Who We Are

Meet the BLMK Primary Care Training Hub Team.

The Operational Team

The Operational Team oversee the day-to-day management of the Primary Care Training Hub, it’s projects and initiatives.

Training Hub Clinical Chair 

We are currently recruiting to this role

Susi Clarke – Associate Director People Transformation – Fuller

Contact Susi at: susi.clarke@nhs.net

Susi has worked in the NHS for 21 years, with extensive experience of strategy & transformation, healthcare leadership, quality improvement, primary care education, development and commissioning, she has been leading the Primary Care Workforce Programme for BLMK ICS for the past four years.  Her focus is on transforming the way we attract, recruit, retain, and develop our Primary Care workforce through new and innovative initiatives.  She is passionate about building an open and supportive culture and ensuring that every individual, regardless of profession, is empowered and has the opportunity and support to develop and grow.  Susi is delighted and proud to be part of such a strong, passionate and diverse multi-professional team.

Helen Worthington-Smith – Workforce Transformation Project Manager

Contact Helen at: h.worthington-smith@nhs.net

Helen started her career working as a physiotherapist, first in the acute setting and then in the community in Bedford and Milton Keynes. She then completed the PRINCE 2 project management course and took up a non-clinical role in an ICS Training Hub. Here she gained experience in workforce and primary care education through her involvement in the Training Hub projects where she was able to bring her own experience of working as a healthcare professional within the NHS.

Helen has now joined the BLMK Training Hub and is particularly passionate about strengthening MDT working and supporting the primary care workforce through her involvement in the New to Practice, GP Mentorship Development and Student Nursing Associate Programme.

Hannah Baker – Workforce Transformation Project Manager

Contact Hannah at: hannah.baker11@nhs.net

Hannah is one of our Workforce Project Managers and has 12 years’ experience in the NHS including HR, Strategy, Training and Primary Care Development. Hannah is currently the Project Lead for the Quality Programme focusing on Educator and Learning Environment approval and quality monitoring processes, Placement Capacity Expansion in Primary Care and Supervision as well as leading on the International GP Recruitment Programme including support to International Medical Graduates. Hannah also works closely with the Clinical Leads on Advanced Clinical Practice and AHP development including the Roadmaps to Practice and Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).

Lydia Jacks – Health and Wellbeing Project Manager 

Contact Lydia at: Lydia.jacks1@nhs.net

Originally from Manchester, Lydia began her NHS career on the NHS Graduate Scheme – Human Resource stream. She has previously worked in a mental health and community trust covering roles in recruitment, as a HR advisor and employee engagement and wellbeing.

Lydia is one of our project advisors focused primarily on health and wellbeing. She is passionate about championing the health and wellbeing of Primary Care staff throughout BLMK and is proud to support the Training Hub’s clinical leads to achieve this goal. Lydia also supports Rajiv Nandha, our clinical pharmacy lead, in delivering the student pharmacy summer placement scheme.

Nora Donohoe – Workforce Development Academy (Quality)

Contact Nora at: nora.donohoe@nhs.net

Nora has been with the NHS for over 6 years in roles covering project management, staff health & wellbeing, events management and fund raising.  She is part of a multi-disciplinary team that forms part of the BLMK ICS Primary Care Training Hub, supporting the delivery of a wide range of projects and workforce development initiatives included in its portfolio.

Beth Thompson – Knowledge Specialist

Contact Beth at: beth.thompson16@nhs.net

Beth joined the training hub in 2022, having previously worked as librarian in higher education. Her role is part of an HEE pilot scheme to embed librarians and knowledge specialists within primary care to support an evidence-based approach to patient care and service development. She supports all primary care staff across BLMK with evidence searches, knowledge skills training and support, and can advise on organising and disseminating best practice information.

Marie Lehane – Head of Primary Care Workforce Programme

Contact Marie at: Marie.lehane2@nhs.net

With over 18 years’ experience in the NHS, Marie specialises in project, programme, and change management.  Having most recently spent over 5 years working at a regional level in workforce transformation, Marie joined the ICB in November 2023 to lead the primary care workforce programme where she is focused on innovatively supporting a range of initiatives spanning recruitment and retention, culture and OD, implementation of new roles, and training and development opportunities for our Primary Care workforce.

