RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies
Having retired early from HSBC Bank plc I am currently Chair of a Charity providing a
residential treatment programme for up to sixteen adults with an alcohol dependency. I am
a member of Pontypridd Rhondda Community Health Council (CHC) and of the Research
Reference and Consultation Group of the Board of CHCs in Wales. I am also a member of
my local Patient Involvement Group and of an All Wales Patient Representatives Group. I
am particularly interested in the redesign of healthcare and social care services to deliver
the right service to the right people at the right time and in the right place.
I suffered a heart attack on my 58th birthday back in 2002 and had a triple heart by-pass
in November 2002. I was so impressed with the NHS both medically and with the follow
up support, that I wanted to give something back to the medical profession. That's why I
volunteered to help the RCP. I also help the British Heart Foundation and am a member
of the Public and Patient Involvement Forum for the Mid Cheshire NHS Hospital Trust. I
have to say that both the RCP and BHF are very worthwhile.
I retired from 35 plus years in IT at the end of January when it became obvious that I
couldn't continue to manage my departments due to the side effects of the by-pass
operation. Retirement suits me just fine. I can still do everything I want to, but at my pace
and without the constant pressure of "the boss" (although wife Margaret does have lists!).
I've recently been diagnosed as diabetic, so trips to the gym are a must, but I struggle
with my life long desire for cakes and sweets!
I am now coming up to retirement and wanted to do something totally different and useful. I
do not have a health related background but for many years supported my parents
throughout their illnesses. My father suffered from strokes which is a most disabling,
debilitating and depressing condition which affected not only my father but the whole family.
My mother in her later years suffered from dementia, which in its early stages was
extremely confusing and distressing for her. I feel in the years I spent supporting my
parents through their illnesses, I gleaned an insight into many aspects of hospital, mental
and social care their problems give gave rise to, and hope my experiences will enable me
to make a useful contribution to the Network form both a patient and carer’s perspective.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 1
I began my career in social work over thirty years ago as a member of a multi-disciplinary
team in a large psychiatric hospital. In the late 1990s I led the Inter-Agency training on the
then new procedures for Elder Abuse. I now work as a senior lecturer in Social Work at
Liverpool John Moores University and I have also been a carer.
I have found that in both my personal and professional experience that it is more likely that
the best possible outcome is achieved when there is good communication and respect
between, the professionals involved, the service user and their carers. I hope that the work
I do for the Patient and Carer Network will ensure that the knowledge, skills and expertise
of the medical profession is used to greatest effect.
As a social worker, I was employed by Social Services as manager within several
district general hospitals. I then spent eight years managing teams providing psycho-
social support to patients and their families in hospices.
I took early retirement and then was appointed as a non-executive director to my local
Primary Care Trust and have spent five energetic years in that fast changing world. I am
also a trustee of the Plymouth Hospice.
I feel that this wide experience of working with people experiencing health care, then as
a Board member will allow me to make a useful contribution to the Network.
I am a Dutch expat who has lived in the UK for so long now I almost feel English (but not
quite!). I have travelled very widely throughout my life having lived in: Holland, Indonesia,
South Africa, the Sultanate of Oman, Germany, France and of course the UK. To this day
the travel bug lurks within me. Perhaps I am more multi-cultural than of any particular
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Sjögren’s (both autoimmune diseases), and damage to
my central nervous system brought my career as an employment lawyer in the City to an
entimely end in 2002. Unfortunately, it took some time for my illness tobe properly
diagnosed, during which time my health deteriorated rapidly and I became somewhat
disillusioned with some aspects of the health care system. Since my diagnoses I have had
to adapt my life considerably. I became involved in the local Sussex Lupus Group and
from 2005/2006 was the serving secretary of the group and help set up the local support group in Brighton. I have
turned to art and paint large abstract pieces in mixed mediums and show my work in various galleries across East
Sussex – a far cry from being a lawyer.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 2
I attend numerous hospitals and doctors appointments and take a great interest in the more psychological aspects
of how patients may be affected by illness. I hope that my personal experience as a patient together with my more
level headed approach may be of benefit to the Patient and Carer Network.
My name is Barbara Byer. I was a practice manager and smoking cessation specialist in
Leicester. Whilst bringing up my four now adult, children my involvement in voluntary work
broadened to include parent-teacher committees, English teaching and assisting Open
University students with disabilities. I am a volunteer exhibition guide to primary school
groups at the Royal Academy of Arts and have been approved to belong to the Independent
Monitoring Board at Pentonville Prison. As a mature student I studied for degrees in
psychology, health psychology and medical research and trained as a counselor. From my
work, studies and experience as daughter, mother and grandmother I hope to bring to the
Network my particular interest in how information should be provided to patients and carers.
