Our Team

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Board of Directors

Andrew Walton

Founder and Executive Chair

Born and raised in Newcastle, Andrew founded Connect in 1989 with the aim of providing the highest level of care to people with musculoskeletal problems. He qualified as a Physiotherapist from Northumbria University in 1985 and worked at Edinburgh’s main teaching hospital, The Royal Infirmary, for three years. He then returned to Newcastle to take up a post in Sports Medicine.

Andrew combines his clinical expertise and commercial experience to develop innovative new ways to meet patient needs and commissioners’ budgets. He has driven improvements in MSK through the utilisation of service and outcome data. With others he founded the Musculoskeletal Partners Network (MSK PN), a Trade Association, which is dedicated to evaluating and sharing practice in the pursuit of excellence. His other interests include a longstanding Trustee and Chair role with Tyne and Wear Sport and since 2016 has been a Visiting Professor of Leeds Beckett University.

Jon Lowe

Chief Executive Officer

Jon joined Connect in September 2014 and was appointed Managing Director in July 2015. In May 2019, he became Chief Executive Officer and is focused on leading the business through the next period of growth and development. Jon has held a number of Executive and Non-Executive board positions in the healthcare sector, each with a consistent theme of enabling integrated health and care services. Prior to this, he was Managing Director at Tunstall Healthcare for 9 years having led the business through consistent and significant periods of strong growth.

Jon has a thorough understanding of healthcare reconfiguration, to support the introduction of innovative services and technologies that will reduce the cost of healthcare delivery; whilst improving outcomes and efficiencies.

Lisa Davidson

Chief People Officer

Lisa joined Connect in January 2016 as Human Resource Director and took up the post of Chief People Officer in May 2019. As a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Change Management Practitioner, she brings with her a wealth of experience in organisational design and development, which will ensure that we continue to have a motivated team, with the right skills and behaviours to take us forward.

Lisa has held a number of senior HR positions in the UK, Middle East and India, across a variety of industries including social housing and car and is also a trustee at charity, Dementia Matters. With a clearly defined strategy, Lisa is committed to making Connect a great place to work. Colleague engagement is high on our agenda, as with motivated colleagues, we can ensure clinical effectiveness, operational efficiency and successful patient outcomes.

Dr Graeme Wilkes

Chief Medical Officer

Dr Wilkes joined Connect in 2007 from General Practice and Sports Medicine, initially working as a GP with Special Interest and Clinical Lead. He gained entry to the Specialist Register for Sport & Exercise Medicine in 2011 and is now Connect’s Chief Medical Officer, having previously held the position of Medical Director, working clinically as a Consultant in Sport & Exercise Medicine (SEM).

Dr Wilkes has championed use of evidence-based medicine with Connect to achieve best clinical outcomes for patients. This has included developing Connect’s innovative “10/10 guidelines” and contributing to services leading the field in clinical outcome data production. Dr Wilkes has also developed an in-depth and expert understanding of how community NHS service can function well and meet the needs of patients, the taxpayer and staff.

Dr Wilkes serves as a Council Member for the Faculty of Sport & Exercise Medicine, Senior Sport Physician to the English Institute of Sport and Chief Medical Officer to British Diving.

Mike Turner

Chief Operating Officer

Mike joined Connect as Operations Director in July 2016, taking his current position of Chief Operating Officer in May 2019. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he moved into management consulting and during 18 years with Deloitte and KPMG, worked with a broad range of organisations to improve their operational effectiveness and efficiency.

Immediately prior to Connect, Mike spent 3 years in the NHS establishing and managing a major transformation programme, working across organisational boundaries to design and implement changes that have gone on to deliver £1bn savings whilst improving effectiveness and patient experience. He is also Trustee of Healthworks North East, a social enterprise working to reduce health inequalities.

Mike’s focus is to ensure that Connect understands the needs of our stakeholders, reflecting this in our strategy and the delivery of efficient and effective services, maximising patient outcomes and ensuring value for money for our customers.

Lee Ali

Chief Financial Officer

Lee joined Connect in July 2017 as Finance Director and assumed the position of Chief Financial Officer in May 2019. Lee is responsible for Connect’s Corporate Directorate including; Finance, Corporate Governance, Information Management & Technology and Estates & Facilities.

Lee brings extensive leadership and experience of finance and business, gained globally from a broad range of industries operating in both the service and manufacturing sectors, ranging from multinational public companies, through to private equity owned investments and owner managed business.
Lee is a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) having qualified and trained with Procter & Gamble, and Venator Materials PLC post-graduation.

In the wider community, Lee is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees and Chairs the Finance and Audit Committee at Dementia Matters, a charity providing services for people with dementia and their carers. In addition, Lee is Treasurer of his local Scout Group.

Lucy Armstrong

Non-Executive Director

Lucy is Chief Executive of The Alchemists, working with high growth mid-corporate businesses to accelerate their development and success by focusing on shareholder and management development and succession. Her experience includes funding start up and early stage manufacturing businesses in the North East, and handling mergers and disposals of international operations. Lucy established her early career in private equity, corporate development and headhunting.

