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Conference chairs

Dr Alan Dow, Chair, NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group

Dr Alan Dow is Chair of NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and is responsible for leading the CCG’s Governing Body and the Strategic Commissioning Function of the CCG with Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council.

He is one of the 2 Regional GPC Members for Greater Manchester. Alan has worked as a GP for 29 years, including over 20 years in Gamesley, Glossop. His interests include treating substance misuse and reducing health inequalities. He is also active in training new GPs. 

He is a founder member of the Family Doctor Association and adviser to FDA National Council.


Dr Rory McCrea, Chairman, ChilversMcCrea and Board Member, Family  Doctor Association

Commercial and business development is key part of Rory’s track record. He has a “fistful of national UK firsts” to his name and is now involved with developments in Primary, Community, Urgent Emergency Care and Acute Medical Care in the Home as well market access for the pharmaceutical industry and clinical pathway technology start-ups. He has a proven track record in establishing high quality, long term revenue streams.

He studied Medicine at The University of London, is a qualified Family Doctor with 25 years experience and a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Rory has a Masters in Health Service Management and Research from the University of Essex in 2001. He gained this reputation for farsighted innovation as Chair of ChilversMcCrea Healthcare, co-founding from start-up in 2001 with successful transfer in 2010 to a Trade Partner, a privately owned chain of over 40 NHS General Practices and Urgent Care services across England and Wales. Rory led the development of one of England’s first Primary Care Trusts in 2001. He was Medical Director for a decade (2001 to 2011), then becoming The West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group Director of Clinical Transformation (2011 to 2013). Rory has founded the UK’s first provider of Acute Medical Care in the Home with private equity backing. Rory is a co-founder of the multi award winning Stellar Healthcare (2014), West Essex’ Federation of General Practices , in addition to supporting other groups of General Practitioners across the country.

The Family Doctors Association, which represents over 1100 NHS General Practices have co-opted Rory onto their board in July 2015 and he is now. Business Development lead for the organisation. The Institute of Public Policy Research and The Guardian Newspaper Award and Laing & Buisson, Independent Healthcare Awards, have both recognised Rory in their Awards, the latter as Healthcare Entrepreneur in 2008.


Conference speakers

Dr Raj Patel, Deputy Regional Medical Director of Primary Care, NHS England

Dr Raj Patel is national Deputy Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England.  He is also the Deputy Regional Medical Director for the North of England.  He was formerly Medical Director of NHS England Lancashire and Greater Manchester as well as Director of Commissioning for Lancashire.  

Raj has been a GP partner for 25 years in Hyde, Greater Manchester and has held senior clinical leadership positions in the NHS, locally, regionally and nationally since 1997.  He is a Manchester medical graduate born in colonial Nairobi and raised in Leicester.  

​Raj is a passionate advocate for jointly involving clinicians and patients in healthcare decisions.  


Dr Sarah Jarvis, MBE, General Practitioner (GP), GP trainer and Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Sarah trained at Cambridge (1980-1983) and Oxford (1983-1986) universities and became a partner in an inner city general practice in 1990. She is an active medical writer and broadcaster, and is the resident doctor for BBC Radio 2 and the One Show on BBC One. She also appears regularly UK television and radio programmes including Good Morning Britain, ITN Lunchtime News, LBC and Radio 5 live.

In 2017 she became clinical director of the Patient Platform Limited. This includes the website, which provides patient health education to over 250 million people a year worldwide. She oversees all the clinical content of this site, and has appeared in over 350 short patient education videos for the site, with more to come. In collaboration with other authors from the site, she has developed an online triage tool for use in the NHS, and oversees all clinical aspects of the patient online service Patient Access.

Sarah was appointed an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list in December 2017 for services to general practice and public understanding of health.


Michael McCourt, Chief Executive, Manchester LCO 

Michael qualified as a mental health nurse in 1988 and has worked clinically and as a leader in health and social care settings in Yorkshire, Wales and London. For the last 16 years he has been working in Greater Manchester.

Previously Michael spent 9 years as Executive Director of Operations and 3 years as CEO at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Michael has led large scale organisational developments over the last 20 years.  This has included the expansion of mental health centres in London, as an Executive Director in Pennine Care providing leadership for both a merger and acquisition.  As CEO Michael led integration and new models of care across a number of Greater Manchester towns.

In April 2018 Michael will launch, as CEO, the Manchester Local Care Organisation.  This is one of the most ambitious integration projects nationally, rising to a £650m organisational form by 2020.


Alison Holbourn, Deputy Chief Inspector of Primary Care, Care Quality Commission

Alison is Deputy Chief Inspector for PMS and Integrated Care at CQC, covering the North Region operations, and national roles in system reviews and new care models. She has worked in health care for 30 years predominantly in primary and community care having worked in management, academic, research and consultancy roles as well as in NHS management.

