Our Lay Leaders are independent representatives of patients and members of the public. They are not employed by the PSTRC or by any of its partner organisations and their role is to ensure our research is relevant to the needs of patients and takes into account patient perspectives. Our Lay Leaders are both linked to research themes and work across PSTRC themes so that our research can benefit from their differing areas of expertise.

Our PSTRC Lay Leaders are:

Amit Bhagwat, Dr Max Maclean, Naveed Riaz, Naeem Sheikh and Kate Smyth.

Amit Bhagwat
Amit has worked across many parts of the world and brings international recognition across many facets of the broad ICT-Data-Digital, Programme Management and Governance Fields. His work in new and evolving professional specialities has motivated him to reflect on the essence of profession and professionalism, and to research into professional and learned bodies, their establishment and wider social recognition, and their approach to their long-term value to the society and evolution in the best wider public interest. He has chaired several learned bodies and events, in fields cutting across technology, management and wider governance, among them two successful conference series of the British Computer Society – the chartered institute for IT, and served on the board of the Professional Associations Research Network.

Amit brings strong national reputation through board roles (cumulative total in excess of three dozen years, including several chair roles), especially in non-exec roles on boards of public service causes,  and roles holding public bodies to account, maximising their public value, bringing rigour and independent scrutiny to their work, and improving their communication & traction with the wider society. At the beginning of 2019, he has been serving in six such public service roles – three public appointments, two other roles within the health sector – on an NHS England subsidiary board and as Lay Leader for NIHR Yorkshire and Humber Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, and as charity chair. Amit has also contributed to complex public sector assessments/reviews/appraisals – as chair and independent member in assessment of NHS Commissioners, as lay member and chair of focus groups on the Keogh Review into mortality outlier NHS hospitals, as designer and lead for an appraisal across the DWP, MoJ serious case reviews, plus governance & major programme reviews within leading charity brands, besides contributing to other government reviews and select committee enquiries.

Dr Max Maclean
Max retired from a 30-year West Yorkshire policing career in 2010 where he had spent his last 12 years as the force’s senior detective. As head of CID and head of the homicide team he oversaw all major criminal investigations in the county and led on partnership working with a variety of local and national agencies tackling crime in some of the country’s most deprived communities. He has led nationally for the police service on tackling domestic abuse and made significant national and international improvements in responses to domestic violence and child protection.

Since retirement, Max has been awarded a PhD from the University of Huddersfield (2015) after studying the ways in which coroners carry out their duties. He continues to lecture to post graduate students in criminology and psychology.

Max is the vice chair of Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), bringing an independent perspective to their Governing Body and, in particular, he champions the involvement of patients in influencing how Bradford and Airedale’s health services are planned and purchased. Max also chairs the CCG Quality Committee, seeking assurance on the safety, effectiveness and positive patient experience provided by local health services.

For NHS England, Max chairs the national committee overseeing independent investigations following a homicide committed by a person in receipt of mental health care services. The Independent Investigations Governance Committee are committed to the spread of learning throughout the health service and beyond, on receipt of investigation recommendations.

Max has lived in Bradford for over 30 years having married Elizabeth in 1986. They have three children, all born and raised in Bradford, and they continue to live in the City.

Naveed Riaz
Naveed has over 10 years of experience and expertise in the day-to-day organisational operation and financial management of a private health and care provider, as the Director of a residential care home for the elderly, which specialises in dementia. Naveed has an MSc in Accounting from Leeds Beckett University and a Post Graduate Certificate in Political Violence and Terrorism from Bradford University.

Naveed serves as a NHS Trust governor for Bolton NHS Foundation. Naveed was born and raised in Bradford, and serves as a Councillor on Bradford Council.

Naveed deeply believes that making an active contribution to public life is one of the highest virtues. He has always sought opportunities to work within the community in a voluntary capacity. He strongly believes that a good life requires active public engagement, and being able to place societal and community needs above personal interest. Naveed is highly committed to excellence in terms of quality of care, and motivated by a passion to improve NHS services and performance.

Naeem Sheikh
I have work experience across private, public and the Voluntary and community sectors for over 36 years. I have served in leadership management roles as, Chief Executive of Council for Voluntary and community sector in Borough for 10 years in London, and regional level in East Midlands, Nottingham.  I enjoyed working with community groups and public-sector organisations.  I worked for Leeds City Council and contributed to a local community enterprise.  Since 2015, I have volunteered for Bradford Hospitals Charity and Bradford Royal Infirmary on various strategic projects.  I studied at the University of Leeds and received an MBA.

I am resident of Bradford for 35 years, married with three children all born brought up in Bradford. I am passionate to serve and make a difference to the local communities’ health and well-being.  I believe my experiences and skills will greatly contribute to the research project themes making healthcare safer across Yorkshire and Humber.

Kate Smyth
Kate has lived in Todmorden, Calderdale for 35 years and is currently the Lay Member (Patient and Public Involvement) for Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group. Kate attends Quality Committee, Audit Committee, Commissioning Primary Medical Services (deputy chair) and Remuneration Committee (chair). She chairs the Patient and Public Engagement and Experience Steering Group, co-chairs the Patient Experience Group and chairs the Calderdale Health Forum. She is the Equality Lead.

Kate has been an Independent Board Member of Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing for 7½ years. This is an Arms Length Management Organisation which manages 23,000 council homes and is tenant led. Kate chairs the Neighbourhoods Delivery Committee and co-chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group. She also attends Property Delivery Committee, Resources Committee and HR Committee. She is the Equality Lead.

Kate is a volunteer at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust and trains Healthcare Assistants in personalisation. She has also produced patient passports and boards behind the bed to improve the way that disabled people are nursed in hospital. She has also undertaken a number of access surveys.

Currently a Trustee and a volunteer at Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees, Kate is ensuring that the organisation is disability friendly. She is also a member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Calderdale District Consultation Subcommittee.

Kate has a degree in Urban and Regional Planning and is a retired member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Institution of Economic Development. She has worked in the public, private and voluntary sector for numerous organisations. She ran her own consultancy business for 25 years specialising in planning and disability issues. She is a full-time wheelchair user and is always accompanied by her extremely handsome golden retriever assistance dog. Kate is the head gardener at home and also keeps pedigree geese and chickens.