Lucy is Chair of the Independent Professional Standards Council, which oversees the asset based finance industry in the UK and also the National Enterprise Research Centre, focused on the study of growth in private and family businesses. She is a former Chair of Northumbria University and was also Chair of the CBI’s National Small Business Forum from 2010 to 2013.

She has been working with Connect since 2010 as a Non-Executive Director; helping to see turnover and staff numbers triple during that time, whilst also achieving nationwide customer coverage.

Liz Butler

Non-Executive Director

Elizabeth (“Liz”) joined Connect in July 2019 and is a very experienced Chair and Non-Executive Director. Having worked for Price Waterhouse as an Audit Manager, she launched an accountancy practice, specialising in business start-ups.

She has a developed a portfolio of non-executive roles, currently acting as Board Member of The Regulator Social Housing, Chair of the Audit and Risk Committees of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and The Royal British Legion, and Member of the Audit and Risk Committees of the General Medical Council and The Bar Standards Board.

Previously she has been Chair of 3 NHS Trusts; Board Member of Hyde Housing Association, and Chair of their Audit Committee; Chair of the Audit Committees of the Royal College of Nursing and the Electoral Commission and a member of the audit committee of the Local Government Boundary Commission. She also acts as Treasurer for a number of local charities.

Mike Parsons

Non-Executive Director

Mike joined Connect Health as a Non-Executive Director in December 2014. He is the Founder of Barchester Healthcare and remains as a Non-Executive Director of Grove, the Barchester holding company. He is Chair of Oomph Wellness, Purozo, and Albion Care Communities Fund. He is also a Non-Executive Director of McCarthy and Stone, the Footsie 250 retirement house builder.

As Founder of Barchester Healthcare, the residential care sector’s only premium brand of true scale, Mike Parsons continues to play a hugely influential role in the UK health sector.

Mike formed Barchester Healthcare in 1992 after a career in advertising, transforming it from a single Care Home operator to a billion-pound organisation with 200 homes throughout the UK. He retired as CEO in the summer of 2013 and took up various non-executive roles.

Clinical expertise

Dr Marwan Al-Dawoud

Director of Clinical Delivery

Dr Marwan Al-Dawoud joined Connect Health in 2016 as a Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician working as a clinician in the Yorkshire region. He is now the Director of Clinical Delivery and is responsible for the clinical side of the business.

He qualified from the University of Manchester Medical School and has subsequently trained in General Practice as well as taking higher-level studies in Sport and Exercise Medicine. He has worked in elite sport since 2007 in the Rugby League Super League, Premiership Rugby Union, Premiership Football, UK Athletics and Ballet.

Marwan brings extensive clinical experience from a diverse range of environments coupled with medical leadership and innovation.

Steve Nawoor

Deputy Director of Clinical Delivery

Steve Nawoor, is Deputy Director of Clinical Delivery as well as a practicing Consultant Physiotherapist for Connect Health, leading on musculoskeletal services both regionally and nationally, alongside the development of training and education, research and contribution to national policy. He took a relatively unorthodox route into Physiotherapy, from mines and demolitions in the Army, to a Physical Training Instructor in the Prison Service before entering the world of physiotherapy.

Dr Krisztina SzaboKocsis

Consultant Rheumatologist

Dr Szabo-Kocsis has worked as a Consultant Rheumatologist since 2008 and has experience in inflammatory rheumatologic diseases and non-inflammatory rheumatologic conditions.

She graduated in 2000 and completed her specialty training in 2008 in Hungary. In the UK, she has worked in the Royal Free and the Haywood Hospitals and most recently for the Isle of Wight NHS Trust. She joined Connect Health in November 2018 as a Consultant Rheumatologist and National Lead for the Rheumatology Services.

Krisztina has an Msc in Health Economy as well as having significant experience in leadership and management of private and state health services.

She provides professional support for our Kent Rheumatology Service and runs clinics in the South West Essex Service.

Krisztina is a keen improver and facilitates staff training, as well as service development, to improve our services. As an experienced NHS clinician, she provides a professional link to the local NHS Trusts to improve collaboration in favour of our patients.

As a clinician, she is a caring person who always focuses on the benefit of her patients. She is keen to make them understand their conditions and treatments and involves them in her clinical decision making. She participates in patient education sessions and is always there to answer any questions.

Andrew Cuff

Consultant Physiotherapist, Clinical Lead North

Andrew joined Connect Health in April 2017 as the Clinical Lead for both the Wakefield and the North Kirklees Musculoskeletal (MSK) Services, having previously worked in the NHS as an Advanced Physiotherapy Practitioner. Andrew is now our Consultant Physiotherapist for the North alongside his Clinical Lead role for our Yorkshire services, as well as having previously held the national position as Upper Limb Subject Matter Expert for Connect.

Andrew’s clinical interest is in complex presentations that haven’t responded to previous treatment, particularly for those presentations affective in the upper limb. In 2017, he was invited to sit on the Education Committee for the European Society of Shoulder & Elbow Rehabilitation (EUSSER). In 2018, he was honoured to be an invited speaker at the scientific meetings for the British Elbow and Shoulder Society (BESS), EUSSER and the British Association of Hand Therapy (BAHT).