I am a chartered chemist and spent most of my career investigating the quality of
medicines. Although now retired from full-time work, I still undertake some professional
activities, including advising the Department of Health and the World Health Organisation. I
live in a rural area in Wiltshire and am especially interested in the provision and availability
of health care in rural areas. I have two chronic conditions, leukaemia and glaucoma,
requiring long-term monitoring and treatment. I hope that my experiences will be of value
to the Network and allow me to contribute to its work.
I am a teacher and have taught in secondary and primary schools over a period of 25
years. I have considerable experience in the development and education of children of all
ages, cultures and backgrounds. After my husband passed away I sought a different
career. I am a lecturer at a local college of education and train Classroom Assistants to
Level 3 NVQ. I looked after my terminally ill husband at home and I felt as a carer, mother
and wife of a member of the medical profession I had life experiences which enabled me to
apply to become involved in the Patient and Carer Network. I have an interest in child
health and I hope to make a valuable contribution to current medical programmes.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 3
I am a teacher and have worked both in secondary modern schools, a grammar school
and in this country and abroad as a teacher of English as a foreign language. For most
of the time I have worked only part time as I have brought up three children, and have
been a single parent since the youngest was 2 years old. I now take care of my mother,
who has Alzheimer’s disease and who came to live with me tow years ago. This has
entailed my giving up work as such, but I am able to get out for short periods of time,
and I continue to give private tuition at home. With cleft lip and palate, broken bones,
cancer and stroke in my close family, I have some experience of being a patient as well
as a carer. Apart form this, I hope that my ten years’ experience as a member of the
East Kent Local Research Ethics committee will be of some use to the PIU.
Since 1999 I have been attached to the National Access Booking and Choice Programme in
Bristol and the Avon Health Community where I was responsible for leading and developing
a programme of patient involvement. I have 10 years service in the NHS working on public
involvement. I am now retired and working freelance.
My early professional career was in town planning in central and local government where I
was involved in the early days of public involvement in planning and my career moves
reflected my commitment to this and to breaking down professional barriers.
My planning background gave me a special interest in healthcare environments and I have
been involved in two NHS design projects; a new mental health inpatient unit and a new PFI
district hospital in Swindon. I am a member of the Hospital Arts Committee at Swindon &
Marlborough NHS Trust. I am also a member of the recently formed Association for Medical Humanities which aims
to enrich medical practice, in particular the doctor/patient relationship, through study and awareness of the arts and
humanities. I am passionate about knowledge leading to understanding and all that that means for our personal
and collective healthcare.
I have experience of being a patient having had a five year journey to a successful knee replacement. I was the
carer of an elderly relative until she died from heart failure. I am an interested member of the public who has been
lucky enough to have been involved in the NHS.
I am working as a nurse on a spinal rehabilitation ward. My previous experiences include
both community and acute nursing. Professionally and personally I have had a lot of
experience with the services for people with disabling conditions, both congenital and
acquired. This has given me an insight into the frustrations of patients, care givers and
professionals. Miscommunications, lack of or incorrect information and a disjointed service
are frequently the root cause of complaints. As a member of the Network I am hoping to use
my experience in a positive way.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 4
I am a retired civil servant and local government officer with experience in the Ministry of
Health and technical services. I am a panel member and Chair of education appeals for Kent
and Medway. I have been a Consumer Association supporter for many years and a member
of the Disabled Drivers Association, former Chair of school governors and parish council,
with some knowledge of law. I have experienced the wide range of concerns that people
have in their dealings with the NHS, particularly in the area of special needs assessment
and provision. I hope to contribute to better education and understanding between doctor
Although qualified as a barrister, I did not practice law and my working life straddled marketing, advertising and
business-to-business publishing. Having retired several years ago, I now spend most of my working week editing a
personal website, Policy Pointers (www.policypointer.org). This was created to provide policymakers and
academics with rapid access to research produced by think tanks, research institutes and governments worldwide.
It currently covers over 30 subject categories, including health. I also act as a marketing specialist at the Prince’s
Trust introducing their clients to the subject of marketing on training days and holding occasional clinics to assist
clients with marketing problems. I would hope that my experience of communications and my frequent access to
health related research from other countries may, together, enable me to make a useful contribution to the Network.
