Keynote speakers

A special note of thanks to the following keynote speakers for presenting at this year's iLINKS X conference and exhibition.

Dr Simon Bowers

Dr Simon Bowers. General Practitioner in Liverpool and iLINKS X Conference Chair

Simon graduated from Liverpool Medical School in 1998 and trained in Mersey Deanery.

He is a General Practitioner in Liverpool and has been Clinical Director for Digital Care and innovation at Liverpool CCG since 2013 and CCG Chair from July 2017 - June 2018.

A regular keynote at iLINKS since we started he is a passionate advocate for driving improvements for patients through the use of technology.

Twitter @sibowers





Liz Mear

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive, Innovation Agency

Dr Liz Mear is Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast. The Innovation Agency support the health and care sector to adopt innovation and provides business development for industry partners who work with health and care organisations. Liz was Chief Executive of the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and has been a Director in an acute NHS Trust, a mental health NHS foundation trust and an ambulance trust. She has also worked in local government and as a senior management consultant specialising in organisational change and senior leadership coaching.

Liz is an External Director of the Northern Health Science Alliance, and is the past Chair of both the National AHSN Network and Cheshire and Merseyside Comprehensive Local Research Network.

Twitter @MearLiz

Visit the Innovation Agency website

Mel Pickup

Mel Pickup, Chief Executive, Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Mel Pickup was appointed as Chief Executive of the Trust in February 2011. Mel qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1990. Mel has worked in a number of management and leadership roles across Yorkshire and the Northwest.

Mel was Chief Executive of The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust from January 2007 (Taking it through its Foundation Trust application to a successful conclusion) prior to her appointment with Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS FT in 2011.

Mel is Chair of the NW Regional Emerging Leaders Group which amongst other things includes leadership and development work and overseeing the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme across the North West.

In 2015 Mel was invited by Baroness Cumberledge to be the provider Chief Executive representative on The National Maternity Review.

Mel has been the lead for the Cheshire & Merseyside Health and Care Partnership (STP) since September 2017.

Twitter @Mel_Pickup

Twitter @WHHNHS

Louise Shepherd CBE

Louise Shepherd CBE, Chief Executive, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Louise joined Alder Hey as Chief Executive in March 2008 since when she has led it through a major transformation into Europe's only Children's Health Park, designed by and for children and young people and opened by HM The Queen in 2016.  The Park aims to provide a unique well being and healing environment for all children and young people and comprises a state of the art specialist children's hospital,  dedicated research and education facilities, an innovation centre, clinical research facility and family support and bereavement centre.

Previously CEO of Liverpool Women's Hospital, Louise first joined the NHS as Director of Business Development at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital in 1993 from KPMG, where she spent 4 years as a financial and management consultant to the public sector.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Louise has a strong interest in the Arts and served on the Board of The Liverpool Philharmonic for 6 years and plays violin for the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra.  She was awarded the CBE for services to Healthcare in 2017. 

Twitter @AlderHey

Visit the Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust website

Will Smart

Will Smart, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Health and Care in England

Will Smart is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the NHS in England.

A joint appointment between NHS England and NHS Improvement, he is tasked with providing strategic leadership across the whole of the NHS to ensure that the opportunities that digital technologies offer are fully exploited to improve the experience of patients and carers in their interactions with health and social care; the outcomes for patients; and improved efficiencies in how care is delivered.

Prior to taking up this role, Will was Chief Information Officer at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust for six years where he was the board level director responsible for all aspects of the Information Management and Technology agenda and the Trust’s Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO). During the Royal Free’s acquisition of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals, Will was an executive director of both organisations tasked with leading the creation of a single informatics function prior to the acquisition. Most recently, as part of the design of the Royal Free Group model (under the NHS England Vanguard programme), he has led the creation of the Trust’s digital strategy to define the capabilities, architecture and service models required to support this new operating model.

Will first worked in the NHS in Wales and Northern Ireland during his placement year from university, before taking up an analytics role at St. Mary’s NHS Trust in London on graduation. In addition to senior roles in the NHS, Will has worked as a management consultant with major assignments focusing on IT strategy, service transformation, major IT service and contract reviews and outsourcing.

Twitter @nhscio