BACPR Council & Staff

BACPR Council & Staff

The BACPR belongs to its members. The BACPR council mirrors the multidisciplinary nature of the association integrating at least six professional disciplines as well as representation from all four nations. The Council is made up of five Executive and nine Ordinary Officers (who are all elected from within the membership), together with Co-opted representatives from key partnership organisations. In addition management and administrative support is provided by the BACPR Education team and a BCS Affiliates Coordinator.

Heather Probert
BACPR President

Heather is a Consultant Physiotherapist / Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation Lead at Harefield and Royal Brompton Hospitals (part of Guys & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust).

Heather has over 17 years’ experience within the field of cardiac rehabilitation, and she has a wide range of expertise rehabilitating patients with more commonly seen cardiac issues to those with more complex problems such as patients with heart failure, implantable devices, ventricular assist devices, total artificial hearts and cardiac transplants.

It is of great importance to Heather for us to support each other and evolve our services to meet the needs of patients in these challenging times. She has experience of developing her service to offer both virtual and face to face options and hopes to be able to use her experience to both help support the membership, as well as have an impact more nationally as our speciality transitions over the coming months/years. Over time, new methods that we incorporate into our services may help us recruit some of the 50% who didn’t attend CR previously.

Outside of work, Heather is the ACPICR treasurer, chaired the last two ACPICR Standards documents and is chairing the current update. She also lectures on the Heart Failure and Part 2 BACPR/ACPICR courses.

Dr Kathryn Carver
BACPR Past President

Kathryn undertook her BSc and nurse training at Edinburgh University. Within 18 months of qualifying she was working in cardiothoracic surgery ITU at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, the start of a career long passion for improving the lives of those with cardiac disease. In the last 20 years she has worked at Addenbrooke’s to support those living with heart disease as a chronic condition. She managed the cardiac rehabilitation service for 12 years and then moved to lead the Integrated Heart Failure Service in 2016.

She continued her education undertaking both her Masters in Nursing at the University of Wales College of Medicine and her PhD at the University of Brighton whilst working full time clinically. Her PhD ‘Biographical Restorying after a Heart Attack’, completed in 2018, explored the factors influencing the adaptation of health beliefs following a heart attack. She is currently editing a Cardiac Nursing Textbook with a colleague from London. Kathryn previously served on the BACPR as treasurer between 2012 and 2015 and is currently relishing the challenges BACPR presidency is presenting. BACPR Conference is always a great event in particular the social events on a Thursday evening.

Kathryn lives with her husband and has three grown up children. She lives in a Fenland village in Cambridgeshire and enjoys walking and holidaying particularly in France where sampling the wine is a key part of the trip.

Susan Casnello
BACPR Treasurer

Susan worked in the field of coronary care, where she developed an interest and passion for Cardiac Rehabilitation, which she has been involved with since 1992. She has worked in both Liverpool and Salford. She has worked as a clinical specialist nurse in Salford since 2000 and was the project lead for the British Heart Foundation funded menu development project for the service in Salford, between 2005 and 2008. This aimed to improve access, target the hard-to-reach groups and provide a service that meets the needs of the individual and their families.

Following this she returned to clinical practice within the Salford cardiovascular rehabilitation service, promoting individualised multi-modal service delivery, quality improvement and inclusion of PAD patients within the service. She is service lead for patient experience, NACR, policy, documentation, and digitalisation of the service and is a non-medical prescriber.

She brings to the role experience and a passion to raise the profile of cardiovascular rehabilitation. Her goal is to ensure services are able to offer an individualised service, using a range of delivery methods to all those with cardiovascular disease who would benefit.

She enjoys walking, cycling and skiing but especially spending time with her family.

