• Brigadier Johnny Wardle
    Chairman, Staff College

    Johnny Wardle was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in in 1964 and completed 32 years military service in December 1995 in the rank of Brigadier. Since that time he has undertaken a number of senior roles within the NHS. He served as Chairman of Northallerton Health Services NHS Trust for 6 years. In 2002 he formed Craven, Harrogate and Rural District PCT serving as Chairman and again in 2006 when The City of York and the North Yorkshire PCTs were formed into NHS North Yorkshire and York, retiring in March 2010.

    In the autumn of 2009 the late Professor Aidan Halligan visited Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, which at it height was the busied trauma center in the world. Aidan saw NHS Reservists working to an entirely different leadership culture and ethos. Immediately on his return he asked Johnny to help him set about forming the Staff College to take the lessons learned to the NHS as a whole. Since Aidan’s untimely death in March 2005 Johnny and colleagues have worked to develop the model that is today the charity ‘The Staff College: Leadership in Healthcare’.

    Johnny has also served in a number of voluntary roles, as a Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire from 2004 and as Vice Lieutenant.

    He was appointed OBE in 1985 and awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct in 1966. Married to Jane, they live in North Yorkshire.

  • Ajit Abraham MBBS MS MA (Medical Ethics & Law) FRCS FRCS (General Surgery)
    Principal, Staff College, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Consultant HPB & Trauma Surgeon, Barts Health

    Mr Ajit Abraham has been a Consultant HPB & Trauma Surgeon at Barts Health since 2005, and is an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at Queen Mary University London. He is an active clinician whose specialist interests include benign and malignant disease of the liver, bile duct and pancreas, trauma, and emergency surgery. He also has a background in Medical Ethics & Law.

    He was recently appointed Barts Health Deputy Chief Medical Officer with responsibility for quality improvement and patient safety across the Barts Health system, and retains his Group Director role, balancing a busy clinical workload with leadership responsibility for the Surgery & Cancer CAG – helping to shape the future surgical and cancer strategy and related service reconfigurations and standards for Barts Health and East London.

    His other areas of interest are clinical leadership, quality improvement and patient safety and he was Health Foundation QI Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Harvard 2011-12.

    He lives in Wimbledon, with his wife Natalie, and three children Kasper (2007), Anjolie (2010) and Bodhi (2016).

    Ajit enjoys playing the piano, cooking, and cryptic crosswords and plays golf badly! He has a particular interest and a longstanding personal practice of ‘Vinyasa’ yoga and ‘Vipassana’ meditation.

  • Susan Acott
    Chief Executive, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

    Susan started her career on the NHS’s postgraduate General Management Training Scheme and is now Chief Executive of East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust. She has held Board level posts in acute hospital settings across the country including Operational, Strategic, Performance and Transformation portfolios. Susan is passionate about the role of clinical leadership in delivering and sustaining high quality, safe services for patients. She has had considerable experience of service improvement, service reorganization, mergers as well as delivering operational and strategic portfollios. Her experience has included the delivery of large scale IT programmes and she has a strong vision of how IT, well planned and implemented, can support clinical innovation. Susan is a member of the NHS Employers Policy Committee and the New Cavendish Group of smaller hospitals

  • Neil Ashman
    Deputy Principal Staff College, Consultant Renal Physician, Barts Health NHS Trust, and Deputy Managing Director at the Royal London Hospital

    I am the deputy Chief Medical Officer, and Chair of the Board of Medicine, at Barts Health NHS Trust. I am a practicing kidney physician, with an interest in system- and team-working to improve quality, governance and value.
    I have delivered innovation in a financially stressed metropolitan environment, for an ethnically diverse, socio-economically deprived population with significant health needs. This has emphasised the importance of fostering a culture of values-driven leadership to me, and the need to collaborate across traditional boundaries to get the best for those we serve.

  • Alex Bax
    CEO, Pathway and Former COO, Staff College

    Alex has worked to improve health and social care in London for many years. He is founding Chief Executive of Pathway – the homeless health charity created by Prof Aidan Halligan. He is also visiting fellow at the Institute of Health and Human Development at the University of East London and Chair of inequality campaign group My Fair London. He has been a senior policy advisor to two Mayor’s of London: on health, city planning and social policy. He has a Masters in London Studies, is a member of Faculty for Public Health and of the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health.

