Meet the team

Dr Matthew Walmsley

GP Chair

Matthew trained in the north east and has spent over twenty years working in the region. He has been a partner at Marsden Road Health Centre for 17 years with clinical interests in mental health, substance misuse and safeguarding.

Matthew has chaired South Tyneside CCG since its inception. His time in post has seen the CCG gain a growing reputation for innovation and integration, overseeing significant service reconfiguration in areas such as mental health, urgent care, paediatrics and maternity.

Dr Neil O’Brien

Chief Clinical Officer and Accountable Officer

Dr O’Brien has been a local GP in Chester-le-Street for over 20 years. He has developed a special interest in cardiology and has previously worked as a GP with special interest in this area. Neil is a practicing clinician, which strengthens his influence with local practices and other clinicians.

Neil is also the Clinical Accountable Officer for two other CCG’s in Sunderland and South Tyneside.  Neil is a member of the Integrated Care System (ICS) Management Group representing the needs of local populations at the North East and North Cumbria ICS.

During the last year Neil has chaired the ICS vaccination board overseeing the roll out of the flu vaccination programme and the Covid vaccination programme, Neil is also a member of the national clinical advisory group advising the national roll out of the Covid vaccination.

Jeanette Scott

Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety

Jeanette is passionate about the quality and safety of care experienced by patients.  Jeanette trained as a nurse in South Tyneside and has held a number of senior positions in both provider and commissioning organisations during her 39 years NHS experience.

She is a qualified Nurse and Health Visitor and has completed an Executive MBA as well as numerous leadership programmes. Jeanette is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Sunderland.

When not at work Jeanette enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and is an avid reader and follower of The Archers.

Matt Brown

Director of operations

Matt is passionate about working to improve services and outcomes for patients, having spent nearly 20 years working in the NHS around the country, particularly in Cumbria and the North East.

During that time, Matt has worked for a number of commissioner, provider and regulatory organisations, across a range of strategic and operational roles.

Following a degree in Actuarial Mathematics, Matt undertook an Executive MBA and an MSc in Public Health, before becoming a graduate of the Nye Bevan Executive Healthcare Leadership programme.

As Executive Director of Operations, Matt is responsible for the day-to-day running of the CCG, strategic planning and delivery of its commissioning, system leadership, partnership and integration functions.

Kate Hudson

Chief Finance Officer

Kate is the Chief Finance Officer and Chief Officer for South Tyneside CCG and has been in post since its inception in 2013.  Having originally joined the NHS graduate training scheme she has significant NHS experience, including 16 years at senior management level.

Her predominant experience is within commissioning and she is committed to improving healthcare by working with partners to secure efficient and effective services.


Paul Cuskin

Lay member

Paul had a 30 year career with the UK Civil Service during which time he worked with both the public and private sectors in the development of Employment & Skills to deliver Welfare to Work, and between 1999 and 2011 worked as Strategic Director for the North-East Employer Coalition working with employers and agencies to tackle long-term unemployment.

Previously, Paul was the inaugural Chair of Healthwatch South Tyneside, and was appointed to the committee of Healthwatch England to help represent the views of patients, care users and the public at a national level.

Paul also chaired the multi-agency Local Quality Surveillance Group and was a previous board member of South Tyneside Health and Wellbeing and Integrated Health Boards.  Paul is a former international athlete representing Great Britain at road, cross-country and track racing.

He was also a dementia carer.

Tarquin Cross

Secondary care consultant

Tarquin moved from London to Newcastle in 1991 to study medicine and has stayed in his adopted North East ever since.

He has trained and worked in numerous hospitals across the region before taking up a consultant post in Elderly Medicine with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2007. He is currently Associate Head of Service for Acute Elderly Medicine and is involved in the development of Northumbria’s new Specialist Emergency Care Hospital and base sites project.

He has a young family and in the small amount of remaining time he enjoys playing football, running and snowboarding.

Pat Harle MBE

Lay member

Pat has over 40 years NHS experience, the last 18 years at board level in NHS commissioning and provider services. Pat has held a number of national offices, including former President and Chair of the British Association of Dental Nurses; Training Advisory Board Chair, ( a national training accreditation organisation), and Deputy Chair of an examining board.

Pat was awarded a ‘Probe Lifetime achievement award ‘, and presented with a Medal of Distinction from the British Dental Association.

Pat is committed to ensuring high quality NHS services for patients.

Louise Lydon

Primary Healthcare Professional Member

Louise has worked as a community pharmacist in South Tyneside for over 20 years since graduating from Sunderland school of pharmacy in 2000.

Louise is passionate about tackling local health inequalities and sits on various alliancing boards / groups including long-term conditions, flu and Covid, smoking, drug and alcohol.

She is an independent prescriber and a champion for extending the role of the community pharmacist, working outreach within communities.

Louise’s other professional roles include being the South Tyneside and Gateshead Local Pharmacy Committee secretary, and a visiting lecturer at Sunderland University, School of Pharmacy.

Louise enjoys cooking, reading, gardening and growing as well as paddle boarding with her sister and daughters.

John Whitehouse

Lay Member - Governance and Audit

John is a qualified public finance accountant. In a career spanning 37 years he has worked in local government, the private sector and the NHS. Within the NHS he held a number of senior roles in finance but most significantly in internal audit. He lives in Hartlepool with his wife. He has two daughters and a growing number of grandchildren with whom he spends a great deal of his time.

In addition to chairing the Audit and Risk Committee, John is our Conflicts of Interest Guardian in accordance with our Standards of Business Conduct Policy.

He is also a governing body member at North Cumbria CCG and County Durham CCG.

Tom Hall

Director of Public Health, South Tyneside Council

Tom Hall has worked in public health since 2003 and he has been the Director of Public Health for South Tyneside since May 2017.

He is the Statutory Lead Officer for health and wellbeing and the South Tyneside Health & Wellbeing Board, and strategic lead for the implementation of the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.  Tom plays a key role in the South Tyneside Alliance system leadership approach, developing an integrated health and care system and leads A Whole Council Public Health approach.

Tom is also involved in academic leadership at the regional-level with the Applied Research Collaboration and Public Health Clinical Research Network.