I am a retired teacher and my most recent appointment was that of Head of Geography and
Geology at a comprehensive school in Gwent. For many years since my retirement I have
been a member of the Rail Passengers Committee, currently I sit on the Patients Panel of
Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, and I am involved in local organizations including the Gwent
Wildlife Trust, and various Arts groups. My late husband suffered form leukemia and colon
cancer and so I had close contact with hospitals and their staff which made me aware of
difficulties and problems for patients and staff, within and outside hospital environments.
This experience should help me make a worthwhile contribution to the Network.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 5
I have some experience of hospital treatment having had testicular cancer in 1979 and
prostate cancer in 1997 together with a previous removal of a Meckel’s Diverticulum in
1968. My mother suffered a stroke in 1994 and as I live nearby and had retired, I became
My experience of healthcare and care involvement has given me some sound insight into
the problems of the above cancers and elderly care provision. I am a member of the
Prostate Cancer Charity User Group Committee and a networker giving advice and support
to recently diagnosed men. I am also a member of the local Sutton Carers Forum.
I have spent my working life as a Therapeutic Radiographer (the latter part as Manager of
the Radiotherapy Service in South East London) until I took early retirement in 2005.
I have had a great deal of involvement with the implementation and management of
change and have experience of working with patients, carers and health service
professionals to ensure that any proposed changes benefit both the patients and the
service. I also have experience as a clinical governance lead and I firmly believe that both
complaints and non-conformance should be used positively and acted upon to improve
I have a particular interest in developing and improving services and have a ‘can do”
approach to problem solving.
In my personal life, my husband has had Parkinson’s disease for over ten years, so I have also experienced the
health service from a carer’s perspective.
I still have great enthusiasm and passion for the National Health Service and I believe my previous experience will
equip me to contribute usefully and be of value to the Network.
I live in the Morecambe Bay area. I have joined the Patient and Carer Network and I am
delighted to have the opportunity to bring my experiences of healthcare to the Royal
College of Physicians and to assist the College in its work. I have been carer and a patient
too. My caring role was to my 84 year old father who suffered from Dementia (Alzheimers),
and to my mother who was his main carer-and who is elderly herself. As a patient I have
suffered from severe migraine for over 15 years.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 6
David has over 20 years experience as a Safety Engineer and Occupational Hygienist. Freelance since 2001, he
previously worked in the electricity supply industry in the same disciplines and earlier as an electrical engineer in
the design, construction and operation of high voltage electricity distribution systems in England and Wales.
He is a lay visitor with the Postgraduate Medical Education Training Board (PMETB), independent lay Chair,
Continuing NHS Healthcare and Lay Member, Consultants Review Panel, South West Peninsula Strategic Health
Authority; Member of the Health and Safety Commission Working Group ‘Safety of Work Equipment’; Professional
Interview panel member, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health; Invigilator and amanuensis for students with
disabilities, Open University and Neighbourhood Engineer to two primary schools. David was a Trustee, Chair and
Director, Observatory for Cornwall. He is an experienced CHI Reviewer and works as an Associate with the
I worked for the Department of Health in Whitehall until I took early retirement. I was halfway
through a degree at Bradford University studying Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and
Literature when I had a stroke. Now I am asphasic and writing is hard. I do voluntary work – in
my GP’s surgery where I ensure the leaflets are up to date and do a monthly display; at my
local PCT on patient and public involvement on various groups; for two years as a member of
the Patient’s Forum; and this year as a Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS) volunteer. I am
passionately concerned with prevention and outcomes, and I want to contribute my knowledge
and skills into making a difference.
For the past four years I have been a former carer, having cared for my late father, who
had primary progressive Multiple Sclerosis for 38 years and was very disabled in his later
years, and my late mother who had problems with Arthritis. I trained as a general nurse
but have spent nearly all my professional life (the past 26 years) in midwifery, having a
variety of experience, with posts in clinical, management, teaching and now currently
back to clinical as a senior midwife on the delivery suite of a very busy consultant unit. In
recent years I have had a lot of involvement with the preparation and development of
I am also a volunteer and committee member with my local MS Society branch and also
with a social group for adults with learning difficulties, so continue to have contact with
people with disabilities and carers. I hope my experiences and insights will enable me to
make a useful contribution to the Network.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 7
I have been a Type 1 diabetic since 1974. I am a user representative on the Hammersmith & Fulham
PCT/Hammersmith Hospitals diabetes network. I also act as the secretary of the Fulham Diabetes UK patient
education and support group. I was a London based insurance broker for 35 years and now do part-time consulting
work. I am also an accredited mediator.
