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:

Naveed Riaz, Naeem Sheikh, Kate Smyth and Hilary Thompson

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
Naeem has achieved work experience across private, public and the Voluntary and community sectors for over 36 years. He has 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.  Naeem enjoys working with community groups and public-sector organisations.  He has worked for Leeds City Council and contributed to a local community enterprise.  Since 2015, he has volunteered for Bradford Hospitals Charity and Bradford Royal Infirmary on various strategic projects.  Naeem studied at the University of Leeds and received an MBA.

Naeem has been a resident of Bradford for 35 years, married with three children all born and brought up in Bradford.  He is passionate to serve and make a difference to the local communities’ health and well-being.

Naeem believes his 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 Sub-committee.

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.

Hilary Thompson
Hilary was born in Kent and moved to Yorkshire in 1983 during her 26 year career with WH Smith plc. After three years as Towns Manager for Batley & Dewsbury, she joined the voluntary sector as CEO for Batley Resource Centre and then CEO of Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees.

Hilary is now involved part time with Age UK at a regional level and holds several voluntary roles within Kirklees particularly championing the third sector. Hilary is the Lay Member for Finance and Remuneration.   In her spare time she enjoys running and travelling, especially to New Zealand to see her brother.