Distinguished consumer and health champions join the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s board

Julia Tabreham, founder and chief executive of Carers Federation, and Ruth Sawtell, who has an extensive complaint handling, health regulation and audit background, have been appointed to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s board as non-executive directors.

Julia has strong consumer health advocacy experience having established the Carers Federation in 1992, which delivers a range of advice and support services to carers and organisations in the healthcare and social care sectors.

Julia also serves on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guideline Development Group for mental health in the criminal justice system and has been a non-executive director in the NHS for 15 years.

Ruth has a successful career in health and consumer organisations that handle complaints. She is currently a board member at PhonepayPlus, which regulates premium rate phone numbers in the UK, where she was previously an independent member of the appeals panel. Ruth recently completed a six year tenure as a Council member at the Advertising Standards Authority, where she was deputy chair.

Previously, she was an adjudication panel member, a lay council member and chair of the audit committee at the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Before this, Ruth was a non-executive director at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, where she also worked as a Mental Health Act manager adjudicating on patient detentions under the Mental Health Act.

Julia and Ruth were appointed in April following open competition.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said:

I am delighted Julia and Ruth have joined the board. They have outstanding experience in complaints in healthcare bringing substantial knowledge, expertise and invaluable insight, which will play an important role in shaping and developing a modern ombudsman service.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman makes final decisions on disputes between individuals and the NHS England and UK government departments and their agencies. It does this independently and impartially. The Ombudsman Service investigates 4,000 cases a year and upholds around 42 per cent.

Notes to editors

Previously, Carers Federation delivered the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS), Patient and Public Involvement Forums, Local Involvement Networks (LINKs). Most recently Carers Federation delivered Healthwatch Pathfinders and Healthwatch Local support, NHS Independent complaints advocacy services and a national prisoner peer Social Care Act pilot on behalf of the National Offender Management Service.