I am a Project Manager for an IT software company, installing systems into acute hospitals
and community locations within the NHS. I was previously a registered nurse. My
involvement within the NHS, as a professional, and from personal experience, through the
ill health of friends and relatives, has provided me with many examples of frustrations from
both sides, many of which have been as a result of poor communication. I feel that my
experience will enable me to make a useful contribution to improving this situation.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 8
I joined the Patient and Carer Network because I am now disabled, through having
secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. I am now in a wheelchair and can do very little
for myself, however I am still able to read and sometimes type, and I thought I could give
useful input from my point of view as a wheelchair user, having to make quite a lot of use of
the National Health Service. I do not work now but I used to be an accountant for the
Department of Trade and Industry.
I worked in the nuclear power industry until taking early retirement. I was an engineer
specialising in risk assessments, writing, organising or teaching the methods at various
times. Good risk assessments tend to focus on prevention of injury and ill health, so I am
keen to emphasis encouragement of a healthier life-style. My friends and relations provide
me with a fairly broad insight into the needs of patients and carers (including my wife's work
in a local care home), whilst my daughter's recent qualification as a doctor has further
stimulated my interest and should help in understanding the doctor's viewpoint.
I have joined the Network as a patient. Before becoming ill, I had a varied career. For some years I worked at the
House of Commons as an MP’s Personal Assistant. I learned a great deal about the mechanics of Government, the
wide-ranging concerns of people from all walks of life, and the very real need to address these, health being a
major concern. Since then I returned to my musical background and was a Head of Department teaching all levels
and managing a large number of teachers. I have two sons. One is a cellist at the Yehudi Menuhin Scholl, and the
other a chorister at Christ Church in Oxford so things are rarely quiet! I am very keen to contribute to the Network
and to help to make worthwhile change.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 9
I retired on health grounds in 2003 and immediately recovered. I was an Area Manager for
the Office for National Statistics in the North West. I have one adult daughter who lives in
London. I live with a genetic health problem and have experienced many changes over time
in the health service. I joined my Local Patient and Public Involvement Forum in 2003 and
became dual member with the Acute Trust and the Primary Care Trust some little time later.
I am a voluntary Tutor for the Expert Patients Programme. I lead on health at my local Area
Forum with the Local Authority and I am in my last year of study for a Foundation Degree in
Community Governance. I am actively involved both nationally and regionally with the
National Association for Crohns and Colitis (NACC).
I worked as a nurse and health visitor for some years, and subsequently managed a Health Information Helpline
based at the local Health Authority. The helpline team supported and provided advocacy for patients who were
experiencing difficulties in accessing local NHS services, and also provided information to local health
professionals. More recently I was the National Service Framework Coordinator for Diabetes and Coronary Heart
Disease in a local Primary Care Trust.
I am aware how complex the NHS has become and hope that my understanding of some of the problems faced by
both doctors and patients will enable me to make a useful contribution to the Network.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 10
I am the former chief executive of the Skin Care Campaign (SCC), an alliance of all
UK-national skin patient support groups, healt h professionals concerned with
dermatology and others with a common interest in fighting skin disease - see
After careers as a regular army officer and then in government service, and having
previously been Chief Executive of the National Back Pain Association (now
BackCare), I joined the National Eczema Society (NES) as Chief Executive in January
1997. At that time, the SCC was a project of the NES but it grew rapidly. When it was
incorporated and became independent of the NES early in 2001. I was appointed as
its chief executive, standing down from my role with the NES.
Dermatology has been ahead of many other specialties in involving patients, and I
have been a co-opted member of the British Association of Dermatologists/Royal
College of Physicians Joint Specialty Committee (JSC) for Dermatology for some time. An impulsive volunteer, I am
also vice chairman of the Department of Health’s Dermatology Workforce Group; patient adviser to the All-Party
Parliamentary Group on Skin (APPGS) and a member of the APPGS Steering Committee; Patient Editor of the
BMJ and a member of the its Patient Advisory Panel; and a Trustee of Developing Patient Partnerships.
In order to maintain my ‘street cred’, I have stable, well-managed angina, Type 2 diabetes, moderate-to-severe
psoriasis and hypothyroidism.
I am married with two grown up children. My wife Liza and I live in Ealing, West London. In my free time, I enjoy fly
fishing, writing and photography.
I joined the Patient and Carer Network because I believe strongly that doctors and patients should work in
partnership. To that end, it seems essential that there should be constructive patient and carer input into the RCP
and I was (and am) keen to do what I can to help with that.