Previous experience includes eight years as a founder director of GP-led social enterprise, Salford Health Matters, CEO of a start-up GP provider in Cheshire, Head of Primary Care and Associate Director (Health Authority), and GP Fundholding manager.

She has held related academic roles researching and teaching in Health Systems having worked as a senior lecturer at the University of Chester, University of Manchester, Liverpool John Moores University and Cass Business School.

Alison has an interest in complex systems and has organised and contributes to various conferences on complex adaptive systems.

As a health systems consultant, she has previously worked to support a lot of new provider organisations in health care in particular social enterprises in primary and community care, mental health and public health.


 Dr Sohail Munshi, Chief Medical Officer, Manchester LCO


Dr Sohail Munshi has been a GP for 20 years with a background in training and appraisals and a special interest in dermatology.

He is a GP partner at a practice recently awarded an overall outstanding rating by the CQC. In 2014, he set up a GP federation in north Manchester and in 2015 went on to chair a new tri-federation covering the thee Manchester locality CCGs, called the Manchester Primary Care Partnership. The Federation secured wave 2 GP access monies from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund, running a seven-day service across the city’s 609,000 registered patients, with 100 per cent membership of the 90 GP practices.

The partnership is heavily involved in primary care transformation and the devolution of Manchester’s health and social care services and is a 25% equal shareholder in Manchester’s recently formed Local Care Organisation (MLCO) of which Sohail was appointed CMO of in March 2018. Sohail also chairs the Greater Manchester Association of GP Federations.


Dr Joanna Bircher, Clinical Director for GP Excellence, GMHSCP

Joanna Bircher is a GP in Greater Manchester. She is Clinical Director to the RCGP/Greater Manchester GP Excellence Programme, Clinical lead for Quality Improvement at Tameside and Glossop CCG, a Generation Q Fellow of the Health Foundation and a board member of AQuA (Advancing Quality Alliance).

She has a Masters degree in Leadership for Quality Improvement from Ashridge Business School and is co-author of the RCGP Guide to Quality Improvement. Her particular interest is in making established QI methodology relevant and accessible for Primary Care.




Paul Lynch, Deputy Director of Strategy, GM Health

Paul Lynch is Deputy Director for Strategy & System Development for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership. The Partnership works on behalf of all of the health and social care organisations in Greater Manchester.

His role involves leading strategy and policy development within GM devolution, system leadership with wider public services and the voluntary sector as well as leading transformation programmes such as on the establishment of Local Care Organisations (LCOs) in GM.

Paul has previously worked in a range of strategy, transformation and commissioning roles across the NHS and local government – including with Wigan Borough CCG and West Cheshire CCG.


Dharmesh Patel, Chair, Primary Care Advisory Group, GMHSCP

Dharmesh Patel is currently Chair of the Gtr Manchester Primary Care Advisory Group and a primary care representative on the GM Health and Care Board. He is also chair of the GM Local Eye Health Network leading on the transformation in eye health services across Gtr Manchester.

He is Chief Officer of Primary Eyecare North – an Optometry single provider organisation set up by local optical committees, as well as a commissioning lead with LOCSU – the national support organisation for Local Optical Committees and continues to practice optometry at Dixon Optometrists in Stockport.






Kay Keane FRSA, Practice Business Manager; Alvanley Family Practice, Stockport CCG

Kay has spent her career working in the NHS, Beginning as a reluctant Medical Receptionist and soon realising that Primary Care was home for her.  She has, over the last 20+ years worked across the service, but always wanting to get back to a patient facing service.  The chance came following redundancy and Kay is now working as a Practice Business Manager at a 5,000 patient practice in Stockport.

She was awarded Practice Manager of the year in 2017 by the National Association of Primary Care, has been awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts for her work leading social Change and the practice are the only General Practice in the country to appear on the UK’s top 100 apprentice employers list”.

As well as her work in practice Kay delivers Training for First Practice Management, and has just stated the Advanced Diploma in Primary Care Management.  She is an allotmenteer and spends weekends and holidays in her camper van.


Dr Farah Jameel, GPC England Executive Team, British Medical Association

Farah Jameel is a member of the executive team of the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee of England (GPC England). Her responsibilities through this role include negotiating the annual GMS contract in England, alongside policy liaison responsibilities for matters pertaining to Clinical and prescribing, GPIT and workload.

She works as a sessional GP in London and is Chair of Camden Local Medical Committee.  She is also a GP appraiser.

A strong believer of the NHS and its core principles, she has consistently fought to maintain and improve working conditions and patient care. She is committed through her roles on GPC and the LMC to ensure the stability and viability of general practice. Being a BME woman and an international medical graduate, she has a keen interest in ensuring equality and fairness is extended to all. 

