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Meet the team


Healthwatch Manager

Tracey’s working background has been very varied, ranging from project and team management roles in large computing and telecommunications corporations, to setting up and running small internet-based businesses. She also volunteered in several roles in the community, including Parish Councillor, School Governor and fundraiser for the annual Village Show. Tracey joined Healthwatch Rutland as Office Manager in April 2016 and pretty much got involved in all activities from communication and marketing through events planning, signposting, engagement and outreach, and general office support. Much of the work of Healthwatch Rutland is undertaken by volunteers – residents of Rutland who feel passionately about making sure the county gets the best possible provision for health and social care. Together with our board and volunteers Tracey’s aim as Manager is to ensure that Rutland people’s voices are heard through the collection of data and experiences, and shared with commissioners and service providers to inform decision-making.

Esther Stimpson

Esther is the lead officer for projects and engagement, joining Healthwatch Rutland on secondment for 2 days per week from Healthwatch Northamptonshire. Esther trained with the National Childbirth Trust to become a Pregnancy Birth and Beyond Practitioner and has been involved in healthcare in Northamptonshire for a number of years. She was previously the Co-Chair of Northamptonshire Breastfeeding Alliance (NBA). While in this role she has attended many meetings regarding children and families in the county and helped to raise funds to keep vital services open. Esther has also previously worked as a Youth Worker in rural Northamptonshire. While working for Healthwatch Northamptonshire Esther has successfully relaunched Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire which is now an active group of young people that actively contributes to health and social care issues locally. Esther hopes to use this experience to start a Young Healthwatch Rutland amongst other things.

Julie Curtis

Julie is Personal Assistant to Kate Holt, CEO for Connected Together CIC and supports Healthwatch Rutland and Healthwatch Northamptonshire with her amazing organisational skills. Julie has had a longstanding interest within the health and social care sector and has held various administrative positions which include working at Northampton General Hospital, a local GP surgery, Northamptonshire Primary Care Trust, and Northamptonshire County Council for the Safeguarding and Care Planning Team. Prior to joining Healthwatch,  Julie worked for a number of years within the mental health sector as a Mental Health Act Administrator at a local mental health rehabilitation hospital and also at St Andrew’s Healthcare Northampton as Clinical Secretary.

Janet Underwood, Chair

Janet grew up and has lived in Rutland nearly all her life.  On leaving school she trained to be a registered nurse but then left the profession to concentrate on a growing family. For many years Janet also helped her husband successfully run his own garage business in Whissendine, where they live.  When the business was sold Janet successfully undertook a Return to Practice Course at De Montfort University to regain Registered Nurse status. She then worked as a staff nurse at Leicester General Hospital.  Janet also studied part-time, gaining a BSc (hons) in social sciences and sociology, an MSc in Social Science Research Methods and a PhD researching the experiences of hospital visitors to NHS hospital acute wards.  Since gaining her PhD in April 2017 Janet has been involved with research and associated academic activities at the De Montfort University Health Policy Research Unit and the University of Huddersfield School of Human and Health science. Janet therefore has a major interest in all things 'healthcare' and wants to use her own knowledge and experiences to protect the healthcare interests of Rutland residents.

Caroline Spark, Board member

Caroline works in Adult Social Services for Rutland County Council in the REACH (Rutland Enablement, Crisis Response & Health) team. She has recently completed an Open University degree with modules in Public Health, Dementia Care and Health and Social Care. She has a prior professional background in consultancy and has presented technical reports and proposals to a wide range of professionals.  Caroline strongly believes in communication between agencies and organisations to avoid wasting precious resources and has worked effectively in Multi-Disciplinary-Teams for RCC for several years. She has lived in Rutland since 2001 and has used many of its facilities (St Mary’s, Oakham Medical Practice, Rutland Memorial Hospital, Oakham Enterprise Park and the Community hub) and so understands some of the limitations and advantages of each.  She has varied interests in the health of Rutlanders from pregnancy, early years (including a particular concern for teenagers’ mental health services, CAMHS*) plus the vulnerable adults with whom she currently works. *Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

Jacqui Darlington, Board member

Jacqui worked as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant for a number of years before moving to Rutland in 2006 with her two sons, the youngest of whom has Down’s syndrome, Autism and very limited speech. Jacqui joined the staff at the The Park School, Barleythorpe Road, Oakham where she worked with children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). During this time, she also joined Park School’s Outreach Team. The team went into various Rutland schools to support children who required assistance to improve their literacy and numeracy skills. Jacqui then moved on to become a Special Needs Co-ordinator for The Ark Association nurseries in Oakham and the Rainbow Childcare Centres Ltd nurseries in Edith Weston and Exton. Jacqui eventually gave up paid work due to her caring responsibilities, but continued using her skills by volunteering with several organisations. These included The Ark Association nurseries in Oakham and the Rainbow Childcare Centres Ltd nurseries in Exton and Ryhall, a parent/carer forum, Rutland Rotaract Family Support Centre, Carers UK, her GP surgery’s Patient Participation Group and Healthwatch Rutland. As well as being committed to these organisations, Jacqui has also used her skills and experience to represent the views of carers and those with Learning Disabilities at meetings with the Local Authority and other service providers and commissioners. Jacqui’s personal experience, and knowledge gained from extensive volunteering, has made Jacqui aware of the wealth of problems faced by Carers including the lack of information given to Carers of adults with various needs. As a board member of Healthwatch Rutland, Jacqui feels passionately that the views of the public need to be given to service providers and commissioners to enable positive change to happen across health and social care.