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Melissa is a PhD researcher in the Health Organisation, Policy and Economics (HOPE) research group and Centre for Primary Care and Health Services Research. Her research focuses on the role of commissioners in planning and supporting the delivery of place-based health and social care.

Prior to joining The University of Manchester, Melissa was a senior manager in the National Health Service (NHS) and is able to apply her experience of policy-making, strategic planning, commissioning and corporate governance to her research. 


Melissa began her health services career on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme following her undergraduate degree. During this period she worked in a range of healthcare settings including acute hospital services, commissioning, and regional and national bodies. Alongside this she completed an MSc in Leadership and Service Improvement at the University of Manchester's Alliance Business School. 

In the seven years following her management training, Melissa has worked in a range of senior management roles in the NHS commissioning system at both local and regional level. From 2014 to 2016 she was part of the team responsible for developing and implementing devolved health and social care arrangements in Greater Manchester - the first deal of its kind in England - and contributed to key policy including the Greater Manchester strategies for reform and commissioning. In 2016 Melissa was appointed Head of Planning, Performance and Policy at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) where she oversaw £28.8m of "transformation funding" awarded to the locality as part of Greater Manchester devolution and supported the development of integrated health and social care commissioning arrangements with the local authority. 

Melissa also has consultancy and interim experience and has advised several NHS organisations on large-scale service re-design, strategy development and corporate governance. 

Committed to supporting leadership development in the NHS, Melissa continues to mentor individuals looking to progress in NHS leadership roles. In 2017 Melissa co-founded the North West NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme Alumni Network which provides networking and development opportunities to local health and care leaders. 

Passionate about social responsibility and community integration, Melissa applies her public sector management knowledge and skills to a range of voluntary roles, including offering free coaching to women across Greater Manchester through the Pankhurst Centre's Queen Bee Coaching programme. Since 2021, she has been a board trustee and quality assurance and governance chair of The Proud Trust, a Manchester based organisation that supports and advocates for LGBTQ+ young people.

Melissa joined the Centre for Primary Care and Health Services Research in September 2020 to commence her PhD research on the role of commissioners in place-based health and social care, funded by the economic sustainability theme of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration in Greater Manchester (ARC-GM). This project has been inspired by her experiences within the NHS commissioning system.


MSc Leadership and Service Improvement (2014) - Alliance Business School, The University of Manchester

BSc (Hons) Anatomical Sciences (2012) - The University of Manchester

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Division Social Responsibility PGR representative

Social responsibility

  • Board trustee and quality assurance and governance chair, The Proud Trust
  • Volunteer coach, Queen Bee Coaching - women's leadership development initiative in partnership with The Pankhurst Centre which provides women from under-represented backgrounds with free leadership development coaching (2020 - Present)
  • Secretary, Manchester Women's Institute (2019 - 2021)

Research interests

Melissa's PhD research focuses on the role of commissioners in planning and supporting the delivery of place-based health and social care. Her primary research interests are:

  • The history and definition of place in health and local government policy
  • Integrated care systems and sustainability and transformation partnerships
  • Integrated commissioning
  • Centralisation and decentralisation of commissioning
  • Commissioning organisational form, governance and accountability
  • Health and social care devolution

Supervision information

  • Professor Kath Checkland (primary supervisor)
  • Dr Jonathan Stokes
  • Dr Lynsey Warwick-Giles


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