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Single executive team for NHS South East Essex and NHS South West Essex:

Dr Andrea Atherton - Director of Public Health (aligned with Southend Council)

This is a joint role, with Alison Cowie, with responsibility split across the two local authority areas: Thurrock and Southend. Key priorities are the continued delivery of Vital Signs, meeting our responsibilities to protect and promote the public health of the local population and supporting the local authorities to take on public health duties from the NHS as part of the government’s reforms.

About Andrea:
Andrea has worked in the NHS for over 20 years. She undertook her medical training in Cambridge and Westminster Medical School. After qualifying, she trained in general medicine in a variety of hospitals in London and Cambridge. She began training in public health in 1993.

Andrea joined Southend PCT in July 2002, and prior to that was a consultant in Public Health Medicine at South Essex Health Authority.

Andrea is married with two children. Her main hobby is gardening.


Dr Anil Chopra - Medical Director

This is a joint role with Dr Rupert Halliday. Anil’s focus will be on GP commissioning. Rupert’s main area of work will focus on patient quality, performance appraisal and clinical education.


Alison Cowie - Director of Public Health (aligned with Thurrock Council)

This is a joint role, with Dr Andrea Atherton, with responsibility split across the two local authority areas: Thurrock and Southend. Key priorities are the continued delivery of Vital Signs, meeting our responsibilities to protect and promote the public health of the local population and supporting the local authorities to take on public health duties from the NHS as part of the government’s reforms.

About Alison:
Alison Cowie has worked in the NHS for 17 years, most recently as director of public health at NHS West Essex. Her role here at NHS South West Essex includes being the interim director of public health at Thurrock Council.  

Alison began her career in the NHS in Scotland where she obtained a Masters of Public Health from the University of Glasgow. In June 2007, Alison was accepted and registered on the UK Public Health Register as a generalist public health specialist. 

She moved to Essex in 2001 and has spent the last 10 years working to promote and protect the public health of the county.


Margaret Hathaway - Commercial Director

Responsible for estates, information management and technology and the national programme for IT and procurement. Key priority is a review of estates across south Essex and developing our procurement processes.

About Margaret:
Margaret is a qualified accountant who started her career as a trainee working in the accounts department at Southend Hospital. She then spent ten years working as a fund accountant primarily for Foreign and Colonial Management Limited, a city based financial management company. She returned the Health Service in April 2001 as Deputy Director of Finance with Southend PCT, was then recruited in 2005 as the LIFT Project Director for South East Essex. She took on the role of Associate Director of Commercial Services for NHS South East Essex in 2007 where she established the procurement function for the PCT as well as taking on the management of the current estate and continuing with the strategic development of new primary care premises. 

Margaret was successfully appointed as Commercial Director for the South Essex cluster in May 2011 and now has procurement, estates and IM&T in her portfolio.

Margaret lives in the Southend area with her family.


Dawn Scrafield - Director of Finance and Performance

Responsible for finance team, information and contracting, the Commissioning Support Unit and performance. Key priorities will be to develop a programme management office to support on-going projects in relation to QIPP and GP commissioning and developing a system-wide QIPP plan across south Essex.

About Dawn:
Dawn Scrafield is a qualified accountant with 15 years’ experience working in the NHS. Dawn has held a number of senior management positions in finance, performance and strategy in NHS organisations across south Essex and is passionate about supporting the local health economy. Prior to becoming the director of finance for the south Essex cluster, Dawn was director of strategy, productivity and performance at NHS South East Essex where she developed an 'ethical commissioning framework' setting out an approach to managing limited NHS resources.

Dawn was born and educated locally and still lives within Essex with her family.


Ian Stidston - Director of Primary Care and Partnership Commissioning

Commissioning out-of-hospital services, pharmacy, dental care and mental health, learning disabilities, drugs & alcohol and children’s services.


Pól Toner - Director of Quality and Patient Experience

This role is responsible for ensuring clinical excellence, implementing and maintaining quality improvements as part of the national Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) agenda and improving patient experience. Areas of particular responsibility are infection control, clinical governance, statutory compliance, patient engagement, safeguarding and information governance.

About Pól:
Prior to this role, Pól Toner was the strategic lead for the development and commissioning of mental health, learning disabilities and offender health services and other strategic priorities across the East of England.

Pól started his career as a student radiographer at Guys Hospital, London, and worked in a variety of hospitals. He trained as a nurse at St Bart’s, London, and has worked in many areas across the health and social care system.

He has wide-ranging clinical and operational  experience, including working as elderly services manager for South Essex Health Authority; director of health and social care at Colchester Primary Care Trust; and developing partnership working across adult services for Essex Strategic Health Authority.

As well as recent regional and national experience,  Pól has also worked internationally to exchange mutual best practice in health care in Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland.

Pól has a keen interest in working in partnership to achieve the best outcomes for people. Pól remains a registered nurse, is an executive coach and is qualified to Masters level. Originally from Ireland, he moved to England in 1989 and lives in Essex with his wife and two children.

Outside of work, Pól has a variety of interests. He is a RFU-qualified rugby coach and coaches at Braintree Rugby Club, is chairman of the Braintree and Bocking Air Scouts and is governor at St John Payne Catholic School in Chelmsford.

Pól enjoys spending time with his family, golf and touring around the UK with his family in their caravan.



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