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08.45 Registration 

09.30 Welcome and opening - Dr Claire Sullivan, deputy director for health, wellbeing and workforce (North East), Office for Health Improvement & Disparities (OHID)

09.45 Dame Lesley Regan, Women's Health Ambassador for England

10.15 Samantha Allen, chief executive, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB)

10.35 Questions and answers

10.50 Interactive session

11.30 Workshops 1

12.30 Lunch, networking and group walk

13.40 Workshops 2

14.40 Break

15.00 Women's health question time panel

15.45 Closing remarks

16.00 Close

16.30 Women's Leadership Masterclass (optional 1 hour) chaired by Samantha Allen, chief executive, North East and North Cumbria ICB



Workshops have been selected to share practice across the North East and North Cumbria against the seven priority areas of the Women's Health Strategy for England.

The format for each workshop is two 10 minute presentations followed by a 40 minute discussion about the priorities for the region.

Please note attendance is allocated on a first come first served basis and the content may be subject to change.

Workshop 1 - Menstrual health and gynaecological conditions

  1. South Tyneside: Period dignity donation scheme
  2. Evolving services in North Durham

Workshop 2 (morning) - Fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and post-natal support

  1. Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust: Engaging with minority groups to improve access to fertility services
  2. South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust: Forever cherished maternity bereavement services

Workshop 2 (afternoon) - Fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and post-natal support

  1. Public Health prevention in maternity programme, North East and North Cumbria ICS: 6-8 Week postnatal maternal health review template and planning infographic
  2. Newcastle University: ERicar: engaging Czech-Slovak Roma women in the co-creation of an antenatal care information resource

Workshop 3 - Menopause

  1. Newcastle City Council / UNISON Newcastle City Branch: Perimenopause and menopause in the workplace
  2. Hartlepool & Stockton Health: Developing a community-based menopause service for women in Stockton and Hartlepool using a holistic approach

Workshop 4 - Mental health and wellbeing

  1. Tina's Haven: Supporting birth mothers severed from their children by addiction
  2. Durham University: A co-produced rapid literature review of trauma Informed care for girls in the children and young people’s secure estate

Workshop 5 (morning) - Cancers

  1. University of Sunderland: Improving Muslim women’s uptake of cancer screening - the IMCAN study
  2. Northern Cancer Alliance: Working in partnership to develop a breast pain pathway

Workshop 5 (afternoon) - Cancers

  1. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: Co-producing colposcopy communications to support patients to access healthcare: A service improvement project
  2. Healthwatch Sunderland: Breast easy campaign - Boob Easy

Workshop 6 - The health impacts of violence against women and girls

  1. Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust: FMG: Routine enquiry in movements in the city
  2. Changing Lives: Dismantling disadvantages

Workshop 7 - Healthy aging and long-term conditions

  1. You’ve got this South Tees: Forever fit
  2. Northumberland: Healthcare use by women with joint hypermobility




Dr Claire Sullivan, Deputy Director for Health, Wellbeing and Workforce at the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) in the North East

Dr Claire Sullivan is the Deputy Director for Health, Wellbeing and Workforce at the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) in the North East. Claire has worked as a Consultant in Public Health for 17 years in a range of settings across the NHS, Local Authority and civil service.     

Claire has led on a range of public health issues including alcohol, drugs, tobacco, public mental health and sexual health. During her time at County Durham, she worked with the local Constabulary on the partnership approach to addressing domestic and sexual violence. She currently takes a national lead within OHID on Sexual Health, Reproductive Health and HIV as well as public health workforce.

Following a secondment to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) where she reviewed the interface between alcohol and sexual health policy, she completed her PhD at Newcastle University which explored the role of alcohol in sexual decision making for older adults.   

Claire is passionate about women’s issues; she is currently a member of the DHSC Womens Network, a coach to public health practitioners and a mentor for the Girls Network. 

