Leadership at the BMA

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

About Us Article Illustration

Chief officers

Professor Philip Banfield

Council chair - Professor Philip Banfield

Philip Banfield has been a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in North Wales for the past 29 years. He is honorary professor in the Cardiff University School of Medicine and has been recognised nationally for his teaching and educational innovations.

Professor Banfield has spent his career improving clinical outcomes for women, expectant mothers and babies, including his pioneering collaborative work on computerised fetal heart rate analysis during labour.

His extensive involvement in lowering maternal and infant mortality rates has included national roles leading quality improvements in Wales, being an obstetric assessor for the UK confidential enquiries into maternal deaths and sitting as the obstetric clinical expert on the NICE 2021 Neonatal Infection Guideline update committee.

Campaign work

He spent several years on the BMA’s Welsh Council, as chair of both Welsh council and Welsh consultants committee, where he worked directly with NHS employers and policy makers to make fundamental changes to pay, pensions and staff welfare.

He has successfully defended whistle-blowers by taking issues directly to the Welsh NHS and Ministers, and continues to campaign for openness, transparency and a no-blame safety culture through more effective responses to concerns raised by both doctors and patients.

In July 2022 Professor Banfield was elected as chair of UK council for an initial three-year tenure.

Personal life

Professor Banfield and his wife, a GP, live in North Wales. They share five children and six grandchildren.




Latifa Patel Latifa Patel

Chair of representative body - Latifa Patel

Latifa is an ST7 paediatric respiratory junior doctor based in the northwest of England. She graduated in 2011 and was an NIHR academic trainee for 5 years.

She was elected onto the medical students executive committee in 2010, the junior doctors and the junior doctors conference agenda committees in 2011. She went on to deputise the junior doctors conference as an F2 in 2012 and chaired the junior doctors conference for a further 2 years (2013-2015).

Since 2015, Latifa has been an elected member of the ARM agenda committee. She was elected as deputy representative body chair in 2019 and has been acting chair since June 2021. At the time of stepping up to acting chair, Latifa was a few months into maternity leave having become a new mum.

Latifa is passionate about representing our frontline medical students and doctors. She is keen to utilise our collective member voice throughout our policy forming process.


Trevor Pickersgill portrait Trevor Pickersgill

Treasurer - Trevor Pickersgill

Trevor Pickersgill is the BMA treasurer, having been acting treasurer since December 2018 and was elected as treasurer by the ARM for the 2019-22 and 2022-25 sessions. The role involves senior leadership as one of the four BMA chief officers and as a director and deputy chair of the board. As a chief officer, he sits on BMA council and all branch of practice committees and devolved nation councils.

He is a consultant neurologist with an interest in multiple sclerosis/neuroinflammatory disease based at the UHW (University Hospital of Wales) in Cardiff. Dr Pickersgill has ongoing research experience principally in MS including monoclonal antibody drug trials, cannabinoid studies, and epidemiological work on MS prevalence/relapse and inflammatory biomarkers. He was a local principal investigator in the open-label, multicentre MRC SANAD2 epilepsy trial and was a sub-investigator for several MS therapy studies. Other clinical interests include headaches and epilepsy.

Dr Pickersgill has been a council member, treasurer, and trustee of his specialist society the Association of British Neurologists. In the BMA he previously chaired the BMA Welsh and UK junior doctors committee, the Welsh consultants committee and Hospital Medical Staffs Defence Trust and was also co-chair of the BMA organisation committee.

He is active locally as well as nationally and has been a member of Cardiff and Vale LNC for over 20 years and has chaired the UHW senior medical staff committee. He was a board member of the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board between 2003-2010, which set standards and curricula for postgraduate medical training throughout the UK, and he continues to do some GMC performance assessment work.

Dr Pickersgill has a daughter Freya (20) and a son Henry (17). He is a glory-hunting supporter of Bradford City FC and has been a runner since 2012 and triathlete since 2018, regularly sea-swimming year-round. He’s a member of Glamorgan CCC and enjoys watching test cricket in particular – but sadly his fast-bowling days in the Cardiff Myocardial CC are over after Achilles and knee injuries.



