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Committees & Staff


Click on one of the headings below to explore that committee.

About the Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of BAHT is a group of members elected at the AGM to lead the organisation. The Executive's responsibility is to promote the objectives and manage the resources of the BAHT.

The individuals become Directors of the organisation according to the requirements of Charity Law.

The titles of the committee members reflect their specific responsibilities to lead in their area plus reporting to the whole committee at each alternate-monthly meeting. BAHT has been very fortunate to have had many forward thinking and hardworking committees over the years.

The Current Executive Committee

Hayley Smith (Chair)

Occupational Therapist – East Kent

Hayley is an occupational therapist, who has spent most of her time since graduating within hand therapy settings. She works both within the NHS and privately, currently full time at East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust.

Hayley joined the BAHT executive committee in September 2015 and is keen to work within the Executive Committee to promote hand therapy across the country.



Christy Fowler (BAHT Secretary)

Occupational Therapist – London

Christy started her career as a Hand Therapist in Australia before relocating to the United Kingdom in 2010. Christy is a clinical specialist hand therapist working within the private sector at the London Hand and Wrist Unit. She has worked at the London Hand and Wrist Unit for the past 4 years and has a strong interest in Congenital Paediatric Hand Conditions and the rehabilitation of sportsmen with hand injuries. Christy is currently completing her Masters in Advancing Clinical Practice at the University of Ulster.


Nicola Hern (Director of Advertising)

Occupational Therapist – Leeds

Nicola qualified as an occupational therapist in 2007 from York St. John University. She specalised in hands in 2009, working at the Leeds General Infirmary until 2016. There she treated a wide range of complex hand trauma and developed a particular interest in flexor tendon injuries and the use of casting for the stiff hand. She has recently taken up a new hand therapist role in a newly emerging team at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS trust and hopes to be able to share her skills in order to promote hand therapy and develop the team in this area.

Nicola was co-opted onto the committee in 2016 and wants to use her role to promote hand therapy regionally and nationally in order to improve understanding and awareness.

Contact: Email not available without JavaScript

Leanna Topcuoglu (Director of Journal)

BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapist.Leanne gained her degree from Canterbury Christ Church University College in 2001. She has worked within the NHS for 14 years, with over 12 years experience in treating hand conditions. Leanne currently works for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals alongside a team of orthopaedic and plastics hand surgeons as a clinical lead hand therapist. Leanne is skilled in complex hand assessment and condition management with a special interest in complex polytrauma and CRPS

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Lucy Nash (Vice Treasurer)

Lucy joined the executive committee as a co-opted member in January 2019.  She qualified in 2014 and has been working at Manchester University Foundation Trust's Wythenshawe Hospital in the Burns, Plastics and Hand Therapy department since 2017.  Lucy was keen to join the executive committee because she is passionate about hand therapy and wishes to raise the profile and understanding of hand therapy both regionally and nationally.

As well as striving to become an Accredited Hand Therapist, Lucy enjoys eating and drinking with friends and family and exploring the outdoors.

Sam Fenning (co-opted Director of e-bulletins)

Sam joined the executive committee as a co-opted member in January 2019.  She qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2007 from the University of Birmingham and has been working at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust in the Plastic Surgery and Hand Unit since 2016 as a Specialist Physiotherapist. She has previously worked at other major trauma and specialist centres around the UK, including; The Royal London, Chelsea and Westminster and Newcastle-upon-Tyne NHS Trusts within the area of Hands, Burns and Plastic Surgery since 2011. Sam is keen to promote the work hand therapists do and is involved in sending out a monthly e-bulletin to all BAHT members.



Linda Cornish (co-opted Director of Bursaries)

My name is Linda Cornish, I have been a Clinical Specialist in Hands since 2002 working at the University Hospital of Southampton, my current post is at Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Dorset.  I have been a member of BAHT for over 15 years. I am keen to join the Baht Executive committee,becoming a Co-opted member inJanuary 2019. This has given me a good insight into what is required on this committee. I have enjoyed investigating venues for the BAHT 2020 Autumn conference in the South. I enjoy helping to run courses and conferences; indeed helped run the Southampton Hand Course for Therapists and Surgeons since 2005.  This received a Wessex Deanery Award for Education in 2012.
I am keen to further pursue the good links we have with the BSSH as our relationship with our Hand Surgery colleagues is so important. I am also keen to promote the career of a Hand Therapist and enjoy training junior members of staff and students. 


Miriam Parkinson (co-opted Director of Membership)

I have been a member of BAHT since 2001 and have benefitted tremendously from my membership over these years through our journal and the attendance of conferences, courses, northwest regional meetings, successful bursary application and via networking. I have always appreciated being part of a society that works hard to support and develop it's members to a high standard. It seems natural now to give something back by volunteering as director of membership on the BAHT EC committee. Indeed, I would consider it an honour.





