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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

Christy Fowler (Chair)

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.

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Hayley Smith (Vice-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.

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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.

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Sam Tomkins (Treasurer)

Physiotherapist – London

Sam qualified as a chartered physiotherapist in 2005, and has specialized in Hand Therapy since 2008 following pursuing a specialty in MSK and Rugby Physiotherapy. She is now employed as one of the Clinical Specialist Hand Therapists who works in the nationally renowned Hand and Wrist Unit at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, which is a generic centre. Sam has a background working in Private Practice, and also in Sports Physiotherapy, often acting as a consultant therapist for national football and rugby teams who have players with hand, wrist and elbow conditions.

Sam has been a co-opted member of the Executive committee since June 2015.

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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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Simon Sterry (BAHT Secretary )

Simon qualified with an MSc in Occupational Therapy in 2012 from the University of East Anglia.  Since graduating he has worked at a number of large trauma centres including the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham and Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.  While at Broomfield Hospital a specialist regional unit for burns and plastics he got his first post as a hand therapist. 

Presently Simon works at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital overseeing a diverse patient caseload working under the Trauma and Orthopaedics and Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery Services.  He has a keen interest in the management of traumatic injuries in both clinical areas.

Simon joined the executive committee in November 2017 with the aim of elevating pubic knowledge of hand therapy and promoting the two professions of physiotherapy and occupational therapy within this field. 

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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


Debbie Miles (Level I 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.

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Zoe Clift (Level II Co-ordinator)

Zoe has over 15 years experience in hand therapy having worked at Queen Victoria Hospital (East Grinstead), Chelsea & Westminster and Guy’s & St Thomas’ amongst others. She is now based at The Pulvertaft Hand Unit in Derby. Zoe gained a post graduate diploma in hand therapy in 2009. Zoe has previously served as a Director of BAHT on the Executive Committee and chaired the association between 2006-2009. She joined the ESC in 2012.

Zoe has been involved in education in many forms; running her own courses, teaching on BAHT validated courses, post graduate lecturing at several universities and as part of the UK International Emergency Trauma Response team. She continues to be involved in conference and workshop presentations, both in the UK and Internationally.


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.


Kathy Whalley (AHT Co-ordinator)

Kathy is an Occupational Therapist and has worked in hand therapy within the NHS for 17 years in various sites across Hampshire. She currently works at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester.  She has been an Accredited Hand Therapist since 2011 and joined the BAHT education committee in 2015. Kathy specialises in assessment, diagnostics and management of orthopaedic/MSK hand conditions with a personal interest in acquired wrist pain.

Kathy is passionate about effective management of hand conditions and is actively involved in research and training including guest lecturing at the University of Southampton.



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

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.