  • Raj Bhamber
    Interim Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust

    Raj joined HCT as the Interim Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development in September 2018 from The Princess Alexandra NHS Trust where she was the Interim Director of People, Communications and OD.

    Prior to her recent interim roles, Raj was a Director in the people and organisation practice and a member of the Public Health Sector Board at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) LLP for over three years. She has acquired extensive experience of working in the private and public sectors in the UK and abroad, including over 20 years of board level experience through a variety of Executive Director positions in health authorities and Foundation Trusts in London and the Home Counties.

    Raj spent her early career in the banking and broadcast media sectors in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and she is currently a Trustee of two charities.

    She has an MSc (Leadership in Human Resources), is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and an accredited coach and psychometrician.

    Her particular areas of interest are culture, health, well being, leadership, communications and engagement.

  • Brigadier Kevin Beaton OBE QHP
    Director of Studies, Staff College and Brigadier, MOD

    Kevin is a member of the Board with responsibilities for the evolving design of the NHS Staff College and its operational theoretical underpinning. After a degree in history and politics he went to Sandhurst and then later left the military to study medicine. He is a GP who has served in the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has been a doctor for military families and battle groups as well as having commanded a Medical Squadron, Medical Regiment, Field hospital and a Medical Brigade. Most recently he was the Military Medical lead for the UK Ebola response to West Africa.

  • Brigadier Greville Bibby CBE
    Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Grocers

    Greville brings over 30 years military experience to the NHS Staff College. He has held leadership roles throughout his career which has seen him serve on military operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009 he spent 9 months as Deputy Commander of the UK Task Force in Helmand for which he was awarded the CBE.

    He is a graduate of the Army Staff College and spent two years as an instructor at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He has held a variety of appointments including a total of five years in the Army’s career management department and three years as principal staff officer to the Head of Army Personnel.

  • Charlie Brown
    CEO, Staff College

    Charlie has led the charity through its formative two years as Chief Operating Officer before taking up the role of Chief Executive in 2018. She works closely with the Charity’s Trustees and Faculty to ensure the Charity continues to deliver programmes of the highest quality for the healthcare leaders it serves. 

    Charlie brings many years of NHS experience in clinical services, education and has supported the NHS Staff College since its inception. She is a passionate advocate of the importance of leadership and Staff College’s unique approach.

    Charlie started her career as an apprentice luthier (guitar repairer), gradually working her way up to running the largest independent guitar repairs workshop in Europe and working for musicians and bands from all over the world.

  • Dr Gordon Coutts
    CEO, Coutts Consulting

    Dr. Gordon Coutts has a medical degree from London University and a business education from Harvard Business School. He has senior leadership experience across three continents, in large businesses in the private, public and private equity sectors. He has held P&L responsibility for £350m+ organisations and leadership experience of headcounts exceeding 4000. He has held Chief Executive roles for over 12 years including as CEO of an NHS Foundation Trust. High levels of employee engagement resulted in citations in the Top 50 Best Places to Work on four occasions.

    He has worked as an advisory board member and non-executive for a variety of organisations as well as co-chaired international business associations for the past 15 years.

  • Geoff Donnelly
    Chair of the Board, University of Cumbria

    Geoff has held a portfolio of non-executive appointments within the Health and Higher Education sectors. Within the Health sector these have included Health Authority, Strategic Health Authority and Primary Care Trusts; his final appointment was as Vice-chair and Audit Chair of North Yorkshire and York, one of the largest geographical PCTs in England with a budget in excess of £1bn. He is currently a non-executive director of Diagnostic Healthcare Limited, a private healthcare company based in Manchester.

    He was a board member of Oxford Brookes University for 13 years culminating in being the Chair of the board for four years until his retirement in July 2106. He continues to be a board member of the University of Cumbria and is now the Chair of the board. Until recently, he has been a board member of the Higher Education Academy and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

    Prior to these appointments Geoff worked in the private sector in a range of roles from personnel management, consultancy and finance with organisations such as BOC Ltd, Marks and Spencer and Legrand. His final appointment was as Finance Director and Company Secretary of Legrand UK Ltd, the UK subsidiary of Legrand SA a worldwide leader in the manufacture of electrical wiring accessories.