About the Education Sub-Committee

The BAHT Education Sub Committee is run by qualified occupational therapists and physiotherapists who all have a special interest in hand therapy education and in promoting the BAHT education system and Accredited Hand Therapist award. They give their time voluntarily and each member takes responsibility for a different aspect of the committees' role.

Any information you may wish to submit to the committee should be received by the administrative secretary no less than 2 weeks prior to the meeting date.

The Current Education Sub-Committee

Nikki Burr (Chair/APL Coordinator)

Nikki has 22 years’ experience in Hand Therapy clinical practice at Royal Free London and Mount Vernon Hospital London. She gained her Accredited Hand Therapist (BAHT) award in 2002 and MSc in Advancing Practice in 2005. She has undertaken research projects over the years with different colleagues and is still very interested in research. In 2015 she has become an independent prescriber to enhance her clinical practice. She is now a Consultant Hand Therapist helping run a large hand trauma service in North London

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Debbie Miles (BAHT exam co-ordinator)

Debbie is a Physiotherapist and Accredited Hand Therapist who has been on the education committee since 2012.  She started her hand therapy career at St George’s Hospital in London in 2008, before moving to a role setting up a new hand therapy service at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust in 2015.  Debbie was involved in organising and running a BAHT level I course whilst at St George’s and has since developed level II courses in acupuncture, paediatric hand therapy and splinting independently.  Having always had a keen interest in education, Debbie moved into a full-time academic role at the University of Essex in 2018 whilst continuing some clinical hand therapy work alongside this for Ramsay Healthcare.


Chloë Kirk (Pilbeam)  Level I Co-ordinator

Chloë has over 10 years’ clinical experience in Hand Therapy and presently works at the Pulvertaft Hand Centre and Rheumatology Department at Derby. She gained her Accredited Hand Therapist (BAHT) award in 2018 and joined education committee. Chloë also has a role as a clinical educator teaching undergraduate medical students in rheumatology and musculoskeletal assessment/ treatment. She achieved her MSc in Advanced Physiotherapy in 2017. Her clinical interests include hypermobility, wrist and extensor tendon rehabilitation. Chloë is passionate about teaching, learning and education and how it improves the quality of patient care.


Karen Belward (Level 2 Co-ordinator)

 Karen qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy from Cardiff University in 1994. Since 2000, she has worked     in the plastics and reconstructive surgery fields in Swansea and Exeter prior to moving to her current role in   University Hospital Southampton where she leads the hand therapy team within orthopaedics and major trauma.   She has been an Accredited Hand Therapist since 2018, joining the ESC in 2019. Karen has run BAHT validated   level I courses, taught on BAHT level II courses and spoken at regional hand therapy study days.



Ella Donnison (Level III Co-ordinator)

Ella has been on the committee since 2006 and took on the Level III co-ordinator role in 2007. She is an Occupational Therapist, based at the Pulvertaft Hand Unit in Derby. Areas of interest include hand and upper limb therapy education and training and therapy within amateur and high performance sport.

Contact: Email not available without JavaScript

Penny Stuart (ESC Finance)

Penny is the lead for the Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Hand Service. Penny has worked extensively within the specialist area of Hand Therapy since qualifying in 1997. She has worked throughout the UK, Scotland and abroad. Clinical experience has focused on plastic surgery and orthopaedic hand surgery patients with hand and upper limb injuries, rheumatological conditions, within the specialist areas of performing arts medicine, and the neurological impaired upper limb. More recently one of Penny’s main achievements has been the setting up of one of the first Virtual Hand Fracture Clinics in the UK and is currently working with NHSi in the development of educational exercise videos which will be rolled out nationally.

Penny thoroughly enjoys the field of hand therapy, the complexity and intricate anatomy of the upper limb and the impact that this specialist area of work can have upon people’s lives. Her aim is to maximise the resources we have available, to provide first class hand therapy of all patients with hand and upper limb conditions.

Penny enjoys spending time with her partner and two young children. She likes baking cakes with her children, whilst listening to music, and loves to go for a run, especially when her daughter tags along too! 



Pascalle Smith - Hand Therapist (AHT Co-ordinator)

Pascalle is an accredited hand therapist and has worked as a specialist hand therapist for 19 years, following graduation as an Occupational Therapist from Southampton University. After graduation she worked at the Wessex Rehabilitation Unit at Salisbury Hospital and enjoyed focusing on long term rehabilitation in hand therapy. Where she gained specialist knowledge in assessment of chronic hand conditions and rehabilitation of the upper limb. She has also worked in the NHS at Queen Victoria Hospital East Grinstead gaining specialised experience and skills in hand trauma and plastic reconstruction. Since having family in 2009 Pascalle has worked in independent practise in private clinics in Sussex and Kent and as an Extended Scope Practitioner in a MSK service. She has taken part in clinical research to promote and develop patient care and reviewing treatment effectiveness. Pascalle is enthusiastic about education and has been fortunate to teach overseas.

