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Charity and the NHS: The Hidden Cost of Healthcare?

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Charity the NHS The Hidden Cost of Healthcare

In partnership with Sheffield Hospitals Charity

The NHS has a long history with charities: prior to the NHS being established in 1948, healthcare was mostly provided by voluntary hospitals and organisations. Since then, charities have worked in partnership with and alongside the NHS. The NHS is a public service - and nobody wants to pay for things the state 'should' fund. But with the NHS facing increasing pressures – financially, socially, politically - does ‘should’ become ‘would like to’? And what role can and ‘should’ charities play now?

Panel members bringing different perspectives from the NHS, charity sector and public health will explore the role of charities in funding, delivery, research and innovation in the NHS; how charities and the NHS could work more effectively together; and what needs to change in the wider system.

This session is hosted by Alexis Krachai (President, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry) with panellists Greg Fell (Director of Public Health, Sheffield), Kate Collins (CEO, Teenage Cancer Trust), Dr Channa Hewamadumma (Consultant Neurologist, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS FT, and Honorary Senior Lecturer Sheffield University), and Shasta Ashraf (Director of Grants, Sheffield Hospitals Charity). This debate is brought to you by Sheffield Hospitals Charity.


Alexis is the President of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He has spent the last 20 years working in communications, stakeholder engagement, community consultation and policy.

His experience extends across a broad range of policy areas including regeneration, housing, commercial development, transport, energy generation and infrastructure.

Alexis is one of the Founding Directors of the Sheffield Property Association (S-PA). The S-PA is the only formally constituted property association outside of London, and has over 80 members which, between them, represent £4 billion worth of assets in Sheffield and are responsible for 22,700 jobs in the city region.

He is a member of the Sheffield City Partnership Board, representing the Chamber, and also the Sheffield Culture Collective which is focussed on driving public and private sector investment into the city’s cultural sector.


Greg Fell is the Director of Public Health in Sheffield. He graduated from Nottingham University with a degree in biochemistry and physiology in 1993. He has worked as a social researcher in a maternity unit and in a number of roles in health promotion and public health before joining the public health training scheme.

Greg worked as a consultant in public health in Bradford in the primary care trust, then Bradford council. Since February 2016 he has worked for Sheffield City Council as the Director of Public Health for the city. Greg was appointed President of the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) in October 2023.


Kate Collins is the Chief Executive of Teenage Cancer Trust. She has worked in the charity sector for over 20 years, working for some of the most recognisable charities including BBC Children in Need and Cancer Research UK.

Kate held a variety of senior roles in community and corporate fundraising before joining Teenage Cancer Trust in 2009, becoming Director in 2013 and then Chief Executive. Kate thrives on seeing the passion and commitment of supporters turn into the funds that charities need to make a difference and change lives.

Dr Channa Hewamadduma is a consultant neurologist with specialist interest in neuromuscular disorders at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust and an honorary senior lecturer at University of Sheffield where he conducts a portfolio of clinical and basic science research in neuro-genetics and neuro-degenerative disorders in SITRAN (Sheffield Institute for Translational Neurosciences). He is also the co-chair of the South Yorkshire and Humber neuromuscular network.

Dr Hewamadduma leads clinical trials in muscular dystrophies, myasthenia gravis and CIDP. He also runs the regional Hereditary spastic paraplegia and Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) clinics. He has been instrumental in setting up gene modification therapy service for Adult SMA patients in the region. He is a member of the NICE/NHSE advisory panel on SMA related therapies. He is an invited speaker at national and international conferences in neuromuscular and gait disorders and also enjoys teaching.

I started my career as a solicitor specialising in construction law (yawn…) and sensibly abandoned law to move into the charity sector over a decade ago. My entire career in the charity sector began and has remained with SHC - working as a Community Fundraiser, Trust Fundraiser, Grants Manager, Head of Grants and currently a Director of Grants.

From the outset I wanted to work in grants, as it allows me to work with people who have an idea / aspiration / dream and make it a reality! That is the power of charitable funding and I get to see its impact every day. Distributing charitable funds within the NHS is particularly rewarding as ‘basic’ in the NHS is surprisingly low.

Living and working in Sheffield means that SHC’s impact is constantly being experienced by family and friends, which is a wonderful feeling - evidencing that our work really does matter.

Outside of work, I am married to a police officer - he jokes that my career allows me to live in a happy bubble, whilst his most definitely does not! - with 2 children who are worryingly close to becoming teenagers. I love travelling, cooking dishes I have tasted in over-priced restaurants to prove that I can make them better and, If I could, I would spend a rainy day reading and drinking coffee but said children mean that getting 15 minutes would be considered a win!

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