  • Professor John Earis MD FRCP
    Deputy Chairman, Staff College and Director of Clinical Quality, University of Liverpool

    Professor Earis trained at London University but has spent most of his working life in the North West. In 1982 he was appointed as a Chest Physician at University Hospital Aintree. He led the development of Aintree Chest Centre which is now well recognised for its clinical innovation and research. In 2007 he was made an Honorary Professor at Liverpool University.

    Professor Earis has now retired from clinical practice but continues working at Aintree as Director of Medical Education and Undergraduate Sub Dean. In 2013, working with Professor Aidan Halligan, he successfully established the first Staff College campus outside London at the hospital.


  • Professor Steve Field CBE
    Chief Inspector of General Practice, Care Quality Commission and General Practioner, Bellevue Medical Centre, Birmingham

    Since October 2013 Steve has been Chief Inspector of General Practice at the Care Quality Commission. He leads the inspection and regulation of primary care services in England across the public, private and independent sectors.

    Previously, he was NHS England’s Deputy National Medical Director, with the lead responsibility for addressing Health Inequalities in line with the NHS Constitution. From 2011-2015 Steve was Chairman of the National Inclusion Health Board which focused on improving the health outcomes of vulnerable groups including the homeless.

    He continues to practise as a GP in Birmingham as part of the Modality Partnership.

    Steve was Chairman of Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners 2007-2010 and Chairman of the NHS Future Forum 2011-2012. For the past 12 years he has been a Member of Faculty at the Harvard Macy Institute, Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a Trustee at Nishkam Healthcare Trust and a non-executive director of University College London Partners (UCLP Academic Health Science Partnership). He holds Honorary Professorships at the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick.

    He received a CBE for his Services to Medicine in the Queen’s 2010 New Year’s Honours List.

  • Major General Julian R Free CBE
    Deputy Vice Chancellor (People Services and Operations), Lincoln University

    General Julian has deployed on operations to Kuwait, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Cyprus and Afghanistan and trained and served in the UK, Germany, America, Canada, Belize and Kenya.  He commanded 26 Regiment Royal Artillery and 4th Mechanised Brigade and was Chief of Staff at the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps before taking up his current appointment as Commandant of the Joint Services Command & Staff College.  He is a graduate of the Army Command & Staff Course, the Higher Command & Staff Course and the Royal College of Defence Studies.  He holds a B.Ed(Hons) and MA and been lucky enough to be appointed MBE, OBE and CBE for his service in command and on operations.

  • Vice Admiral Mike Gretton
    Associate, 2020 Delivery

    Mike Gretton joined the Royal Navy in 1963 and then studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Trinity College, Oxford before continuing his seagoing career, serving for over 34 years until retirement in 1998. He enjoyed five commands at sea including HMS Invincible, the Standing Naval Force Atlantic and the UK Task Group. He has attended the Royal College of Defence Studies and the Cabinet Office Top Management Programme. After retirement he went into youth development as Chief Executive of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. He maintained that interest initially in World Challenge and as a Trustee of the Tall Ships Youth Trust, and currently as Chairman of Youth Options (Hampshire). Mike was Chairman of Winchester and Eastleigh NHS Trust from September 2007 to January 2012, when his primary interests were patient experience and clinical leadership. He is an Associate with 2020 Delivery, involved in providing leadership training in the public sector, and particularly the NHS. He lives near Winchester with his wife: they have 4 grown up children (2 are doctors) and seven grandchildren. He was a keen cricket, rugby and racquets game player, but now he just staggers around a Real Tennis court.

  • Neil Griffiths
    Managing Director, TeleTracking

    Neil Griffiths was appointed (Interim) Chief Executive Officer, UCLH, in September 2016 following over two years as Deputy Chief Executive, UCLH.  Neil has over twenty years hospital management and leadership experience having joined the NHS from Bristol University in 1992.  He has held operational, commercial and strategic roles in a number of different hospitals, including Lewisham, St Mary’s (now part of Imperial), East Kent, the Royal National Orthopaedic and UCLH between 2003-2008, during which time he was Director of the Heart Hospital, the newly opened UCH and Strategic Development.

    In addition to his NHS hospital experience Neil has spent the last six years working in the private healthcare sector and most recently as a member of the healthcare management consultancy team at McKinsey & Company.  Neil helped develop the McKinsey Hospital Institute (MHI) in the UK which was created to support NHS hospitals identify improvement opportunities and with the delivery of change and productivity programmes.  As well as a number of functional leadership responsibilities, an important component of the role of Deputy CEO is the development and implementation of a trust wide transformation programme.