I am a retired Head Teacher and have a moderate hearing loss. Since retirement, I have
followed Open University courses on Health and Disease and Working with Older People
and passed the ENB Nursing Module (ENB 934) on Care Management of People with
HIV/AIDS. I have used this knowledge to train workers in the care sector. I have
experience as a lay member of local PCG and PCT Boards. I have also been a member
of the regional Committee of Leonard Cheshire and act as a volunteer at a local Cheshire
Care Home. I have recently undergone surgery for a total knee replacement.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 11
The reasons I joined the Patient and Carer Network were that in my capacity as a manager
in the NHS, I felt that understanding the patient’s perspective was vital in planning and
delivering services as well as dealing with complaints – a major part of my work. This in turn
needs to be balanced against the professional perspective and standards of care. In joining
the Network there is an opportunity for a balance of both these factors. My background is in
nursing, teaching and management in health services. I have also been able to experience
health services from a personal perspective with illness and disability in my family members.
I think that I have something to contribute from my professional and personal experiences of
illness, disability and health services.
The moment I saw that ad in a rather unexpected journal (The Big Issue) I became curious
about the Network. Although I had been a medical secretary in the NHS for 21 years, I still
thought of the RCP very much as a club for top doctors, far distant from my own special
interest of health care for those at the edges of society - the disadvantaged, drug users,
asylum seekers, the homeless.
Over the years, as a direct result of appalling long-term illness in my own family, I had also
become involved in the difficult area of effective communications and medical record
keeping in the NHS, and am especially interested in whether ordinary people can share in
their own care, engage in meaningful dialogue with health professionals, and make
important decisions jointly.
When I looked in more detail at the work of the College, I realised that here was a unique opportunity for service
users and carers to contribute at a more substantial level than had previously been available to me, as a wife and
mother, who had seen at close range the devastation of serious illness. I had tried to put a little back into the
community by becoming involved in local health affairs, but discovered quickly that my hard-won and experienced
family perspective always counted for less than that of the newest, most inexperienced rookie worker. I began to
develop paranoid suspicions that the invitations to 'participate' came only because a tick in the organiser's Yes box
was required to that awesomely Politically Correct question, 'Are patients and carers invited to your event?', Now at
last in the Network, the last months have been a refreshing blast of fresh air - the welcome extended by College
committees, a stimulating Academy seminar at the RSM, where we met people from other Colleges and began to
get to know each other, and yes, one day soon I might even get to grips with those College papers which regularly
land with a thud on the doormat!
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 12
I am a retired engineer who used to work for the local authority. In recent years I have been involved as a patient
with the College’s PACES examination which has enabled me to have informal discussions with both examiners
and patients. I am also a member of our local Hospital’s Patient and Public Forum. This gives me insight into the
running of hospitals within the NHS and the many frustrations that exist. I bring this experience to the Network and
looks forward to being a contributor.
Ex-Royal Navy, I served as an Engineer Officer in nuclear and conventional submarines. On
leaving the navy I moved to the USA and worked on civil nuclear power plants throughout the
USA. On returning to the UK, I became senior business manager in the defence industry.
Prior to retirement (age 56 years) due to MS, I was a Senior Civil Servant for the Canadian
Government in Europe. I am lay representative with the NHSBT, the NPSA and the CMO’s
NBTC and TB Action Committee.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 13
Most of my University career was in teacher training and culminated in eleven years in
university management at Manchester Metropolitan University. I took early retirement in
1999 following my election as Chairman of the Magistrates Association for a three-year
term. I am a member of the MRCP Management Board, a member of PMETB Appeal
Panels; an independent lay Chair of Continuing Healthcare Appeal Panels for Cheshire and
Merseyside NHS and Chairman of Mid Cheshire Hospitals Trust PPI Forum. My wife is the
Director of the Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Association; hence my interest in the health
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 14
My husband died in September 2002. He had been ill for a long time. He had a
heart condition which became gradually worse and more restrictive, particularly
over the last eight years of his life. In the last 12 months of his life he was
admitted to hospital some ten times.
We saw many different specialists, cardiologists and other disciplines, and my
husband was an in-patient from time to time in some six hospitals in London as
well as time in hospital in Italy (my husband was Italian and we spent time there).
We attended at A&E many times, and a variety of out-patient clinics.
We met many wonderful and dedicated health professionals, but it was hard to
avoid criticism of aspects of treatment, hospital management and the health care
system generally. My hobby for many years was despairing of the health service. I
decided now was a time when I could stop being cross and try to be constructive.
I have practised as a solicitor for over 30 years, for much of that time as a partner,
i.e. self-employed and part owner of the business, and with unlimited responsibility for the risk. Comparing my
professional experience and the medical profession and healthcare management, the two seem miles apart.