Emma Runswick Emma Runswick

Deputy chair of council - Emma Runswick

Dr Emma Runswick is a junior doctor working in a community mental health team in Greater Manchester and the Deputy chair of BMA Council – one of the four Chief Officers of the BMA. She is the 5th woman, 2nd junior doctor and 1st “out” LGBTQ person to hold a Chief Officer post. Emma is early in her medical career and developing interests in D/deaf mental health, assisted by learning British Sign Language.

Active in the BMA throughout medical school, Emma has chaired Medical Students’ Conference, focussing on organising training, increased transparency and democratic functioning. She served on Organisation Committee, the BMA rules and function group. Emma is the former chair of the North West Regional Junior Doctors’ Committee and has been an elected member of the BMA’s UK Council since 2018. She has been active in both the contract and pay campaigns. Emma was elected to be deputy chair by members of BMA Council, which is the Association’s principal executive committee, in 2022.

Emma is focussed on creating a new industrial strategy for the association: building a BMA through which members can solve problems at work or university through collective bargaining and collective action. This strategy is underpinned by increasing membership density – the proportion of us who are members acting together. She is committed to improving the BMA’s culture for staff and members, making the association easier to navigate and creating a more equitable and inclusive organisation.



Professor Sir Ian Gilmore

President - Professor Sir Ian Gilmore

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore is an honorary consultant physician at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and holds an honorary chair at the University of Liverpool.

After training in Cambridge, London and the USA, he moved to Liverpool as a consultant in 1980. He is past-president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the British Society of Gastroenterology, and chaired Liverpool Health Partners, created to promote an Academic Health Science System in Liverpool, for six years. He was Director of the Liverpool Centre for Alcohol Research and currently holds an Adjunct Professorship in the Australian National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University, Perth WA.

He currently chairs the UK Alcohol Health Alliance and the Department of Health Prescribed Specialised Services Advisory Group, and is a Trustee of the Foundation for Liver Research. He is President of the Medical Council on Alcohol. He is a recent member of the Climate and Health Council and of the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling. He is a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside.



Leadership team

Rachel Podolak and Neeta Major

Co-chief executive officers - Neeta Major and Rachel Podolak

Neeta and Rachel were appointed as CO-CEOs in May 2022, they work as a hybrid job share bringing complimentary skills and experience to lead the Association. They hold the CEO role alongside existing senior leadership roles as group chief financial officer and national director for Wales.

Neeta Major has been group chief financial officer since February 2021, responsible for implementing corporate and financial strategy across the group in collaboration with peers. Neeta is a graduate of LSE, fellow of the ICAEW and has over 30 years’ experience in finance and boards from a range of sectors, including local authorities, financial services, academia and one of the ‘big four’ accountancy firms.

Rachel Podolak has been national director for Wales for the last six years, setting the strategic direction of BMA Cymru Wales and contributing via the Senior Leadership Team to delivering the UK BMA strategy. Having started her career as a graduate trainee at the BMA, she has worked in health policy for both the BMA and GMC for over 15 years at a UK and Wales level, influencing national governments, securing legislative change, negotiating doctors’ pay and terms and conditions of service.


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.


Director of member relations - Matt Waddup

Matt joined the BMA in April 2021.  He has represented trade union members for more than thirty years, starting with the RMT transport union before moving into the education sector with AUT and UCU. In UCU, he led a range of multi-discipline teams involved in campaigns, membership, recruitment, press, policy development, negotiation, industrial action planning, and activist development.


Nicky Jayesinghe portrait Nicky Jayesinghe

Chief People Officer - Nicky Jayesinghe

Nicky is accountable for our People and Corporate Development Directorate. She leads our human resources team as well as BMA-wide activities that focus on the reputation and culture of the association. In her current role she is accountable for a number of remits. These include corporate equality, diversity and inclusion, BMA member development (BMA Library and archive, Learning & Development, all BMA service and products related complaints handling, BMA Code of conduct, corporate social environmental responsibility remits which include BMA charitable activity, sustainability and health, and all BMA wellbeing support services including our 24 hour counselling service for doctors and medical students. Nicky is Chief executive of the Foundation for Medical Research.

Nicky is a senior leader with several years’ experience within healthcare policy development and implementation, organisational transformation and governance. She has received a number of awards including UK Asian Woman of Achievement and recognition for her outstanding contribution to the cause of ethnic minority doctors.

Portrait of Greg Beales Greg Beales

Director of communications and policy - Greg Beales

Greg is the Director of communications and policy, having joined the BMA in 2020 to lead a newly created directorate that brought together policy and communications teams from across the BMA.

