Derek was treated successfully for throat cancer in 1995. A former teacher he became actively involved in numerous aspects of patient involvement and advocacy at a local, regional and national level being the founder Chair of the Consumer Liaison Group for the National Cancer Research Institute. Until recently Derek was Associate Director for the National Institute for Health Research – Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN). In the charity sector, he is a Member of Cancer Research UK.
Derek was Chair of a successful Primary Care Trust in Nottinghamshire in the years 2001-2006. From 2005-2010, he was a Trustee and Vice Chair of on Core UK , the National Cancer Tissue Resource a joint charity with Department of Health and Cancer Research UK. In 2008 till 2011, Derek was the lay Chair of the UK Confederation of Cancer Biobanks that helped establish good working principles, shared learning and agreeing standard operating procedures.
From 2013-16 Derek was the Chair of Citizens Advice Nottingham.
At present, Derek is helping NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre to develop a People Strategy.