I had stepped down as a partner to become a consultant and work part time some while back. After my husband
died my firm asked if I would like to go back to working full time. I decided not to do so. As a result I now find that
for the first time that I can remember I have free time to develop other interests outside work and family. When I
saw the advertisement for the Patient and Carer Network it seemed a good thing to try to do.
I work full time as a mechanical engineer. In 1989 I was diagnosed as having both Ulcerative
Colitis and Insulin Dependant Diabetes, unfortunately developing various complications with
the latter, despite good control.
Over the past five years I have participated in the MRCP (UK) Part 2 clinical examinations
(PACES) and have recently joined the Local Diabetes Service Advisory Group at my local
I joined the Patient and Carer Network as I feel patients and carers have a great deal of
experience and knowledge to offer the college.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 15
I retired from the Headship of a large comprehensive school in Surrey in 1997, having been
in post for 17 years. During my 40 years in the teaching profession I also worked as Chief
Examiner and Chief Moderator for English at GCSE level.
From 1998 - 2005 I acted as Lay Chair for the NHS Complaints Procedure and then for the
Healthcare Commission in Manchester. Since 2005, I have also worked as a Lay Visitor for
My work in the NHS has allowed me to deal with the many problems that are experienced
by both patients and medical staff. My experience with PMETB has given me an insight
into the training of junior doctors.
I hope that I will be in a position to make a positive contribution to the work of the Network.
I am a self-employed consultant specialising in assessment, appraisal and disciplinary
work. Working as a non-executive director of the Wolverhampton City NHS Primary Care
Trust I chair the Manager’s hearings under the Mental Health Act and am heavily
involved with the Learning Disability Partnership Board. Becoming involved with the NHS
in 1996 and appointed to the RCP General Professional Training Sub-Committee in
2003, I have developed an interest in medical training and how the views of the patient
can be incorporated. In bringing my knowledge and experience to the Network I hope I
can make a valid contribution.
I am an art historian and information scientist and have worked at the universities of
Brighton and Plymouth until taking early retirement in December 2005. As well as being
Head of Library and Information Services I was heavily involved in many aspects of quality
assurance work including implementing the code of practice for HE and handling student
complaints. I undertake some consultancy work in the education sector and am currently
involved in a project for the Youth Sports Trust looking at special schools. I work in a
voluntary capacity for the CSA in Cornwall hearing school admission appeals and for the
General Dental Council as a lay member of their appeals panel.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 16
Until recently, I worked in health policy and health improvement in South London, where I
have lived for over 25 years. Inequalities in health mean that poorer people die younger
than more affluent people . Many areas of public policy influence health, and we all live in
different contexts and communities. In my view, dialogue between patients, carers and
health professionals should aim to improve people’s ability to lead healthier lives-even for
people like me who live with long term conditions. I look forward to contributing to the
Network and having my horizons broadened.
I am a nurse and health visitor who worked in the NHS for many years. My specialty is
working with elderly people. Since 1997, I have been working as an independent nurse
adviser, including litigation support (on both sides) in cases of clinical negligence.
I was an active member of a Community Health Council and represented my CHC on a PCT
board. My background includes a close relationship with the Royal College of Nursing both
as a steward and as Chair of an RCN specialist forum. I was a member of a Department of
Health Clinical Standards Advisory Group looking into the care of elderly people.
I have personal experience as a carer for my father who had lung cancer and was paralysed
from the waist down at age 65. I also cared for my father-in-law who had myeloma and
became an amputee aged 80.
I have recent personal experience as a cancer patient, of chronic arthritis and various food
intolerances and allergies. I am a voluntary tutor for a local PCT expert patient programme which helps people live
with long-term health conditions.
I am interested in all health issues and see my membership of the Patient and Carer Network as a way of
contributing and helping others less fortunate to achieve better standards of care.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 17
I have worked in the National Health Service for 30 years as a clinical psychologist doing clinical work, research
and teaching. I currently work part time in a school dealing with pupil’s problems. I am aware of the changes in the
health care system with increased guidelines, targets and management and the effect these changes have on
doctor’s working practice and patient’s perception of treatment. I should like to contribute to the workings of the
Patient and Carer Network in looking at these and other health care issues.
My husband has been seriously ill for the last three years, including eight months in hospital
and three stays in intensive care. I have therefore experienced many aspects of health care
through the eyes of a carer. This made me keen to apply to join the Network. I am also vice-
Chair of one of our local carers’ groups and a Non-Executive Director of a Strategic Health
Before all this happened I had a successful career starting out as a mathematical economist,
picking up an MBA, becoming a Director of Social Services and finishing as Director of Policy
and Research at the Local Government Association.
