of the Prince’s Trust and will also shortly join the Board of North East England Chamber of Commerce. He also sits on the international Advisory Board of Newcastle University Business School, is a Tutor at St Chad’s College, Durham University and a School Governor at Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington.

John is a member of our Finance and Workforce Committees, as well as acting as Board lead on procurement and sustainability.

Dr Gerry Morrow

  • Chair of the Technology Committee
  • Champion for mortality

Gerry joined the Trust on 1 November 2017. He was a full time GP for 20 years and during that time he developed an expertise in evidence based medicine and patient involvement. For the past 7 years Gerry has been medical director and editor at Clarity Informatics.

Gerry edits clinical content for NICE and has also written guidelines for Public Health England.

He has an interest in quality improvement methodology and clinical decision support tools.

Gerry is a member of our Quality and Audit Committees.

Raman Sanghera, Non-Executive Director

Raman joined the Trust on 18th January 2021.

Raman has a broad range of experience gained over a decade working in both the private and public sectors.  His experience of planning, budgeting and managing change in large complex organisations will support us in moving forward as we continue to develop our service to meet the needs of our patients.

Raman's appointment also adds to the diversity of the Trust Board to better reflect the region's population.

Executive Directors

Helen Ray, Chief Executive

Helen joined the organisation from Northumbria Healthcare, where she has been the Chief Operating Officer since that post was formed in July 2018, overseeing urgent and emergency care, medicine, child health and community services with Board level responsibility and emergency planning and preparedness.

Helen, who brings a wealth of knowledge and skill from across the NHS with 36 years’ experience, replaces Yvonne Ormston MBE, who left in May to become Chief Executive at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Helen has previously been joint managing executive director (operations) for North Cumbria acute and community services; deputy chief executive for North Cumbria University Hospitals and Chief Operating Officer for South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust. She trained as a nurse and has held a professional registration for 30 years.

Paul Liversidge, Chief Operating Officer

Paul’s career in the Ambulance Service commenced in 1983 with the former Northumbria Ambulance Service and for the first seven years he gained operational experience at the front line.

His first management role in September 1990 was as Cadet Officer, developing sixteen young cadets on a two year training programme. Paul then moved into training and development delivering training to potential Paramedics and technicians in 1992.

Paul’s first Senior Management appointment in 1993 was managing the training unit developing ambulance core training and commercial training.

A one-year sabbatical in 1994 at Newcastle University followed this and he was successful in graduating with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  On his return from University he was appointed as Divisional Commander in Accident and Emergency and then moved to General Manager Patient Transport Services in 1997.  In 1998 Paul was appointed as Project Manager for the implementation of NHS Direct.

In 1999, following the merger of the former Northumbria and Durham Services he was appointed by the North East Ambulance Service as Senior Divisional Officer with overall responsibility for the delivery of accident and emergency services for South of Tyne.  He accepted a secondment in Ambulance Control in November 2000, prior to being appointed as Director of Accident and Emergency in February 2001.  Following the merger in July 2006, he was appointed to the role of Director of Ambulance Operations at the new North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

In 2012 following our successful application in becoming a Foundation Trust he was appointed as Chief Operating Officer managing four service lines, emergency care, patient transport services, Operations Centre, including the 111 helpline.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2017 he was awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for distinguished service and this was presented to him by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace. 

Kevin Scollay, Director of Finance

Kevin took up his appointment with NEAS in June 2020. Previously Kevin was deputy director of finance at the North Tees NHS Foundation Trust, senior finance manager at the North of England Commissioning Support unit, divisional accountant at the South Tees NHS Foundation Trust and a directorate accountant at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust.  He was also a graduate financial management trainee at the NHS Institute for innovation and Improvement.

Dr Mathew Beattie, Medical Director

After graduating from Newcastle University Mathew worked in the North East before heading to the Midlands. Mathew worked in a number of Senior House Officer (SHO) roles before developing an interest in anesthesia. He worked as an Anesthetist in SHO and Staff Grade positions before retraining in General Practice.

Mathew undertook a vocational training scheme in Leicester before moving back to his spiritual home, the North East. Mathew worked in a number of practices in the North East until 2017. He became the North of Tyne Clinical Lead for NHS 111 in 2013. After moving to South Tyneside as a GP Mathew became a Clinical Director for South Tyneside CCG commisioning services for long term conditions and urgent care.

Mathew was appointed as the Trust’s Medical Director in 2017. Mathew is currently supporting the development of the Trust’s clinical assessment service and out of hours provision, with the aim of supporting the management of conditions within the home where possible. This includes broadening the scope of the clinicians employed by the Trust to provide clinical support and advice to both front line crews and patients.


Sarah Rushbrooke, Director of Quality, Patient Safety, Innovation and Improvement (Executive Nurse)

Information to follow


Karen O'Brien, Director of People and Development

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