Board of Directors

The Symphony Healthcare Services Board of Directors is directly involved in the day-to-day running of the organisation and has experience from a wide range of healthcare professionals and advocates.

The Board role is to direct and control the organisation in the public’s interest and is tasked with ensuring accountability to the public and to its parent company, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. All the Board members take collective responsibility for the Board’s decisions and performance.

The main function of the Board of Directors is to establish strategic direction, aims and values of the organisation, and ensure that these are delivered. The Board also has a duty to understand and manage risk.


Board of Directors

Maurice Dunster, Chair

After a career as a science teacher Maurice Dunster moved to the John Lewis Partnership. There he held a number of posts including HR Director for the John Lewis Department Store division, and finally Corporate Director of Organisational Development.

Maurice is also a Non-Executive Director of Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Kerry White, Managing Director

Kerry commenced her NHS career through the NHS Management Graduate Scheme in 2002 based within Slough, Berkshire and has a MSc in Health Care Management.  During the next 15 years Kerry has worked in senior operational and strategic management roles within NHS hospitals in Somerset including Deputy Director of Operations at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  Kerry joined SHS as Chief Operating Officer in 2018 and then went on to be appointed as Managing Director in 2019.

Dr Berge Balian, Medical Director

Dr Berge Balian has been a full time GP in a large semi-rural practice in Somerset with approximately 11,000 patients for the past 24 years, having completed his medical training at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. Berge has a career long interest in medical politics and has been a representative of the South Somerset GP practices on the Somerset Local Medical Committee (LMC) for the whole of his GP career; including a period as Chair of the LMC.  He was Associate Medical Director for Primary Care at YDH from 2013 to 2017 and was elected to the role of Chair of the Symphony Programme Board in April 2015.  Berge then became the Interim Medical Director for SHS in April 2016 and was appointed as the substantive Medical Director role in April 2017.

Jonathan Higman, Director

Jonathan Higman joined the Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Board in January 2009 and became Acting Chief Executive in December 2017.  Jonathan was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in March 2019 and in this role became a Director of the Symphony Healthcare Services Board.

During his time on the Board, Jonathan has held a number of Director level posts, including Director of Strategic Development and Director of Operations at the Trust.

Jonathan graduated from the University of Reading in 1993 and has over 20 years’ experience working in a variety of roles in both hospitals and commissioning across the NHS in the South West and South East of England.

Sarah James, Director

Sarah James joined the Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Board in October 2019 as Chief Financial Officer and in this role became a Director of Symphony Healthcare Services.

Sarah qualified as a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy in 1993, through the NHS Graduate Finance Training Scheme.  She has worked in a range of finance roles at Salisbury FT, Royal United Hospital Bath FT, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and Wiltshire PCT and joined YDH after 6 years as Chief Finance Officer at Bath and North East Somerset CCG.  Sarah has also undertaken roles in corporate governance, project management and performance management.

Dr Harvey Sampson, Strategic Development Director

Dr Harvey Sampson has been a GP in Somerset since 1982 after studying at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School and completing his medical training at Harold Wood Hospital in Essex and undertaking a vocational training scheme in Taunton. Harvey has a career long interest in medical politics and this has included a role as the Chairman of the Somerset Local Medical Committee between 2000 -2004.

After being the Senior Partner at Burnham Medical Centre for 7 years, Harvey joined Symphony Healthcare Services as the Associate Medical Director in 2016. Harvey also undertook the role of interim Clinical Lead for Martock Surgery and South Petherton during 2019.

Dr Ian Wyer, Director of Wider Primary Care

Dr Ian Wyer has been a GP in a semi-rural practice in South Somerset for the past 13 years. He has also been a Programme Director for a GP vocational training scheme for much of that time, specialising in teaching communication and leadership/management skills. Ian was elected by practices in South Somerset to represent primary care on the board of the South Somerset Symphony Vanguard, having previously been vice chair of the local commissioning federation. Leading up to the Vanguard project, Ian worked to develop an alliance contract across South Somerset, leading on the development of an ‘outcome set’ to drive cross-organisational improvements in care. Ian undertook his medical training at Oxford University and the St Bartholemew’s and Royal London Medical School.

