Board of trustees

The Board of Trustees determines policy and - together with staff - sets the direction for National Voices.

Helen Buckingham

Chair of Trustees

Helen has been Director of Strategy and Operations at the Nuffield Trust since June 2018. She has 25 years’ experience in NHS roles, including senior roles in national bodies, as well as in both commissioner and provider organisations. A finance professional by background, Helen’s past roles include Director of Strategy and Organisational Development in a mental health trust; PCT Chief Executive; Chief of Staff at Monitor; and most recently Director of Corporate Affairs at NHS Improvement.

Helen was appointed as the Chair of National Voices in December 2020, a role that enables her to continue her work supporting organisations to look at policies and practice through a truly person-centred lens, ensuring that people who use services are never seen as less important than those who deliver them.

Clare Woodford

Clare has spent her career working in healthcare policy and volunteering for UK and global charities, including Carers UK and HelpAge International. She is passionately committed to increasing service user co-production, and eradicating inequalities in health and care services. She is currently Senior Policy Advisor at Macmillan Cancer Support where she leads on person-centred care, integration and system working.

Ezra Ben-Yisrael

Ezra is the wellbeing and leadership development manager at the Turning Point Drugs, Alcohol and Wellbeing Service (DAWS). He has over 16 years to helping, supporting and empowering disadvantaged individuals through various mediums, both within a custodial and community settings.  He has lots of experience in influencing culture change and improving wellbeing. Over the last three years, he has facilitated over eighty training workshops and webinars for various teams and organisations. 

Harry Evans

Harry is a senior programme lead in NHS England and Improvement. Prior to that, Harry spent six years as a health and care policy researcher at Ipsos MORI and the King’s Fund. He has published several reports about population health, data and digital health and care. He works closely with NHS and local authority organisations to improve their use of data for population health purposes. Harry is on the Understanding Patient Data steering group, which promotes better communication and engagement on patient data. He also sits on the CLOSER UK advisory group, which advocates for cohort and longitudinal studies in the social sciences.

Helen Ball


Helen has been Finance Director at the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society since 2018 where she works to support, educate and campaign for all those living with complex auto-immune conditions. Her role encompasses financial and risk management, HR, IT and facilities management. She is passionately committed to empowering people and has spent time working as an adviser at Citizens Advice for a number of years. She previously worked in senior positions in the commercial sector for over twenty years.

Kalu Obuka

Kalu works for the NHS in Southwest London. He likes listening to people’s stories, and enjoys working with people to think through problems and collaborate on solutions. He seeks to amplify the voices of people who are excluded or easily ignored. His commitment is driven by his Lived Experience; he was a young carer when his mother fell ill. Although her health has since improved, Kalu and his siblings still support her to navigate a health and care system that isn’t always able to listen to her or meet her needs.

Meera Shah

Meera is a Dental Advisor at Health Education England, and Lived Experience Associate at Bridges Self Management. She also works independently as a healthcare educator as well as lived-experience patient expert. She guest lectures on the Masters module in Cancer Care at Cardiff University, having lived with cancer for over ten years. Prior to this, Meera had over a decade of experience working as an NHS Dentist, providing care for patients with special needs. Meera is currently in her final year of the MSc in Healthcare Professions Education at UCL. She is passionate about co-production, holistic care of the patient and family, and combines her skills as clinician, educator and expert patient to improve healthcare delivery.

Noha Al Afifi

Noha is the Director of Fundraising & Communications at Arthritis Action. She has over 18 years’ experience in marketing, communications, and public relations in a variety of industries, and has focused on the health and charity sectors for the past nine years. She previously worked for a former UK health minister as part of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), promoting healthcare policies serving the UK population and the rest of the globe. Noha is passionate about translating complex health messages to the public, and is keen to further National Voices’ agenda of promoting person-centred care nationwide.

Samantha Holmes

Sam is the Head of Co-production and Involvement at Rethink Mental Illness, a national charity that works with people whose lives are severely affected by mental illness. Her work involves bringing people with lived experience together with health and care systems in different ways and roles. She has co-produced a range of resources that support citizen participation and involvement, including for planning, strategic influencing, community listening and evaluation. Sam has over twenty years’ experience of creative and strategic development approaches from both the charity and business sectors.

Sherone Phillips

Sherone is a senior manager in NHS England and NHS Improvement national Palliative and End of Life Care programme which is part of the Personalised Care Group. Her role before that involved working with people with lived experience of complex health and care needs to be skilled contributors in health and care coproduction and codesign. Sherone also has significant experience of the voluntary sector when working as operational and service lead in a local disabled persons user led organisation with charitable status. Before that, in a local authority, she had various quality improvement roles as well as change management focus in supporting the implementation of personalisation in social care. Sherone is foremost a carer, a role which began when she was 12 years old.