Dame Lesley Regan, Women’s Health Ambassador for England

Dame Lesley is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College London and Honorary Consultant at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust at St Mary’s Hospital. Dame Lesley was the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists from 2016-2019, the second woman to have ever held this role. 

Dame Lesley is the co-founder of Baby Bio Bank, a tissue archive supporting research and innovation in pregnancy complications using ‘whole family’ analysis.

In 2020, Dame Lesley was appointed chair of Wellbeing of Women, a charity dedicated to funding research, education and advocacy across all of women's reproductive and gynaecological health: she was appointed as the first ever Women's Health Ambassador for England by HM Government in 2022.

Samantha Allen, Chief Executive, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board

Sam joined the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board as chief executive in January 2022, prior to which she was the chief executive of an NHS mental health and learning disability trust in the South-East of England. Sam has a background in the operational management and leadership of mental health services and health and social care commissioning.

Sam is the chair of the Health and Care Women Leaders Network at the NHS Confederation, a member of The Kings Fund general advisory council and a member of the chartered management institute board of companions.

As a Leadership Fellow at St. George’s House, Windsor Castle, Sam takes an active role in influencing culture and leadership development across the NHS. 

A group lunch time walk has been arranged for conference delegates to get some air and stretch those legs.

The 20 minute walk has been arranged by Rise and Ramblers Wellbeing Walks.

Delegates should wear appropriate footwear and clothing suitable for the weather on the day.

Please meet walk team leaders in the Stadium reception area at 12.55 prompt to ensure you are back for the afternoon session which starts at 13.30.

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health, Gateshead Council

Alice has been Director of Public Health in Gateshead since 2016. Alice is a member of the board of the Association of Directors of Public Health and is a DPH lead for addictions and inequalities. Alice’s 2022 annual DPH report ‘Mind The Gap: Women and Health Inequalities’ focuses on how the experiences of girls and women can impact on their health throughout their lives.

Ruth Mhlanga, Professions Lead (Acute) and Head of Physiotherapy, South Tees Foundation Trust

Ruth is chair of the North-East and North Cumbria Allied Health Professions Council, chair the Making Every Contact Count in South Tees FT, and outgoing chair of the Chief AHP Officer BAME Strategic Advisory Group, NHS England. Ruth describes herself as someone who wears many hats, a woman, mother, mentor, professional but also a human being who was born in a different part of the world, with the same need as everyone to live a fulfilled and healthy life. Ruth is passionate about everyone achieving their very best and living their best lives and enabling a compassionate and inclusive environment, in which everyone feels valued and listened to. Ruth’s focus for women’s health acknowledges that our needs may be different to each other, though we are all women, and a one size fits all approach is not the solution.

Judith Rankin, Professor of Maternal and Child Health, Newcastle University

Judith is professor of maternal and child health at Newcastle University and lead of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Supporting Children and Families theme. She leads a broad research programme on sexual health, reproductive loss, health of vulnerable women, risk factors and maternal/ pregnancy outcomes, and long-term outcomes for children with complex conditions.

Laura Seebohm, Chief Executive, Maternal Mental Health Alliance

As Chief Executive for the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Laura collaborates with over 120 member organisations all committed to quality services and compassionate care for women and perinatal mental health.  Laura has 25 years’ experience in the statutory and voluntary sectors, most recently Executive Director for Changing Lives, a national charity providing support for people experiencing multiple adversities such as homelessness and addiction. Laura set up women’s services for Changing Lives, before leading external affairs, policy and communications.  She sits on a number of boards including Chair of Millfield House Foundation and Women’s Reform.

Before joining Changing Lives Laura worked as a Probation Officer in the North East.  Her background brings specialist expertise supporting women with experience of the criminal justice system, sexual exploitation and domestic abuse.  A commitment to improving health outcomes for women and girls across the life course underpins Laura’s career. 