Clodagh Warde, Social Finance Director

Clodagh started her career as a systems engineer before developing a career in banking, as an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers. She received her MBA from Saïd Business School, Oxford University, and holds both a degree in Information Technology and an ACCA (accounting) diploma.

Before joining Social Finance Clodagh worked in health, both in advisory and leadership roles in the UK and abroad. Most recently she was a Senior Adviser in NHS England, prior to which she was Managing Director of an NHS CSU (Commissioning Support Unit).

Clodagh joined Social Finance in February 2015 and is responsible for the Care & Wellbeing Fund, working with commissioners and social enterprises to develop innovative, outcomes based services. As such, Clodagh has joined the Symphony Healthcare Services Board of Directors to support the work taking place within the organisation.

Find out more about the relationship between Symphony Healthcare Services and Social Finance

Executive Team

Philip Ayton, Associate Director of Finance

Philip is a Chartered Management Accountant and has over 30 years’ experience working in a commercial environment in a diverse range of industry sectors including manufacturing, financial services, leisure and recruitment. His roles have spanned organisations varying in size and include ICI, Randstad, Fitness First, SimplyHealth and Ageas Insurance. In recent years Philip has held a number of Head of Finance and Divisional Finance Director positions. He has also acted as interim Deputy Director of Finance for Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.


Sue Oliver, Associate Director of Human Resources

Sue Oliver joined the NHS in 1991 and qualified as an HR Professional in 1994. Having completed a Masters in Human Resources Management in 1996 and undertaken the role of Senior HR manager, she was then appointed HR Director of Dorset Community Trust in 1999 and then HR Director for North Dorset Primary Care Trusts from 2000 to 2006. Sue then worked as HR Director for a private care company for a year before joining Somerset PCT in 2007 as HR Lead/Director for Somerset Community Health. Having supported the subsequent acquisition of that organisation by Somerset Partnership from 2011-2012, Sue took up a 2-year secondment in London and Leeds to support the HR transition and set up of NHSE. On returning to Somerset Partnership in early 2015, Sue was offered a role at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, as HR Lead. Sue then joined YDH at the end of 2015 as Head of HR for SHS.


Liz Jagelman, Associate Director of Operations

Liz joined the NHS in 1995 and has worked in acute, commissioning and primary care settings, giving her a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of NHS working.  Liz has a very strong background in Governance, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement with a drive and passion for improving Patient Care.  Liz studied for her MSc in Risk Management passing with a first in 2013.  Liz joined Symphony Health Care Services Limited in December 2015 as the Governance Manager, then taking on the interim post of Head of Operations in December 2016 before becoming substantive in April 2017. Liz’s operational and managements skills are exceptional and she is always ready and keen to lead by example.  Liz has extensive experience and knowledge of managing staff, managing difficult situations, project management skills and change management.


Barbara Williams-Yesson, Associate Director of Nursing & Quality

Barbara qualified as a Nurse in 1990 and has worked with both children and adults in the acute sector and in primary care. Barbara led the Respiratory Nursing department at YDH and worked with national teams to improve Lung cancer pathways before moving into the leading clinical research service acting as study sponsor and Principal investigator for a number of studies. Barbara was also the Information Governance lead for an acute trust and developed programme management skills whilst on secondment with the Somerset STP. With Masters Degrees in Health Psychology and NHS leadership, Barbara is keen to promote reflexivity in teams and has an interest in team behaviours and dynamics. She is involved in the Q Community with the SWAHSN, and represents the RCN for NICE consultations. Barbara is also a Community Nursing Executive Network member of the Queens Nursing Institute and a member of the South West Clinical senate assembly.


Bryony Finch, Corporate Business Manager

After obtaining a LLB Law degree in 2013, Bryony began working in Human Resources for a large retail chain prior to joining the NHS in 2015. After initially supporting the establishment and work of the Symphony Vanguard Programme, Bryony continued working under the Symphony umbrella by supporting the subsequent establishment and management of Symphony Healthcare Services. Bryony also undertakes the role of Company Secretary for the company.