Natalie Graham
BACPR Honorary Secretary

Natalie has over 6 years’ experience of working in Cardiac Rehabilitation setting since graduating with a BSc (Sport and Exercise Science) and MSc (Clinical Exercise Physiology) from Liverpool John Moores University. She currently is an Exercise Specialist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and for the past 2 years has also lead a Phase IV Cardiac Rehabilitation programme, Ealing Cardiac Group Fitness. Natalie hopes that having experience in both the NHS and Phase IV setting will help to bridge the gap between the two services.

Natalie’s passion is around service development, and her main goal is to provide truly individualised programme to patients that are specific to their goals and suit their lifestyle. She hopes that the introduction of bespoke services and the use of technology will increase patient uptake and adherence to the Cardiac Rehabilitation programmes.

Dr Tom Butler
BACPR Scientific Officer / Conference Committee Chair

Tom completed his undergraduate degree in Human Biology (BSc Hons) at the University of Hull and subsequently went on to complete a doctorate with a thesis titled 'Impact of dietary manipulation on cardiac hypertrophy'. This project was funded by grants from the Hull and East Riding Cardiac Research Trust Fund and the Clinical Biosciences Institute at the University of Hull, and examined the role of dietary fat and carbohydrate on cardiac functional and metabolic remodelling in response to hypertension and obesity.

He is both a registered dietitian with the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) and British Dietetic Association (BDA), and registered nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition (AfN), specialising in nutritional science. Tom is a senior lecturer and programme leader in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Chester.

Nikki Gardiner

Nikki works as a Clinical Lead for Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehabilitation/COPD and Home Oxygen Service within the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. She has been qualified as a registered nurse since 1990. Her specialisms have been mainly within the field of cardiac nursing, including working in Cardiology, Coronary Care Unit, Cardiac Surgery and Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation departments.

The last 18 years have been spent working within Cardiac Rehabilitation and more recently in a leadership role in Leicester. She recently gained an MSc in Advanced Health & Professional Practice at De Montfort University. She is also involved with many aspects of research, from design to delivery and evaluation, including NIHR funded projects. As part of a specialist nursing position, Nikki is involved in shaping the delivery of rehabilitation which includes the development of the South Asian service, the Breathlessness rehabilitation programme and web-based rehabilitation programmes such as Activate Your Heart ®and SPACE for COPD®. More recently she has been involved with the development of a local Covid Rehabilitation pathway and service which involves leading on an exercise and education and web-based programme.

Nikki’s professional interests are around service development and quality improvement; she has a passion to help improve access to Cardiac Rehabilitation, including offering patients a ‘menu of choice’ for all. Nikki is also an assessor for the Royal College of Physicians Pulmonary Rehabilitation Accreditation Scheme.

Kirsty Hughes

Kirsty is a Specialist Physiotherapist working in NHS Forth Valley in Central Scotland. She has over 10 years’ experience of working in cardiac rehabilitation and recently gained her independent prescribing qualification. This has reinforced her role in the holistic management of a variety of patients with cardiovascular disease.

Her professional interests include heart failure; promoting self-management and highlighting the specialist skills that physiotherapists can offer to achieve positive patient outcomes She is currently seconded to a unique post within the Heart Failure service, working alongside the specialist heart failure nurses with their inpatient and outpatient case load. Developing Advanced Practice Physiotherapy roles in cardiology is an exciting prospect in our profession and will further enhance the 21st century management of cardiac patients.

Dr Andrew D'Silva

Dr Andrew D'Silva is a consultant cardiologist and honorary senior clinical lecturer at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London. His areas of expertise include heart failure, cardiac rehabilitation, inherited cardiac conditions, cardio-oncology, advanced heart failure therapies, cardiovascular imaging, sports cardiology, and general medicine.

Andrew graduated from the Royal Free and University College London Medical School, with distinction in 2007. He completed his PhD at the Centre for Inherited Cardiac Conditions and Sports Cardiology at St George's, University of London, in 2020, supported by Cardiac Risk in the Young and a British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Training Fellowship. He has published work relating to sudden cardiac death in athletes, sports cardiology, cardiomyopathies, and cardiovascular imaging, in addition to contributing a number of textbook chapters on these topics.

