Meet our Governing Body

The Governing Body is the key decision-making body of the CCG and became accountable for its activities from 1 April 2013. On 11 December 2012, the Group became a legal entity after it was authorised by the NHS Commissioning Board.

Our Governing Body is made up of a chair, two executive directors, two clinical members, three lay members and six GP members, who are responsible for providing the clinical leadership of NHS Kernow as it commissions community, acute and mental health services.

If you have any questions for our Governing Body board members, you can submit a question or email

Meet our Governing Body


Iain Chorlton

Dr Iain Chorlton

Iain grew up in Cornwall and has been a GP since 1997, working the majority of that time in the county. He is currently a partner at Tamar Valley Health, one of the largest practices in the Cornwall. He has a longstanding interest in commissioning, and has stepped into the role of chair having been a Governing Body GP for the east of the county since the CCGs formation.

Iain and his family are foster carers and he dedicates his spare time to the Friends of Urambo and Mwanhala charity supporting projects in Tanzania.

Executive directors

Jackie Pendleton

Jackie Pendleton
Chief officer (accountable officer)

Jackie joined NHS Kernow from North Derbyshire CCG where she was chief accountable officer since 2012. Jackie’s career with the NHS began in 1991 after leaving the financial services sector where she gained a rich experience in customer service, efficiency and commercial approaches to business. Jackie became director and deputy chief executive of East Surrey Primary Care Trust (PCT) in 2002 having set up and led a very successful primary care group in the area.

Her passion has always been primary care and this continued when she moved to Derbyshire in 2004 she joined Derbyshire Dales and South Derbyshire PCT to lead on primary care commissioning. In 2006, she was asked to chair the national NHS steering group for primary care commissioning (PCC) and became a non-director member of PCC Community Interest Company (CIC). Following the merger of the six Derbyshire PCTs that year, Jackie became assistant director at NHS Derbyshire County with responsibility for primary care commissioning, urgent care, out of hours and what was then called ‘practice based commissioning’. A career highlight was winning the NHS East Midlands Leadership Academy leader of the year award in November 2013.

Clare Bryan

Clare Bryan
Chief finance officer

Clare Bryan does not deny that a chance to live in Cornwall – a beautiful area and a great place to bring up a young family – was a significant factor in applying to become our chief finance officer. But she says the role is also a chance for career progression and to prove herself in a top commissioning finance job.

Clare was previously in the NHS England Wessex office as head of finance and is well-versed in commissioning, having worked in primary care trusts and clinical commissioning groups, It is also an area of finance she enjoys.

Clinical members

Dr Matthew Hayman 
Secondary care doctor member

Bio coming soon.

Natalie Jones

Natalie Jones
Chief nursing officer, NHS Kernow

Natalie has worked in the NHS for more than 30 years, having a background in adult nursing and midwifery. Natalie has obtained a variety of clinical experience across community and primary care, developing a special interest in family planning and counselling. Having held a number of senior roles in care delivery and leadership in the NHS across a wide range of organisations, Natalie brings to the board a wealth of expertise and well established relationships across partner agencies.

Throughout her career Natalie has been a passionate advocate for patient engagement to improve the quality of services, and is committed to supporting people to achieve their highest potential.

Educated to Masters degree level, Natalie currently holds a portfolio of responsibilities that includes quality and safety, infection control and safeguarding adults and children.

Lay members

Chris Blong

Chris Blong
Deputy chair (governance)

Chris spent over 30 years as an officer in the Armed Forces and retired as a Senior Brigadier in 2010. During his career, he worked collaboratively with the defence medical community. The latter stages were spent managing defence level logistic and life support capabilities for all three services in the UK and overseas.

Chris has embedded himself within the Bude community and continues to restore his family’s Cornish longhouse, which is an ongoing labour of love. He is a qualified and experienced Canoe England level two paddle sports coach. Married with three children, he currently acts as a volunteer coach and mentor to former Service personnel.

Nikki Kelly

Nikki Kelly
Patient and public involvement

Nikki has more than 20 years of experience in advocacy, place-based regeneration, social justice, high impact community events and supporting people in some of the country’s most deprived communities, most recently as the director for premier league football club Tottenham Hotspur's Foundation.

She has previously worked alongside the public sector to support people with long-term conditions both within acute care settings and in their community. 

Melissa Mead

Melissa Mead
Primary care and prevention

Melissa Mead is a passionate health campaigner and works relentlessly for the Sepsis Trust, raising awareness of the condition among the public and health professionals to improve early recognition and help.

John Yarnold

John Yarnold
Fiscal management - Non-voting member

John is a qualified accountant, with extensive experience and knowledge in both banking and the NHS. His roles include cost accountant; management accountant; chief internal auditor and a unit accountant. 

He was employed as deputy director of finance in Plymouth Health Authority in 1986 and appointed as acting director of resources two years’ later. John continued in that role until the NHS Trust became established, when he became the first director of finance for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. 

He undertook a two year secondment to the Department of Health as project director for the shared business services initiative, before returning to Plymouth as to support performance and governance and finally finance director, where he helped return the trust to surplus after three years’ in deficit. John retired from the NHS in 2011, but his passion and interest has not waned and he has continued to provide advice and support to a number of trusts across the country.

GP members

Paul Cook

Dr Paul Cook

Paul studied and trained to be a GP in Cardiff, as well as undertaking further training in New Zealand for 18 months. He moved to Cornwall in 2001 and had a combination of roles over time as a locum, salaried GP for six years in north Cornwall and a police surgeon. Paul is now a partner in Carnon Downs Surgery, since joining the surgery in 2010.