Passionate about continuous improvement and fostering an inclusive culture, Marie is committed to exploring new ways of working that empower and engage the workforce. Devoted to both professional and personal development, Marie advocates for equity of access to learning opportunities. She believes in empowering the workforce through education, mentorship, and support, championing initiatives that enable individuals to reach their full potential and contribute meaningfully to the delivery of primary care services.  As a tireless advocate for change and progress within the NHS, Marie remains dedicated to driving positive impact and creating a brighter future for our workforce, guided by principles of fairness, inclusivity, and compassion.

Justine Platt – Primary Care Workforce Project Support

Contact Justine at: justine.platt@nhs.net

Justine has been with the NHS for over 6 years and has previously worked in a community trust and Herts and West Essex ICB before joining the BLMK Training Hub in 2022.  She has a background in marketing and training having previously worked in both the private and charity sectors.

Justine supports the delivery of a number of projects including the Quality Programme focusing on Educator and Learning Environment approval and quality monitoring processes, Placement Capacity Expansion in Primary Care and Supervision as well as specialist commissioned CPD training with higher education institutes.

Nahim Wahid – Workforce Transformation Project Assistant

Contact Nahim at: nahim.wahid@nhs.net

Nahim has been with the NHS for three years, initially working as a COVID-19 Vaccinator before transitioning into project management. Currently, he holds the position of Workforce Transformation Project Assistant, where he contributes to numerous Training Hub projects, particularly focusing on CPD and Marketing initiatives. Pursuing his Project Management qualifications, Nahim aspires to enhance his skills in his current role, laying the groundwork for a future as a project manager.

Jay Willett – Training and Development Project Manager

Contact Jay at: jay.willett@nhs.net

Jay joined the team in October 2022 bringing with him 2 years of Primary Care experience after working for a super practice. Jay has in-depth knowledge of Primary Care Networks, ARRS roles and Training & Development. He also supported St John Ambulance with the Covid-19 vaccine role out and acted as an NHS Lead.

Jay has recently found a passion for Project Management and has just completed a Project Management in Healthcare course, Action Learning set training and is hoping to complete his team coaching qualification. Jay leads on Primary Care Training and Development delivering the CPD, HCA and Admin & Non-Clinical training Programmes. He also Supports with the clinical leads project and all things apprenticeships.

Yuliya Baker – Workforce Project Manager

Contact Yuliya at: y.baker4@nhs.net

Yuliya’s professional journey begun as a clinician, offering her a solid understanding of patient care and clinical practices. Transitioning from the healthcare sector, she delved into the realm of business, focusing on leadership and management development, while working alongside senior executives. Subsequently, she merged her expertise in both business and healthcare to assume a senior management position in General Practice.

In Yuliya’s current role, she supports the Training Hub with work on placement capacity expansion in Primary Care, the Primary Care Network Training Team Pilot, and the Quality Programme (approval and quality monitoring processes of Educators and Learning Organisations).

Ellen Keegan – Workforce Transformation Project Support Officer

Contact Ellen at: ellen.keegan@nhs.net

Ellen joined the Training Hub team in early 2023 on secondment from the ICB Primary Care Team. Ellen supports with the CPD and the New to practice fellowship programme. Ellen also supports the Training Hub in organising events and working closely with Helen on a number of other key projects.