Helen Alexander

Helen is a Physiotherapist and Rehabilitation Services Lead at Nuffield Health at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in central London.  Helen qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2001, and went on to complete her MSc in Cardiovascular Rehabilitation at The University of Chester.  Helen is co-chair of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and sits on the BACPR Exercise Professionals Group.  She is a visiting lecturer at Kings College London and a BACPR course tutor.

Helen looks forward to championing and supporting. the role of all professionals contributing to cardiovascular rehabilitation and helping to ensure it remains on the national and local healthcare agenda. Helen is passionate about encouraging innovative ways of working to improve access, uptake, and outcomes for our patients. Helen will strive to work with other council members to ensure members continue to receive value from their membership, and benefit from the education and collaboration opportunities that being a member affords them.

Andrew Battersby

Born and raised in Belfast, Andrew moved to Newcastle upon Tyne to study sport and exercise science in 2005. As part of his degree, he was lucky enough to secure a work placement in Canada, which unbeknownst to him at the time, happened to be in a cardiac rehabilitation centre. Previously, he had always envisaged working in a sporting environment, but this experience totally opened his eyes to a whole other world of exercise, and set him off on his current career path.

He went on to complete an MSc in Cardiovascular Rehabilitation, before commencing work on a BHF funded health promotion project in Hull, whilst also working in a local council gym, on their exercise referral scheme. He has worked within NHS Cardiac Rehab services for the past 10 years, initially in South Yorkshire, then North-East Wales, before moving into his current role as specialist exercise physiologist in Salford.

Andrew is a massive advocate for the role of exercise professionals within cardiovascular rehabilitation, however, he is also the first to argue that cardiovascular rehabilitation should not just be thought of as an exercise programme. He feels that cardiovascular rehabilitation needs to continue to evolve to match the needs, priorities, and preferences of every individual patient.

He feels that his experiences of working within many different teams and organisations, in different cities and countries, and alongside many different professionals, has given him a personal insight and understanding of the views and opinions of a wide range of individuals and teams. He hopes to be able to communicate these perspectives within the council, to continue to shape cardiovascular rehab services all over the UK.

Jen Hannay

Jen has worked within cardiovascular rehabilitation since 2008 after graduating with a BSc (PE & Sports Science) and MSc (Cardiovascular Rehabilitation) from the University of Chester. She has also completed a PGCert in Healthcare Leadership and holds the Cancer Rehabilitation Specialist qualification.

Jen is currently Lead Exercise Physiologist at Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust and jointly co-ordinates the CR service. She is also the joint Cardiac Rehab Clinical Lead for the  Cheshire and Merseyside Cardiac Network. Jen’s current passion is working towards true individualised cardiovascular rehabilitation for all. She hopes with the introduction of digital solutions and novel ways of service delivery, a broader range of options will be available in order to provide the right rehab, for the right person at the right time, both for priority patient groups and also to those who would also benefit from the intervention.

Maria Glover

My 30-year nursing career led me to my chosen field of nursing, Cardiology. In my current role as the Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) Nurse Manager, I am always exploring ways in which to improve and innovate the service provision through continuous learning and engaging in the nursing research agenda, for which I feel is paramount to ensure we deliver high quality person-centered care. CR enhances the effect of acute treatment actions and to prevent risk factors, thus leading to an improvement in the patient's wellbeing and recovery. Accordingly, all CR activities do not take place at the same time, which is the reason the nurse's role changes in character over time. My multiple roles in CR have a 'spider in the web-like' character and, depending on the phase of the patient's recovery, for which I am required to function as a container, a counsellor, a coach, and an educator. As a senior nurse in CR, my role requires me to have improved evaluation tools in clinical practice as well as to be self-critical and serve as a good role model. Finally, this role requires a four-fold comprehensive perspective of the CR concept: an impact perspective, a timing perspective, a lifespan perspective, and a personal perspective. I thoroughly enjoy my role as CR Nurse Manager, as it offers me such a varied perspective on the patients journey and is extremely rewarding, hence I have been in this fantastic role for 18 years, and still going strong.

