Leadership at the BMA

Browse biographies of our leadership and team of executive directors, who work towards objectives set by BMA Council.

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Chief officers

Chaand Nagpaul smiles with crossed hands Chaand Nagpaul

Council chair - Chaand Nagpaul

Chaand is a GP and senior partner in his practice in Stanmore, North London, where he has practised for 28 years.

He was elected as chair of BMA council in July 2017, and has been a council member since 2008. He was chair of GPC (the GPs committee) from 2013 to 2017, having been a GPC member since 1996, and was a GPC negotiator between 2007 and 2013. He has been an LMC member for over 20 years and vice chair for the past 14. He is a fellow of the RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners).

Chaand was awarded a CBE in 2015 for his services to primary care.

 

Helena Mckeown portrait Helena McKeown

Representative body chair - Helena McKeown

Helena is a portfolio GP locuming in Wessex and a senior GP appraiser.

She was elected as RB chair in June 2019, having been a BMA council member since 2008, chair of the south west regional council, and chair of the BMA’s community care committee. She was the regional GPC member for Wiltshire and Dorset, and GPC policy lead for education, training and workforce. She has been an LMC member for over 20 years and vice chair for a decade, and was independently appointed to the Standing Commission for Carers (2007–14) overseeing implementation of the Carers Strategy.

Helena is a fellow of the RCGP and of the BMA, and in 2018 was awarded an honorary membership of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians.

 

Sir Harry Burns

President - Sir Harry Burns FRSE

Sir Harry is Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde and a member of the University’s Health and Care Futures Group. A BMA member since 2012, he was elected as president-elect at the 2019 ARM.

Sir Harry is a member of the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisors; Chair of the Scottish CMO COVID-19 advisory group; a member of Diabetes UK Board; Chair of the Wheatley Foundation; and advises the Johnson & Johnson Foundation’s Impact Investment Committee.

He graduated from Glasgow University and thereafter was appointed Consultant Surgeon, University Department of Surgery, Royal Infirmary, Glasgow. Following completion of an MSc in Public Health, he was appointed Medical Director of the Royal Infirmary. Other appointments include Director of Public Health for Greater Glasgow Health Board, and Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, a post he held for 9 years.

The personal insight he gained from his patients into the complex inter-relationships between social and economic status, illness and recovery has led to his lifelong focus: to reduce health inequalities. He was knighted in 2011 and in 2014, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, presented him with a lifetime achievement award for public service from the Scottish Government.

 

Trevor Pickersgill portrait Trevor Pickersgill

Treasurer - Trevor Pickersgill

Trevor is a consultant neurologist at the University Hospital of Wales.

He was elected as treasurer of the BMA in June 2019 at the ARM, after serving as interim treasurer from December 2018.

He is a past chair of both UK and Welsh junior doctors and consultants committees. He is chair of the Hospital Medical Staffs Defence Trust.

 

Leadership team

Tom Grinyer portrait Tom Grinyer

Chief executive officer - Tom Grinyer

Tom has over 15 years’ experience as a senior manager for membership organisations, including the Public and Commercial Services Union and the Royal College of Physicians. 

In 2015 he became chief executive officer at the Royal College of Anaesthetists, where he developed an organisational strategy based on member engagement, quality and excellence.

He joined the BMA as group chief executive in 2019. Tom is a co-opted trustee of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, and a member of the steering group of the Professional Associations Research Network, of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Governance Code Project, and of the GMB.

 

Claire Armstrong Claire Armstrong

National director, Northern Ireland - Claire Armstrong

Claire is National Director of BMA Northern Ireland, joining the BMA in January 2013. She is accountable for all aspects of BMA policy, service provision, representation and negotiation for doctors and medical students in Northern Ireland and is the senior strategic advisor to BMA Northern Ireland council.

Prior to this, she was in charge of Addiction NI, the leading alcohol and drug treatment agency in the Northern Ireland voluntary sector. Over the previous decade she held a range of senior roles in health service organisations.