Joanna Finney – ICS and Primary Care Advanced Practice Lead

Contact Joanna at: joanna.finney2@nhs.net

Jo is the ICS and dedicated Primary Care Advanced Practice Lead. I spent 11 Years in NHS Frontline services as an Operating Department Practitioner and Advanced Clinical Practitioner in Emergency Medicine before moving into a more formal management role, both as a team leader and then the ACP project lead/interim AP trust lead for 15 months in a large NHS organisation before moving to the systems strategic role. My current role in the system is to bring standardisation to advanced practice to ensure robust governance and assurance of practitioners is in place within organisations to promote patient safety and CQC standards, to align the workforce to the new national programmes and recognition processes and support employers with issues and queries, as well as bring standardisation to training and education pathways. Part of my role is to look at how advanced practice can be developed across the system in supporting new roles to meet the direction of the ICS, as well as deliver on national issues such as Fuller neighbourhoods, to help increase capacity, at the point of need – working in conjunction with the Primary Care Training Hub, acute, community and mental health and wider system partners.


The Clinical Workforce Leads

The Clinical Workforce Leads provide their expertise and insights to develop innovative new projects and propose new ways of working.

Janet Thornley – RN MSc. GPN Strategic Lead

Contact Janet at: janet.thornley@nhs.net

Janet has worked in general practice since 1995, firstly as a GPN and now ACP.  She is the GPN Strategic Lead for BLMK ICS where her focus is on recruitment and retention of nurses, raising the profile of practice nurses and encouraging leadership roles. Janet works closely with GPNs and supports professional development opportunities through education and leadership.  Janet leads the development and introduction of New to Practice Programme for GPNs and retention and development programmes for more experienced GPNs. Together with Training Hub colleagues and in collaboration with NHS E/I and NAPC Janet was co-designer of the national GPN CARE programme which delivers a population health management approach to primary care projects, combining QI and self-awareness tools to build a resilient workforce for the future. As part of her MSC, Janet gained a PGCMDE and was a former associate lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University, teaching practice nurse skills and remains involved in education being responsible for Pre- registration nurses and hospital Drs on rotation in her practice.  An active member of her PCN steering committee, Janet is passionate about collaborative working and thinking creatively about patient led care.

Dr Shankari Maha – GP Early Careers Strategic Lead & Deputy Chair

Contact Shankari at: shankari.mahathmakanthi@nhs.net

Since qualifying as a GP in 2019 Shankari has become the GP Early Careers Strategic Lead and the Deputy Chair of our Primary Care Training Hub. She’s also a Board Member of the BLMK CCG Governing Body and a professional coach currently doing a Diploma in Coaching and Mentoring. She has completed the Primary Care Innovation Academy Programme at Cambridge University and has held several significant roles within BLMK over the last three years.

She brings an understanding of the pressures and uncertainties that come with embarking on the journey of working as an independent GP and the system as a whole to her role where she supports any doctor across BLMK in the First 5 years of their career as a GP. By engaging with various offers available to all First5 GPs across BLMK, such as coaching, mentoring and teaching sessions she feels empowered. She hopes to inform others of what they have access to and that with local peer support we will all embrace our career with more enthusiasm.

Shankari has a portfolio career, loves all her jobs and truly believes variety is key in keeping people motivated in their line of work. If you are a GPST3 or have qualified as a GP in the last five years please get in touch by e-mailing ccs.gpfirst5.blmk@nhs.net as we would love to just touch base with you and see if there are any opportunities we can support you with.

Dr Raj Yuvaraj – GP Mid – Late Career Strategic Lead

Contact Raj at: v.yuvaraj@nhs.net

Raj has been a qualified GP for the last 15 years.  A GP Partner in Milton Keynes he has a varied experience of working all over the UK in various roles including the with the CCG.  As a local LMC representative Raj has an intricate understanding of workforce pressures and stresses in primary care.

Raj trains medical students and GP registrars in the practice and has a special interest in medical technology and innovation.  He has a strong belief that technology and innovation will help create a healthy and positive work force to be more resilient and deal with pressures and improve patient experience.

Raj works collaboratively with all members of the BLMK Training Hub, PCNs, HEE and NHS E/I demonstrating a ‘one team’ approach and ensuring that the values of transformation, inclusivity, transparency, and equity are central.

Dr Sadaf Javed- Quality & Differential Attainment Clinical Lead & Educator Expansion Lead

Contact Sadaf at: sadafjaved@nhs.net

Sadaf is GP in Bedford and has been working in partnership for ten years. As a GP Trainer she is involved in the training of different clinical and non-clinical members of the practice team.  With an interest in mental health until recently Sadaf worked in the local Memory Assessment Service as a GPwER in Dementia.