Pascalle was previously Treasure for the British Association of Hand Therapists and is looking forward to returning to join the BAHT committee. She is keen to promote the specialist profession, encouraging new developments, research and ensuring best clinical treatments are available for patients.


2020 ESC Meeting Dates:
  • 18th March
  • 20th May
  • 14th July
  • 10th September
  • 19th November

How to Join the BAHT Education Sub-Committee

If you are interested in becoming involved with the BAHT Education Sub Committee, please contact us as we are often looking for:

  • New members
  • Supervisors for level III and APL applicants
  • Assessors for level III and APL applicants
  • Course external representatives

Please address any queries to Email not available without JavaScript

Victoria Jansen (Chair)

Physiotherapist – Pulvertaft Hand Centre, Derby

Victoria graduated as a physiotherapist in 1996, and after her rotational post, initially specialised in burns, plastics and trauma working in the Burns units at Roehampton, and East Grinstead as well as abroad in Auckland, New Zealand and Singapore. Victoria has worked in the Pulvertaft Hand Centre, in Derby since 2000, and her caseload includes both acute hand trauma and chronic conditions. Victoria has a dual role as both a senior hand therapist and a researcher.

Victoria’s special interest is in the therapy management of hand OA and wrist pain, with thumb OA being the focus of her current research activity. She has presented her research at national (BAHT) and international conferences (IFSSH and EFSSH), and published her work in peer reviewed journals.

In 2014, she was awarded a HEE/NIHR ICA Programme Masters Studentship and completed a Master’s in Research Methods at the University of Nottingham. Victoria is about to start a further HEE scholarship to prepare a PhD application.

Victoria joined the CEC in 2017, becomming Chair in 2019 and is committed to supporting members to develop the knowledge base for the conditions we treat, and the evidence base for hand therapy practice.

Lisa Newington 

Physiotherapist – London

Lisa graduated in 2006 with an MSc in Physiotherapy and has been working as a hand therapist since 2008. Lisa has worked in both the NHS and private settings and enjoys treating patients with a range of upper limb injuries and acquired conditions.

In 2012 Lisa was awarded an AHP Research Training Fellowship at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London Biomedical Research Centre, where she developed a qualitative study exploring participation in clinical research.

Lisa has continued to combine her interest in clinical practice and research and was awarded a Wessex HEE/NIHR Clinical Academic Internship in 2014 in association with the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit (University of Southampton). This collaboration led to the development of a series of studies to explore return to work after carpal tunnel release, and in 2015 Lisa won an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship to complete this research.

Lisa also continues to work clinically at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London.

Lisa was co-opted to the Clinical Evidence Committee in 2013, holding the position of Chair in 2015-2019, and is committed to supporting and promoting hand therapy research.

Donna Kennedy

Occupational Therapist – London

Donna is an occupational therapist with over 30 years of post-qualification experience. She has trained and worked both in the U.S. and the UK; completing a BSc at Tufts University in 1984 and an MSc at the University of East Anglia in 2009.

She has been a certified hand therapist (CHT) since 1992. She has worked as the director of hand therapy at a large major trauma centre; in private practice and most recently as clinical specialist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Currently, she is undertaking an NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship in pain research at Imperial College London.

She has published her work in peer-reviewed journals and presented internationally. She has diverse research interests including outcome measurement, reliability and prognostic research. She is passionate about promoting excellence in hand therapy, both in clinical care and research.

Suzanne Beale

Occupational Therapist – Birmingham

Suzanne qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1991 and has specialised in Hand Therapy since 1996. Suzanne currently works as a Clinical Specialist Hand Therapist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Hand (QEHB), starting this role in 2001.

Since 2015, Suzanne has also worked as an academic research therapist within the Hand and Peripheral Nerve Service at QEHB. Suzanne’s specialist interest is within the peripheral nerve injury service, specifically the assessment and treatment of nerve and tendon transfers. Other interests include patient education and post-graduate training of therapists within hand therapy.

Suzanne completed a Masters in Hand Therapy at Derby University in 2005. Suzanne joined the BAHT CEC in 2016 and is keen to support the further development of research in the clinical workplace.


How to Join the BAHT Clinical Evidence Committee

The CEC are responsible for managing the annual BAHT Research Grant, plus the abstracts and research content for the annual BAHT conference. We are also a point of contact throughout the year, for research opportunities and queries involving hand therapy or our patients.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the BAHT CEC, please contact us on Email not available without JavaScript. We are looking for therapists with some research experience.

Members of Staff

Eve Dunn (Secretary of BAHT)

Eve has been working for BAHT Executive Committee and Education Sub-committee since 1998 as clerical and administrative assistant. Her main role is to be the first point of contact for BAHT for members and general enquiries. She also maintains the membership database to ensure it is up to date. The role has grown over the years and Eve has enjoyed getting to know BAHT members and working alongside all committees.

Contact: Email not available without JavaScript