Over the last 10 years, Paul has been involved in mental health commissioning and has been the PCT/CCG mental health clinical lead for over five years. He has seen various aspects of the NHS through this role, as it is linked to almost all areas of commissioned services.

Paul used to be a be a gig rower but recently, more of this time is spent with his family.

Judy Duckworth

Dr Judy Duckworth

Judy studied medicine at Sheffield University and has been working in Cornwall since 1994. She is currently employed at Falmouth Hospital by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and by NHS England as a GP appraiser. In previous roles, she was a partner at Helston Medical Centre, and a salaried GP with the out-of-hours service and the acute GP service at Treliske Hospital. Judy has held managerial roles as senior medical adviser to CIOS PCT and deputy medical director for the Cornwall out-of-hours service.

Judy enjoys sailing, hill-walking, skiing and painting. She is committed to high-quality, safe and accessible healthcare which is responsive to the needs of local communities.

John Garman

Dr John Garman

Dr John Garman is a well-known and respected face for people living in and around Helston, where he has been a partner at Helston Medical Centre for the past 12 years. He was also the Isles of Scilly lead GP for five years.

During his time at St Mary’s he helped transform the practice, which the CQC twice rated as being outstanding under his leadership.

He said: “I have a passion for person-centred care and my experience on Scilly has given me great insight into the complexities of commissioning and instilled in me a sense that anything can be achieved, with the right will.

“I’ve seen first-hand how things can develop when people work together, and I’m excited about supporting NHS Kernow to achieve its vision.”

Francis Old

Dr Francis Old

Francis attended Leeds University where he studied two degrees in medicine and medical physiology. On qualifying, he returned to Cornwall and his medical rotation included a spell at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in the intensive care unit of the emergency department. He then did his GP training and joined the Helston Practice in 2003 where he was one of the original members of the West Cornwall Commissioning Group. Francis left the practice in August 2017 and now works in urgent and emergency care as a locum GP. He has a special interest in championing access to health care for the population of the Scilly Islands - a community he got to know when he was a fisherman. Francis is the Governing Body lead for primary care, urgent care and prescribing.

Deryth Stevens

Dr Deryth Stevens

Dr Deryth Stevens is passionate about making sure people can access the same high quality care, no matter where they live. Dr Stevens is a salaried GP at Tamar Valley Health.

Previously, Deryth was the clinical chairman for NHS North Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group where she oversaw the design of an out of hospital community service; a new stroke pathway; the redesign of maternity services and a new service to support the mental health of children and adolescents.

She said: “At north Warwickshire, I feel I have shaped the culture of our CCG to be open, transparent, collegial, and supportive. This is something I’m looking forward to continuing in Cornwall.”

Rob White

Dr Rob White

Rob is a GP and a partner at St Agnes surgery and is also NHS Kernow's clinical lead for elective care. Rob graduated from Kingston Poly with first class honours in bio-analytical science and biochemistry and qualified at the University College Hospitals and Middlesex School of Medicine. He has held research posts at Harefield Hospital, St Mary’s and St Bartholomew’s Medical School and St Thomas Hospital. When he’s not working with Serco’s out of hours’ service as an acute GP or a GP sifter at the referral management service, Rob can be found either restoring his 1968 Morris Minor or relaxing with his wife and four children.

Non-voting members

Helen Childs

Helen Childs
Chief operating officer, NHS Kernow

Helen qualified as an RGN in Nottingham and whilst working clinically she specialised in haematology, cancer and palliative care. She has more than 30 years’ experience including roles within the third sector and local authorities across primary and community care and hospital settings. Helen has also worked in a variety of locations including West Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Tower Hamlets and Uganda.

Helen is passionate about developing new models of care particularly focusing on integrating health and social care. Helen is married with a step son and daughter and is relishing her new life in Cornwall with her family and four-legged friends.

Helen Charlesworth-May

Helen Charlesworth-May 
Strategic director for adult social care and health, Cornwall Council

Helen is the newly appointed strategic director of adult social care and health to lead work joining up services so people get the health and care services they need.

This is a jointly funded post by the NHS and Cornwall Council, and the position will have a strong focus on delivering a programme of work to transform the delivery of adult social care in Cornwall.

Helen joins Cornwall Council from Lambeth Council where she worked for the past 15 years. She held a variety of roles at Lambeth, most recently in 2013 as strategic director for adult social care and health, working in partnership with health colleagues, to drive forward an innovative health and care integration agenda. Prior to that, Helen worked at Hampshire County Council and had a variety of roles in the NHS in the North West of England.

Steve Brown

Steve Brown 
Public health, Cornwall Council

Steve is the interim service director for health and wellbeing for Cornwall Council and the Isles of Scilly. Steve also holds the post of deputy director of public health for Devon County Council and Cornwall Council and the Isles of Scilly.

Prior to taking on the post as deputy director of public health in 2013 for Devon County Council he was the assistant director of public health for NHS Devon and previous to that Devon PCT. He has also held the position as acting director of public health for South Hams and West Devon PCT. 

During his career Steve has lead on the commissioning of key public health services, the creation of strategic strategies and led a number of organisational restructures, including the transfer of public health from the NHS to local government. Steve also provided local public health leadership to key public health challenges including the local response to the Pandemic flu and the development of a sustainable public health workforce.

Virginia Pearson

Virginia Pearson 
Acting director of public health, Cornwall Council

Virginia is acting director of public health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. In Devon, she is chief officer for communities, public health, environment and prosperity and director of public health.

She was a GP in Northampton before completing her training in public health. She has held a number of senior professional, academic and general management roles at director/chief executive level.

She is an Honorary Clinical Professor with the University of Exeter College of Medicine and Health.