Sadaf also has an interest in Prescriptions Management and holds the position of the Prescribing Lead for Bedford Locality.  Additionally, she is the Vice-Chair of Bedford on Call (BEDOC); a non- profit social enterprise, providing several primary care services across Bedfordshire.

Sadaf has always been fascinated with the Business, Management and Leadership aspect of General Practice and holds a Diploma in Advanced Primary Care Management; a one-year postgraduate programme which is run by the National Association of Primary Care.

Sadaf is passionate about GP wellbeing, as well as their professional development, BLMK has a lot to offer to the Healthcare professionals and I look forward to working with the Workforce team to help local clinicians work, learn and live their full potential.

Kirsty Shanley – Quality & Differential Attainment Lead (Non-medical)

Contact Kirsty at: kshanley@nhs.net

Kirsty has worked in General Practice since 2002. Starting as a Phlebotomist she gained qualifications whilst working to become a HCA, Phlebotomy Trainer, HCA NVQ Assessor, Assistant Practitioner then GPN. She is now the Lead GPN for Bedford Borough and the Quality and Differential Attainment Lead (non-medical) for BLMK ICS. Her focus is supporting GPNS, SNAs, HCAs and other roles coming into General Practice under the ARRSs funding. Her passion is for helping students achieve their goals, embedding them well into primary care, increasing student placements within Primary Care and retention of the workforce.

As an active GPN Kirsty is also an Education Lead for her PCN and as such has an up-to-date awareness of the operational experiences of General Practice.

Mehreen Shafiq – Physician Associate Lead

Contact Mehreen at: mehreen.shafiq@nhs.net

Mehreen is a Physician Associate currently working in primary care within Luton and Physician Associate lead for the Training Hub.  Mehreen is focused on increasing awareness of the Physician Associate role, supporting practices and PCNs with their recruitment, induction and retention and expanding the PA workforce in Primary Care through preceptorships, student placements and mentoring.

Rajiv Nandha – Pharmacist Lead

Contact Rajiv at: rajiv.nandha@nhs.net

Rajiv works as a senior clinical pharmacist in general practice, with one day a week in the Pharmacist lead role. I have been working as a pharmacist for over 5 years and moved into being a primary care pharmacist almost 3 years ago. My role is to use the successful experience and understanding I have of the role and support practices with recruitment, integration and development of clinical practice pharmacist. We have been working on various projects to achieve a strong work force of pharmacists in BLMK using innovative and practical ways to support the workforce in primary care.

Tom McNally – Paramedic Lead

Contact Tom at: tom.mcnally1@nhs.net

Tom is our Paramedic lead and has been a paramedic for over 20 years, working in General Practice for the past 7.  Tom has a keen interest in supporting paramedics either new to General Practice and Primary Care, as well as those already in position.

Tom also has a special interest in education having been a senior lecturer at The University of Northampton for several years, focusing on patient examination and assessment.

Tom focusses his role as Paramedic Lead on formulating and leading projects that support and offer advice to paramedics working in Primary Care.

Matt Cooper – Primary Care Physiotherapist Lead

Contact Matt at: matthew.cooper8@nhs.net

Matt is our Physiotherapist lead and an Advanced MSK Practitioner working in a GP Practice within BLMK.  Matt’s role with the training hub is to contribute to clinical workforce development, specifically around physiotherapy in primary care and act as a point of contact whilst being a ‘champion’ for physiotherapy offering support and guidance to the BLMK primary care physiotherapy workforce.

Karen Duggen – Personalised Care Lead

Contact Karen at: karen.duggan8@nhs.net

Karen is our Personalised Care Lead. Karen supports the health and wellbeing Coaches, Social prescribers and Care Coordinators across Primary Care in BLMK.

The Operational Team, Clinical Workforce Leads, Primary care team and the Wider Workforce Group work together as one team.