Greg has worked extensively across public and private sectors. He previously served as senior Downing Street advisor for two Prime Ministers and has worked across government, including roles at HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office. He has worked with a wide range of commercial organisations most recently as a senior executive at WPP. He served for 5 years as the Labour Party’s director of policy and strategy and prior to joining the BMA was director at the homelessness charity Shelter.


Director of national negotiations and representation - Peter Gordon

Peter is director of national negotiations and representation. He also remains head of national negotiations and representation, where he looks after pay, collective bargaining and contractual matters for all doctors. He is also responsible for branch of practice committees. 

Prior to that, he held a number of roles at the BMA including head of employed doctors and secretary of the consultants committee. Peter is an experienced negotiator who has been involved in a number of national contract negotiations for the BMA. Prior to his career at the BMA, Peter worked for Ford Motor Company.


John Robertson

National Director, Scotland - John Robertson

John is National director for Scotland with responsibility for all aspects of the BMA offer north of the border.

Prior to joining the organisation in October 2023, John was Director of Corporate Affairs at the national skills agency Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and has extensive experience of strategy, corporate planning & reporting, communications, marketing and stakeholder engagement.

A graduate of the University of Aberdeen, he has almost 20 years of experience working across both the public and private sector since starting his career as a political journalist.


BMA chief information officer September 20 Carolyn Brown

Chief information officer - Carolyn Brown

Carolyn is the Chief information officer at the BMA. She is accountable for the development and delivery of the technology strategy and capabilities which support the BMA Group in the fulfilment of its mission.

Carolyn has held senior technology leadership roles in a variety of private and not for profit sectors for 25 years. Most recently she ran a programme of digital change as Chief technology officer for the National Housing Federation. Carolyn holds a degree in German Literature, a post graduate diploma in Digital Marketing, an MBA and a Computer Science Masters.



Gareth Williams Gareth Williams

Director of legal services & director of BMA Law Ltd – Gareth Williams

Gareth joined the BMA in 2007, having previously practiced as a solicitor in a number of law firms, local government and commercial legal roles.

At the BMA, he is responsible for leading a team of lawyers specialising in strategic litigation including judicial reviews and key test cases to advance the interests of the medical profession and advising on the broad range of commercial and regulatory issues affecting the BMA. Gareth also supports the trade union functions of the BMA with specialist advice on trade union legislation, having acted as our principal adviser during the 2016 industrial action.

Also a director of BMA Law Ltd (an independent law firm, owned for the benefit of the BMA), Gareth is responsible for leading a team of lawyers providing medical regulatory advice to general practitioners and local medical committees as well as a range of outsourced legal services meeting the broader needs of our members.


Director of HR - Emily Baker

Having graduated in 2013 with a Masters in Human Resource Management, Emily has been successfully building her skills within the HR profession. Her experience has led her to working within the NHS and Virgin Care transforming children’s services to better meet the needs of the children in Essex. She has lead national programmes of work for HR teams including maximising attendance, talent and succession planning and building career pathways for critical roles. She has also worked within legal and financial services organisations to build her broad experience.  

In recent years she has been focused on improving equality, diversity and inclusion at Essex County Council embedding the role of workforce ambassadors to create a safe environment for colleagues to be able to be themselves at work. 

Emily is proud to share she has mentored HR colleagues who have moved on to become experienced professionals within different industries. She enjoys coaching and developing colleagues as she can see real benefit in this and is looking forward to doing this at the BMA.

Emily is passionate about health and wellbeing of herself and those around her. She often enjoys a weekend cycle along Southend seafront with her family and has completed a few bike events for various charities (London to Southend) with London to Brighton or beyond, in her sights. When she isn’t cycling, she will always make time for a spa treatment.  

In her spare time Emily enjoys travelling and particularly enjoys teaching her daughter how to ski.  


Alex Mills

Director of Finance

Alex is the Finance director for the BMA. He has responsibility for providing leadership, expert advice and guidance on all financial matters across BMA’s operational services including strategic and operational investment proposals as well as being the professional lead for the association’s financial management processes and systems.

Alex took up his role in August 2023. Prior to that he held various leadership roles in the public sector including Chief accountant and Head of financial transformation at the House of Commons and leading on public sector financial management reforms in the Turks and Caicos Islands with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alex is a chartered accountant with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.