I took early retirement after a 33 year career working for the Post Office/Royal Mail. My
background was in the field of Personnel, Finance, Customer Relations and Internal
Audit. My final position was in the area of Internal Control and Corporate Governance at
a national level.
In 2000, after some years of investigation, I was diagnosed with Obstructive Hypertrophic
Cardiomyopathy . This is a disease of the heart where the muscle is enlarged. I have
also suffered hearing problems since the age of five. I am a member of the UK
Cardiomyopathy Association and the RNID. My wife suffers from systemic Lupus
Eryematosus (an auto immune disease), and Fybromyalgia, a related secondary
condition. She also suffers from Osteoarthritis.
Until September 2006, I was Chair of Rugby (PCT) Patient and Public Involvement in Health Forum. I have
attended Clinical Cardiac Network meetings and have been a member of the DOH team developing a revised
strategy for “Urgent Care”.
I am particularly interested in the doctor/patient interface and the encouragement of “patient first” principles. I have
concerns about, communication at all levels within the NHS, and in relation to clinical safety standards. I hope my
lifetime experiences will help to “make a difference” and I feel confident that I can make a useful input into the
Patient and Carer Network.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 18
I am a print and radio journalist by profession, now working as a producer in the
family video and multi-media production company just outside Norwich in
partnership with my cameraman/editor husband Robert.
My activities, professional and otherwise, have been somewhat curtailed for the
past few years since I developed rheumatoid arthritis. The rheumatology
department at my own local Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is
excellent, but not everyone is so fortunate. I hope to make some contribution to
raising the profile of less glamorous long-term chronic conditions like arthritis
through the Patient and Carer Network.
In 1990 I moved from educational research into healthcare. After carrying out an evaluation
of an Older People’s Rehabilitation Unit I had a Trust wide post evaluating different
specialties through the views of patients and carers. A study of older patients’ involvement in
their GP surgeries for Age Concern London followed, based on the perspectives of
professionals and users. These experiences have given me a sympathetic understanding of
the difficulties faced by both patients and professionals in a rapidly changing system. I hope
that this may prove useful within a variety of activities.
I trained and qualified as an analytical chemist. Before taking early retirement, I was
responsible for analytical research, methodology and testing within a multinational
company. For the last twenty odd years I have suffered from Addisons Disease that has
kept me in regular contact with the NHS. I also have aging parents who have increasing
need of medical assistance. I have seen both extremely good and somewhat
disappointing service from our Health Service where the views and spirit of the patient are
sometimes the last things of interest to health professionals. I, therefore, see involvement
in the Patient and Carer Network as a way of helping to bring the patient’s input into the
decision making process.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 19
During my working career I taught economics at what is now Oxford Brookes
University before joining the Commonwealth Development Corporation as Principal of
their international management centre in Swaziland. I continued to work overseas,
mostly in Africa, undertaking assignments as an Economic and Management
Development consultant until retirement.
As a beneficiary of specialist, high technology medicine I have more than an academic
interest in the organisational reforms taking place in the NHS. I am a member of the
charity Arrhythmia Alliance and serve on various hospital committees. Against this
background I shall seek to bring a patient and professional perspective to the
Network’s activities after facing a steep learning curve in the early sessions.
After an initial career in teaching Physical and Health Education, I became involved in medical research as an
interviewer and subsequently in Research Project Administration for the Leukemia Research Fund. Two years in
USA gave me voluntary work experience in both Community Hospital and Hospice in California. Returning to the
Uk I have been a Mental Health Act Manager for ten years and have undertaken reception work in the local Sexual
Health Clinic. I also sit as magistrate in Southampton.
With my varied experiences associated with healthcare I would hope to make a worthwhile contribution to the
Tyne and Wear
Everyone knows me as Ken Timmis. I am retired Banker, having worked for over 35 years in the West Midlands
with Barclays Bank Plc. I suffered a heart attack in January 1990 and joined the local Heart Support Group soon
after, becoming its chairman in 1991. I have since become a patient representative on Wolverhampton Coronary
Heart Disease (CHD) Local Implementation Team (LIT), the Black Country Network Board and the West Midland
Cardiac Steering Committee as well as various sub committees both locally, regionally and nationally. I am also
Treasurer and Trustee of Heart Care Partnership (HCP), the patient and carer arm of the British Cardiovascular
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 20
I would hope that all the experience and expertise acquired will be useful and valuable as a contribution to the work
of the Network.