  • Prof Sir Bruce Keogh
    Chair, Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust

    Bruce Keogh has had a distinguished international career as a cardiac surgeon, having first been a consultant at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, then University Hospital Birmingham before becoming Professor of Cardiac Surgery at UCL and Director of Surgery at the Heart Hospital. He has been president of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland, Secretary General of The European Association for Cardio Thoracic Surgery and a Director of the US Society of Thoracic Surgeons. With a longstanding interest in the measurement of clinical outcomes he has served on the boards of the Commission for Health Improvement and Healthcare Commission. Sir Bruce was first appointed as Medical Director of the NHS in 2007 and subsequently became the National Medical Director of NHS England upon its creation in 2013. As such, he has overseen the implementation of wide-reaching reforms to the health service following the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and had a leading role in the development and the delivery of the Five Year Forward View. During this time, he was also responsible for promoting quality, clinical leadership and innovation across the health service. He has recently become Chair of the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust. He was knighted for services to medicine in 2003 and in 2014 was named by the Sunday Times as one of Britain’s 500 most influential people.

  • Air Vice-Marshal Chris Luck MBE MA RAF
    Commandant, Joint Services Command and Staff College

    Chris Luck has deployed on operations to Northern Ireland, Belize, Iraq and Bosnia.  He has over 5000 hrs of military flying.  He has a Masters degree in Military Operational Art and Strategic Air Power and is a Qualified Helicopter Instructor.  He has been an Advisor and helicopter instructor at Ali Al Salem Air Base, flying Pumas and Gazelles and a member of directing staff at the United States Air Force’s Air Command Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base where he was promoted to the role of Deputy Director of Strategy and War.

    Luck took command of 33 Squadron at RAF Benson in 2007.  This tour was set against the backdrop of OP TELIC and was completed in June 2009.  Promoted to Group Captain in June 2009, he was posted to the Permanent Joint Headquarters as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff in the J5 Plans branch, with specific responsibility for the Broader Middle East region and global Counter Terrorism.  This was followed by a tour as Station Commander RAF Shawbury from 2011 to 2013, time as a Strategy student at the Royal College of Defence Studies from September 2013 to November 2013 before taking up the post of Commandant of the RAF College and Director Recruiting and Initial Training from December 2013 to August 2016.  Promoted to Air Vice-Marshal in January 2017, Luck is currently serving as Commandant of the Joint Services Command and Staff College at the Defence Academy. 

    He was awarded an MBE for his contribution to operations in Northern Ireland.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Chartered Management Institute and the Royal Aeronautical Society.  He is married to Sara with three children.  He is a keen horseman, skier, motorbiker, and student of strategic theory and practice.  

  • Baroness Sue Masham of Ilton

    Sue was raised to the peerage as Baroness Masham of Ilton, of Masham in the North Riding of the County of Yorkshire in 1970. She is a crossbench member of the House of Lords and is the senior female life peer. She chaired the Home Office Crime Prevention Working Group on Young People and Alcohol in 1987. Sue has been a member of Peterlee and Newton Aycliffe Corporation, Yorkshire Regional Health Authority, North Yorkshire Family Health Service Authority and the Board of Visitors Wetherby Young Offenders Institute.

    Her political interests lie in the fields of health, disability, penal affairs and policy, drug abuse, farming, horticulture

  • Michael Pantlin
    Executive Director of Workforce Development, Barts Health

    Mr Michael Pantlin, Executive Director of Workforce Development, joined Barts Health NHS Trust in 2012. Previously he was at Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the Royal Bank of Scotland in Commercial and Retail Banking sectors across England and Wales. Prior to this, Michael headed HR for the specialist brands of the Thomson Travel Group.

    Originally, during his professional training, Michael spent some time working at the Mildmay Hospital, which specialises in palliative care for HIV/AIDs. He moved to the private sector knowing one day he wanted to return to a similar organisation.

  • Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones
    Chief Medical Officer, UCLH Cancer Collaborative, Cancer Programme Director for UCLPartners Academic Health Science Network, and Professor Paediatric Oncology at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health

    Kathy Pritchard-Jones is chief medical officer for the University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Cancer Collaborative that incorporates London Cancer, an integrated cancer system serving a population of 3.5 million in North and East London and West Essex. She is also the Cancer Programme Director for UCLPartners Academic Health Science Network. She works closely with commissioners and academic collaborators to develop the means to evaluate outcomes of whole pathways of care and understand the impact of these changes on local health economies.