Janine O'Rourke

Janine qualified as a Registered Nurse in 2002 and has since worked in cardiology, on the coronary care unit, as a Heart Failure Specialist Nurse and for the past 10 years as Lead of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Service at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust. She is currently on secondment to NHS England as Cardiac Network Delivery Lead in North East and North Cumbria. Janine is a great advocate for Cardiac Rehabilitation in her ICS, and previously chaired the NENC Cardiac Rehabilitation network group as she understands the importance of services supporting and learning from each other.  Over the last two years Janine has completed an apprenticeship in Leadership and Management which she aims to use to ensure that Cardiac Rehabilitation services and workforce remain high on the national agenda.

Stephanie Wright

Qualified from University of Teesside with Advanced Diploma in Nursing in 2003, and went on to complete the BSC in Adult Nursing in 2010 in which her dissertation explored examining reasons for non attendance in Cardiac Rehabilitation.

Steph has worked within the Cardiac speciality for 20 years with the last 13 years in Cardiac rehab and Heart Failure specialist nursing. Her current role is Cardiology Clinical Nurse Specialist for County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust leading on Cardiac Rehab for the south of the locality, and she has spent the last year working with NHS England as part of the Clinical Network as CR delivery lead for North East and North Cumbria.

Steph’s professional interests are Heart Failure and developing rehabilitation for this cohort of patient using a menu based approach advocating integration between HF and CR specialist nursing teams to improve access for HF patients. She has a vision of increasing multicondition rehabilitation that sees Cardiac, Pulmonary, Stroke, PAD rehabilitation services developing and working together and feels that being a member of the BACPR council will help continue to raise this profile

Steph’s most recent work with NENC Clinical network has seen her involved in supporting the CR targeted funding process, this has allowed her to raise the profile of CR with stakeholders and she hopes to continue to be able to do this and support other CR services to be able to do the same through her role on BACPR council.

Dr Hayes Dalal
Primary Care Representative

Lisa Spratt
Northern Ireland Representative

Claire Dobson
British Heart Foundation (BHF)

Sarah Brown
Cardiovascular Care Partnership UK / Patient Representative (CCP UK)

Vicki Hatch
Exercise Instructor Network (EIN) Chair

Eddie Caldow
Exercise Professionals Group (EPG) Chair

Prof Patrick Doherty
National Audit of Cardiac Rehabilitation (NACR) Representative

Poppy Brooks
British Society for Heart Failure (BSH)

Dr Sheona McHale
BHF Clinical Research Collaborative (BHF CRC)

Esther Arnold and Fang Feng Ting 
British Association for Nursing in Cardiovascular Care (BANCC)

Isabella Salzano
BCS Affiliate Societies Coordinator

Sally Hinton
BACPR Executive Director

Vivienne Stockley
BACPR Education Coordinator

Penny Hudson
BACPR Education Administrator

Dr Aynsley Cowie
BACPR Education and Training Lead

Dr Hugh Bethell (1993-1995) Bernadette Downey MBE (2005-2007)
Helen Stokes (1995-1997)Prof Patrick Doherty (2007-2009)
Dr Jane Flint Bridgewater (1997-1999) Prof John Buckley (2009-2011)
Dr  Andrew McLeod (1999-2000)Dr Jenni Jones (2011-2013)
Ann Ross (2000-2003)Prof Gill Furze (2013-2015)
Dr Malcolm Walker (2003-2005)Dr Joe Mills (2015-2017)
Dr Scott Murray (2017-2019)Prof Susan Dawkes (2019-2021)
 Dr Kathryn Carver (2021 - 2023)