She holds psychology degrees to doctorate level, a post graduate degree in health and social services management, a Masters in Public Administration, is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management.

 

Chris Darke portrait Chris Darke

Director of member relations - Chris Darke

Chris leads a team of 170 people to deliver employment and pensions support, advice, representation and legal assistance to members. He oversees the BMA advisers operation in Glasgow and employment-related legal representation through legal services provider Gateley.

Chris joined the BMA in 2002, having been general secretary of the Airline Pilots Association for 10 years. He has held various roles in trade unions – all of which are now part of Unite – responsible for winning recognition, negotiating contracts and building membership with employers including BA, Virgin Atlantic, ICI and British Aerospace.

He started his career as a design draughtsman in the automotive industry, and for seven years was a commissioner at the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (now the Competition Commission).

 

Nicky Jayesinghe portrait Nicky Jayesinghe

Director of corporate development - Nicky Jayesinghe

Nicky is the BMA Corporate development director. She leads on BMA-wide activities that focus on the reputation and culture of the association. She is accountable for our corporate social environmental responsibility agenda (including all our charitable activity, sustainability and health, human rights, widening participation etc.), Doctors wellbeing support services, BMA member code of conduct and disciplinary processes and equality, diversity and inclusion.

Nicky is a lawyer by background and a senior leader with several years’ experience within healthcare policy development and implementation.

Nicky has received a number of awards including UK Asian Woman of Achievement and recognition for her outstanding contribution to the cause of BME doctors.

 

Interim joint director of policy - Peter Gordon

Biography coming soon. 

 

Interim joint director of policy - Stella Dunn

Biography coming soon.

 

John Macey portrait John Macey

Director of HR - John Macey

John joined the BMA in May 2019 and is responsible for HR, organisational development and people development across the BMA. He works closely with the board, chief executive officer and senior team to ensure our activities are in line with BMA strategy and in keeping with our mission, vision and values.

John has over 25 years’ experience in HR, organisational development and change management in large, complex organisations. He began his career in fast-paced acute healthcare organisations, mainly in the NHS. He was HR director at Cancer Research UK and most recently at the Francis Crick Institute, and he has held board-level non-executive director roles in healthcare charities. 

 

Deborah Oliver portrait Deborah Oliver

Director of engagement and communications - Deborah Oliver

Deborah joined the BMA in January 2019.

She has extensive experience working in member-led organisations, in particular the Law Society of England and Wales, the RCGP and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and a background of director-level appointments providing strategic and operational leadership and support.

She is also an external member of the City of London Police Committee, a court assistant for the City of London Company of PR Practitioners, is on the Nominating Council of the Women of the Year and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

 

Rachel Podolak portrait Rachel Podolak

National director Wales - Rachel Podolak

Biography coming soon.

Jill Vickerman portrait Jill Vickerman

National director Scotland - Jill Vickerman

Jill joined the BMA in 2013 as BMA Scotland's national director. She is responsible for ensuring the effective operation of the BMA on behalf of all doctor and training doctor members in Scotland. This includes the provision of individual support, products and services to members, local and national collective representation and influencing national Scottish health and health care policy. 

Prior to joining the BMA, Jill held a number of senior posts with the Scottish government, including director of healthcare quality and planning, head of health analytical services, and senior economic statistician in the Office of the Chief Economic Advisor. 

Jill is also a non-executive director for the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), where she is a member of the board and the Audit Committee.

 

Christine Yeates portrait Christine Yeates

Director of strategy and insight - Christine Yeates 

Christine is responsible for overseeing the BMA’s corporate strategy and ensuring planned organisational activity is aligned to our mission, vision and values.

She had a career in the NHS before joining the BMA in 1998 as a press officer. She became head of media relations in 2008, then deputy director of communications in 2013, leading external relations activity. After six months as interim director of the newly formed communications and marketing department in 2014, she held the role of transformation director, leading an internal organisational development programme.