    She is also Professor of Paediatric Oncology at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and chief investigator for the national clinical trial in childhood renal tumours, where she heads the translational research laboratory focussed on biomarker evaluation to improve understanding of the factors that affect the efficacy and safety of first line therapies.

  • Professor Sue Proctor
    Chief Officer, Diocese of Ripon and Leeds

    Sue currently holds a portfolio of roles within the charitable and health sectors. Principally, she is Chief Officer for the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds. She is a Non-Executive Director of Harrogate Hospital Foundation Trust, lay member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Chair of a Multi Academy Trust and a member of Council for Leeds University.

    Prior to this, Sue had over 26 years’ experience in the NHS, as a nurse, midwife, researcher and manager. She spent seven years as Executive Director for Patient Care/ Chief Nurse in Strategic Health Authorities in Yorkshire, and completed a secondment to the Department of Health as Deputy Chief Nurse in 2005.

    Sue is passionate about improving the service experience and outcome for the most vulnerable patients and service users through better ways of hearing and responding to their concerns. She is a long term advocate for strengthening professional education and learning to improve care, and enabling staff as well as patients to voice concerns about care standards in a way that makes change happen positively.

  • Melanie Toyne-Sewell
    Partner, Life Sciences

    Melanie leads on financial communications within the life sciences team. She has 20 years of experience advising life sciences companies on financial communications. Prior to joining Instinctif Partners, she built and established the life sciences practice at the Hogarth Partnership. She was a partner in the Financial Dynamics (now FTI) Life Sciences team and a Director at Merlin Financial PR. She has extensive experience of capital market transactions and corporate issues. Before entering business communications, she was at Price Waterhouse where she qualified as a chartered accountant.

    She has a BA in Biochemistry from Oxford University.

  • Sam Tunney
    Chief Executive Officer, Well North

    Sam has spent 30 years making a difference in the public sector across Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, doing a variety of jobs and ending up as Assistant Chief Executive of a large Metropolitan Council.

    Her roles have involved working with many partner organisations, including the police, fire, housing, education, probation, Department for Work and Pensions, various health partners and a wide range of voluntary, community and faith sector organisations. Through being involved in many public consultation and engagement projects, she also knows how important it is to listen to local people and to inspire them to want more than what they believe is possible. They know what they are talking about.

    As Chief Executive of Well North, together with the Executive Chair, Lord Andrew Mawson, she is leading work to create a movement to unleash healthy communities across the North of England, inspiring change by backing real people and local ideas. Well North has pathfinders in 8, soon to be 10 places. Sam is passionate about people and believes that what really matters is the quality of the human and social relationships we form. She believes that leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation and ‘system’ disruption are the way forward.

  • Andrew Williamson
    Chair, Coastal West Sussex CCG

    Andrew Williamson was the Chair of NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT until it was disbanded in 2013.

    Mr Williamson has spent over thirty years working within social services. He was Director of Social Services for Devon County Council in 1990 and honorary secretary of the Association of Directors of Social Services from 1996 – 1999. In June 1999 Andrew was awarded a CBE in recognition of his services to social work in the UK. In 2000 he was appointed as Chair of North and East Devon Health Authority and in 2002 he joined South West Peninsula Strategic Health Authority as a non-executive director. For the last 2 years Andrew was asked to Chair Coastal West Sussex CCG

  • Surgeon Vice Admiral Alasdair Walker OBE QHS FRCS
    Surgeon General, Defence Medical Services

    Surgeon Vice Admiral Alasdair Walker assumed the position of Surgeon General on promotion to Surgeon Vice Admiral in December 2015. Earlier that year he took over took over the responsibility as Medical Director General (Naval) and Chief Naval Medical Officer. Previously he had been promoted to Surgeon Commodore in 2009 and appointed as Medical Director, responsible for military clinical policy and medical research. He has published over forty papers relating to military medicine, surgery and trauma and was appointed OBE in 2005.

    He has deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo and Sierra Leone as military surgeon, serving with not only the Royal Navy and Royal Marines; but also the British Army and American Forces. He led Commando Forward Surgical Group 2 during the Iraq War in 2003, treating coalition and Iraqi casualties, and has conducted a clinical tour in Afghanistan.