Sir James Mackey, Chief Executive, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Sir James returned to his role as Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT in November 2017 after a two-year secondment in a national role as Chief Executive of NHS Improvement. He was knighted in 2019 for services to healthcare and has been at the forefront of the region’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw his Trust set up its own factory to make PPE. Sir James is also Chair of the NHS Customer Board for Procurement and Supply. Sir James was appointed by NHS England and NHS Improvement as SRO and National Director of Elective Recovery for the Elective Programme in Autumn 2021 and is currently acting as Interim COO, part time, for NHSE.

Sir James cites a personal interest in women’s health, having been brought up as a single boy with 3 sisters with a mother who had a range of long-term conditions, and has a wife and two daughters. Professionally, this has given Sir James some insight into the health needs of women, as distinct from men, and he is keen to make sure we support this.

Louise Wilson, Digital Strategy Lead, North East and North Cumbria Local Maternity Neonatal Systems

We would appreciate your support on the day by making a donation to Sunderland Food Bank. They are in desperate need of the following:

hygiene and period products

general toiletries

toilet rolls

Collection baskets will be in reception on arrival at the stadium until 10am.

Samantha Allen, chief executive, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board and chair of the Women Leaders Network NHS Confederation will host a session to explore authentic and compassionate leadership for women in the workplace.

16.30 - 17.30 

You can find an overview of women's health in the North East and North Cumbria here.

This interactive report provides an overview of inequalities in health outcomes and risk factors, included those priorities featured in the Women's Health Strategy for England.


The Stadium of Light is easily accessible by road and public transport.


Sunderland Stadium of Light
SR5 1SU 

TRAIN: Sunderland is the nearest main line station, located 10-15 minutes’ walk away in the city centre (walking directions here). For journey planning and other rail information, visit National Rail.

METRO: The Tyne and Wear Metro serves the Stadium via both Stadium of Light and St Peter’s stations. Visit Nexus for more information on Metro, including journey planning.

BUS: Bus numbers 2, 3, 4, 12, 13, 15 and 16 all stop nearby. The city’s main bus station, Park Lane Interchange, is within walking distance of the stadium.

ROAD: The stadium is easily accessible from both the A19 and A1 via Wessington Way

PARKING: For conference delegates free parking is available on the day near the conference entrance. Please follow signs on approaching the stadium for hospitality entrance.



We are looking for interested people to join the North East and North Cumbria Women's Health Collaborative.

Our purpose

To work together to help improve the way in which the health and care system listens to women’s voices, and boost health outcomes for women and girls. Taking a life course approach, focused on understanding the changing health and care needs of women and girls across their lives, from adolescents and young adults to later life.

We will do this by:

  • Learning together to share our understanding of what works and doesn’t work.
  • Connecting and building relationships, sharing knowledge, and supporting each other.
  • Understanding how we can adapt and adopt good practice.
  • Testing out ideas that can lead to a positive difference.
  • Using our collective knowledge and experience to solve problems together.

Participation and membership

We welcome new members, and anyone can be part of the collaborative if they have an interest in improving Women’s Health services in our region.

We are inclusive and recognise the differences between our areas – whilst there is commonality, we are not all the same.

The North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board will support administration of the collaborative and provide a single point of contact which is necsu.nencwomenshealth@nhs.net

Members will have access to resources and information via the Boost website (more information on this soon).

A directory of members will be available to help people connect – we will share contacts, organisation, interests, geography, and areas of expertise.

Members will be able to use an electronic badge to signify their membership.


It is anticipated that meetings will be every 6 weeks online and last 90 minutes, however this may change once we understand our full workplan. They are an opportunity to share good practice, problem solve, work together around common themes and tasks.

We will capture, support and test out ideas for improvement and share the outcomes to enhance learning.

At members request we will convene subgroups for members with similar interests.

How we will work

We are an action-focused network, getting involved and seeking forgiveness rather than permission.

We will keep connected between meetings using email, bulletins and through learning events.

We will recognise success and share good news through our meetings.

Please see the abstract summary report below:

We would like to gain some further insight into your experience of the conference and would really appreciate it if you complete this short evaluation here or use the QR code below, by Friday 3 November.

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