Meet our Board

The Healthwatch County Durham Board independently contribute to the development and delivery of our strategic work plan, to help improve the health and social care outcomes of the County’s residents. All decisions are made in line with the requirements of the Department of Health and Social Care and Healthwatch England, through clear governance, effective strategic planning, and good management. All of our Board members are volunteers with vast experience working in the third sector, health and social care. You can find out more about our Board below.

Our Chair, Christopher Cunnington-Shore

Chris retired from his own consultancy company in 2015. Since then he has been a member of a number of health and social care related working groups and committees. Prior to establishing his own consultancy company, he held a number of senior managerial positions during his long career working for both the NHS and the Department of Health. He is a former University Visiting Professor and in addition to Chairing Healthwatch County Durham since 2019, he also Chairs a number of local 'health' related committees within the Sedgefield locality. He has devoted over 40 years to health, social care and charity work within the County.

Our Board

Jim Welch

Being a blind, disabled person and a wheelchair user from 1990, Jim has a strong interest in health services provided for the community of County Durham.  By joining Healthwatch County Durham Jim feels he has something to offer as a Board member.

Jim is a member of a variety of groups including Chief Executive of Blindlife, a member of Durham Disability Partnership and Board Member of Disability Independent Advisory Group for Durham Constabulary.

Mary Mitchell 

Since retiring from her career in education, Mary has been involved with the work of the voluntary arena of the NHS and has more recently become keen to support the work of Healthwatch County Durham through the Pioneering Care Partnership.

"I believe Healthwatch County Durham is a very important link between the public and the health organisations".

Dr Lakkur Murthy

With half a century of NHS involvement, being a doctor, consultant, clinical director and governor, Murthy has a good understanding of the NHS, social care, public health, clinical commissioning and provision of services and has been a member/chair of local, regional, national and international committees.

Murthy is keen to support and develop the work of Healthwatch to ensure the citizens of County Durham have the opportunity to give their comments and receive appropriate and accurate information to obtain the services they require when they need them.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to use my knowledge, skills and experience to serve Healthwatch County Durham”.

Judi Evans

Being employed within the voluntary and social justice sectors Judi has gained experience in direct service delivery and the management of services to a wide range of users in the social care and criminal justice sectors.  As well as valuing and recognising the huge contribution of volunteers Judi has developed a strong focus on real service user engagement in the planning and operation of services.

Zena Jones

Zena has worked in the NHS and related organisations for over 35 years and has a wide variety of experiences at strategic level especially in patient carer public involvement and engagement, particularly in clinical research settings. Strategic experience of workforce and organisation development including training, education, facilitation and change management. In addition Zena is a passionate advocate of those people with ‘hidden’ disabilities such as those who have mental health issues or those with chronic long term illness who have issues such as fatigue.


Past Board minutes

We have published a summary of what was discussed at our Board meetings over the last year. Check out our past meetings to read more.

Find out more

If you would like a copy of any of the other papers from our previous Board meetings, or minutes from older meetings, please get in touch with us at


The value of our Volunteers

Board member Zena explains why she sits on the Healthwatch County Durham Board. Find out more in our video.