Whilst a committed clinician, Andrew is also an active researcher and has published widely on MSK disorders. In 2018, he was awarded a research studentship and is currently studying for a PhD within the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences at Keele University, where his supervision team includes Dr Chris Littlewood and Professor Nadine Foster. The focus of Andrew’s PhD research is the use of diagnostic imaging for common musculoskeletal conditions in primary care: rationale and decision making.

Matthew Wyatt

Consultant Physiotherapist, Clinical Lead South

Matthew Wyatt has been a Consultant Physiotherapist with Connect Health since September 2016. He is based in London and prior to joining Connect worked for 10+ years in NHS London Teaching Hospitals in various clinical and leadership roles.

Matthew has a special interests in Exercise Prescription, Public Health and Patient Experience.

He has held several roles within The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP):

  • London Representative on National Council – 2009-2017
  • Chair of the Practice and Development Committee – 2015-2017
  • Chair of the Research and Development Committee 2013-2017
  • Vice-Chair of the English Regional Networks  Forum 2015-2017
  • Honorary President Student Executive Committee 2011-2013

Mostly recently he was the Clinical Excellence working group lead and chapter author for the “Manifesto for Reform” produced by the UK Musculoskeletal Think Tank, MSK Reform. “Manifesto for Reform” was launched at the UK Houses of Parliament 16/10/19.

Patient Experience

Caroline Clifford

Head of Patient Experience

Caroline joined Connect Health in September 2019 as Head of Patient Experience after spending over 20 years working in Financial Services, working in large complex contact centre operations. In that time she has held many roles; starting her career in Insurance before moving into Banking.

Caroline’s passion has always been to deliver the best experience to customers, patients & colleagues, ensuring colleagues are set up for success so they can give the best service to patients and that processes are designed to do that. Colleague experience is also high on Caroline’s agenda, ensuring internal talent is nurtured to help colleagues be the best they can be to achieve their career aspirations, whilst also creating opportunities for colleagues to make a positive contribution in the local community.

Mini Mangat

Head of Patient Engagement

Mini is a Patient Engagement specialist with over a decade of successful experience in NHS and commercial health sectors. She has a passion for addressing health inequalities; understanding the importance of patients being involved in their own care, self-care and wellness. Mini is a strong believer of better health, care and long-term outcomes through delivering services with value added. She has considerable experience in consultation within the MSK field and has a track record of delivering high standards in patient engagement.

Mini focuses on activities addressing general themes of the patient community, establishing and developing relationships with local and national patient groups and external agencies; giving patients a voice.

Mini’s personal values of integrity, courage, passion and diversity are very much aligned to the values of Connect Health. Mini has recently joined the organisation and is already impressed with the efforts that are made to embed Connect’s values and create a great culture.

Medical Advisory Group

Ann Green

Medical Advisory Group

Ann is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, awarded for her contribution to education, research and policy. She established her career in the NHS and private practice, before moving into physiotherapy higher education. Her current role as Head of Life Sciences at Coventry University oversees the academic disciplines of biosciences, sports science and sports therapy.

Ann has been active within professional accreditation, working for the UK health regulator in programme approval and international registration. She has also held several national roles including Chair of Council (CSP) and Chair of the Allied Health Professions Federation.

Ann’s research spans 25 years, speaking internationally on advancing physiotherapy practice, digital health, social media and professional networking. Ann is co-founder of the Big Physio Survey and an advocate of The Big R’s, continuing to challenge the future direction of the physiotherapy and AHP professions; actively supporting the development of the physiotherapy workforce.

Ollie Hart

Medical Advisory Group

Ollie has been a GP Partner in Sheffield for 13 years. He joined the Medical Advisory Group because he has seen first hand how innovative Connect Health has been in testing new ideas and approaches in delivering high quality patient centred care.

He has roles with NHS Sheffield as a Commissioning Lead in the areas of Person Centred Care and Move More. He was the lead for the musculoskeletal redesign work for 7 years, nurturing a new outcome led approach.

He also has experience of developing education and support for healthcare professionals and health systems, as a Director of Peak Health Coaching.

Ollie has always enjoyed straddling the cut edge that lies between implementation (doing) and leadership (designing). He is sure that his role in the MAG will allow him to bring this to Connect Health, whilst enjoying learning from all those in the company and the other MAG members.

Nadeem Moghal

Medical Advisory Group

Nadeem brings over thirty years of diverse academic and practical NHS experience, largely in senior leadership roles. After leading the North East & Cumbria Regional Specialist Service as a Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist, he completed his MBA and set out to lead change in some of the most challenging NHS environments. He has explored international health systems; spending time developing his leadership and quality improvement skills at the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, and the Harvard Kennedy School, in Boston. Nadeem was headhunted into several NHS organisations to transform services, most recently as Medical Director for a large NHS Trust in North East London.

Nadeem is a Visiting Senior Clinical Fellow at The Nuffield Trust and Clinical Director for Innovative Professional Learning at The Royal College of Pathologists. He is also the CEO of a London based private health care provider and feels refreshed by the want to innovate and transform within the private sector.