Since qualifying in social work in 1971 my career has focused on working with adults and
families in statutory and multidisciplinary settings, and between 1998-2205 in specialist
palliative care services. I am committed to improving services for patients through research,
involving service users, training and networking. My work has drawn attention to the
particular difficulties patients with long term health problems face, arising through
communication problems and the lack of consistency in health care. I would like to make a
contribution to the RCP’s Patient and Carer Network, informed by these professional and
As a patient I have experienced of both excellent and bad medical treatment and I have close friends and family
members who have had similar experiences. What I have learned is that good communication between patient/
carer/ doctor/ health professional is vital and can often resolve problems.
For twenty years I worked as a broadcaster and producer for the BBC. Now, in my professional life, I work as a
Communication Consultant helping a wide range of professionals to communicate clearly, often in difficult and
I am a mother of three grown up children and have five grandchildren. I live in London and am a patient in a very
busy but efficient Inner City medical practice. I hope to work with other members of the Network by offering the
knowledge gleaned from my personal experience with some of my professional skills.
Throat cancer brought my work as a university lecturer to an end in 2003. I resisted
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 21
suggestions that I should have a laryngectomy, and having preserved my voice I have been intent on putting it to
good use by joining committees at the Royal Marsden, Macmillan, and the Cancer Network Partnership. As a
teacher and writer, communication was the prime focus of my career, and communication has inevitably been a
focus for much of my hospital work: dealing with patient information and consent issues; improving channels of
communication; encouraging a more sensitive and constructive attitude towards complimentary therapies.
Following early retirement almost two years ago I have been fortunate to be able to pursue
a variety of activities in the voluntary sector, ranging from Citizens Advice to gardening at a
In addition, family members have required support following operations which has brought
me into contact with a number of health services. I was intrigued to see the advertisement
for the Patient and Carer Network. I felt that I could make a small contribution to the large
number of significant issues facing the nation's health and related areas in the coming
years, utilising knowledge and experience acquired over a number of years.
I have spent most of my working life in clinical research ensuring that patients rights in clinical trials were not
violated, and that international guidelines were adhered to. Having taken early retirement, I served a term on the
Local Research Ethics Committee and I was a volunteer on a telephone help-line fro people who were despairing.
I am currently a volunteer with the Patient Advice and Liaison Service at my local hospital and I combine this with
being a carer for a family member.
After I had read the advert in the “Big Issue” I felt that my recent experience, at that time, as a
patient in my local NHS hospital for a full knee replacement might well make me useful to the
Network. To add to this I had made normal and infrequent visits to my GP for minor problems.
I discussed this with my daughter, who is a haematologist in the NHS, and she felt that I could
be a good candidate. I applied and was asked to join the Network.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 22
Patient Involvement Unit
Professor David Scott, Patient Involvement Officer
I graduated from Bristol in 1973. I am currently a Consultant Rheumatologist and Divisional Director for Medicine at
the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. I have previously held the roles of President of the British Society for
Rheumatology and Chair of the Joint Specialty Committee for Rheumatology and I am currently a member of
I am delighted to have joined Nicole Barlow, Margaret Goose and Nikki Kyle in the Patient Involvement Unit of the
College. The Unit has made a successful impact on all aspects of College activity over the past three and a half
years. My role will be to support the work of the Unit and the College, and to develop the influence of the Unit and
raise its profile both internally and in the wider health community.
Margaret Goose, Chair of Patient Involvement Steering Group
My background is NHS senior management and Chief Executive of The Stroke Association. I
have worked with the RCP for a number of years on doctor/patient partnerships in
connection with national standards and audit for stroke care and in 2004 was invited by the
College Council to be a lay member of the Council and chair the new Patient and Carer
Involvement Steering Group.
Nicole Barlow, Patient Involvement Unit Manager
I joined the College’s General Professional Training Department in 1996, to cover maternity
leave, on a six month contract, and I am still here! I applied and was successful in becoming
the first Patient Involvement Manager for the College in 2003. With the help of colleagues,
we set up the patient Involvement Unit, Patient and Carer Network and the Patient and Carer
Involvement Steering Group following the decision by College Council to improve the way
patients were involved in College activities.
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 23
Nikki Kyle, Patient Involvement Unit Administrator
I joined the College in July 2006 as a full time temporary member of staff. In those early months, I
learnt so much and hoped that the position would become permanent. It did, and here I am. This
is my first ‘proper’ job since leaving University in May 2006. I graduated with an honors degree in
English Literature and Theatre Studies, from the University of Leeds. I hope to I bring
enthusiasm, willingness and team player attitudes to the Unit and to do my best to promote
RCP Patient and Carer Network Biographies 24