Lesley Evans, Operations Director, Our Health Partnership

Lesley Joined Our Health Partnership in 2016 as Director of Operations.  This was the start of the journey for OHP; Lesley arrived to a desk and a phone.  Her task over the last two years has been to set up the organisation and to ensure that going forward everything is in place – robust systems and an organisation that is not built on quick sand. 

A qualified Accountant; her career has been wholly in the NHS in Acute sector , Community sector, working at Regional level and lately at CCG as Director of Primary Care.  She enjoys her role and loves working with GPs.  OHP are passionate about changing the way the primary care is delivered and supported going forward.  Outside work she owns two retired greyhounds, a husband and has 3 children!    



Simon Wallace, Senior Employment Law Consulant, Avensure

Simon Wallace has over 25 years of experience in Employment Law and 20 years’ experience in Health & Safety.

Whilst studying Business and Finance, Simon took especial interest in modules surrounding people; most notably the way that businesses can be more efficient, more profitable, and have more satisfied customers when they properly engage their staff.

Simon offers a practical, common sense approach – appreciating that HR, Employment Law, and Health and Safety can often be a mine-field a business owner would rather not think about. However, his experience in the hospitality industry has proven time again that robust policies and procedures can help protect a brand, keep staff and customers safe, and save time in the long run.

A highly experienced presenter and trainer, Simon has a presentation style which is lively and informative; using real life examples of best practice within the workplace. His presenting style ensures the audience leave understanding the content in a clear and concise manner; ensuring the best possible outcomes in an ever changing world of Employment Law.


Caroline Richardson, Learning and Development Director, OneWorkforce 

Caroline Richardson is Learning and Development Director at OneWorkforce. Caroline is a leader with operational and HR management experience having worked across industries including retail and healthcare. Her passion lies in empowering those around her through coaching and mentoring to achieve their full potential.

In the last five years she has led the successful TUPE process for over 200 employees alongside managing complex employee relation cases for care providers nationwide. Caroline’s operational background means that she has a good understanding of the requirements of providers from their commissioners and regulators. 

Caroline is an accredited Institute of Leadership and Management trainer (Advanced PTT) and facilitates courses to new and established managers across the country with a fresh, energetic and enthusiastic approach. 


Graham Leyfield, Business Development Manager, Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

With more than 30 years’ experience in financial services, Graham joined Wesleyan in 2005.

Having recently transitioned into a business development manager, Graham supports his colleagues in providing a complete commercial solution for our dental and GP customers.






Blake Foster, Practice Manager, Chapelgreen Practice, Sheffield

Blake Foster has been a Practice Manager for 10 years and has worked in Primary Care for over 15 years.

He is also attached to the Sheffield CCG as General Practice Support Manager, delivering special projects linked to the GPFV.






Dr Amar Rughani, GP Partner, Chapelgreen Practice, Sheffield

Amar Rughani is a GP, in practice for over 30 years. He has also worked with the RCGP developing the MRCGP and GP curriculum.

He is associate postgraduate Dean in HEE Yorkshire & the Humber where his main responsibility is teaching and mentoring in leadership.







Lisa Geary, Partner, Capsticks LLP 

Lisa Geary is a partner in the Capsticks Real Estate department and is head of the Real Estate team in Capsticks Leeds office. 

She has extensive experience of advising NHS trusts, GPs, specialist charities, social enterprises, national regulatory bodies and other public and private healthcare bodies in the Yorkshire, North West and wider northern region on all aspects of their property requirements including acquisitions and disposals, site developments and complex underletting arrangements, strategic estate rationalisation and reconfiguration and overage arrangements, property portfolio management and reviews, landlord and tenant matters and strategic joint venturing arrangements.

Her work for GPs includes regularising occupation of surgery premises, sale and leasebacks, property aspects of re-mortgaging, the acquisition and disposal of GP premises, advising on the property implications of GP federation arrangements and merging and all aspects of the Premises Costs Directions.


Mia Branchette, Solicitor, Capsticks LLP 

Mia Branchette trained at a large city firm and joined Capsticks in 2017 as a solicitor in the Property Litigation Department.

Mia has experience of dealing with a huge variety of contentious property issues, with an emphasis on providing commercially driven solutions through advice, negotiation and various forms of dispute resolution.

Mia’s expertise includes dealing with all aspects and issues arising from the landlord and tenant relationship including business lease renewals, rent review and dilapidations, property related insolvency and tenant default/arrears and service charge disputes.

Acting for both landlords and tenants, Mia has extensive experience in relation to residential and commercial possession claims, including large scale site clearances prior to redevelopment. 

Mia has acted for various clients on the operation of contentious break clauses and advised on compliance with conditional and qualified rights to break. Mia has also been involved with real property issues, including covenants, easements, boundaries and rights of way.

free event for all Practice Managers, GPs, administrative staff, commissioners and all others involved in primary care business management