We have three members of staff and are led by an elected board of volunteer trustees, who are endorsed by our member organisations.
Neurological Alliance staff
Sarah Vibert, Chief Executive
Sarah has been Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance since October 2016. In this role Sarah co-Chairs the National Neuro Advisory Group, as well as sitting on a number of other national forums including the Neurology Intelligence Collaborative, and the National Neuroscience Service Review expert reference group. Previously she was Director of Strategy and External Affairs at Epilepsy Society. Prior to working at Epilepsy Society, Sarah held a number of management roles in the charity sector and local government, including working in policy and strategic projects for the Mayor of London and in the Charities Office of HRH the Prince of Wales. Sarah is also a Trustee of National Voices.
Katharine McIntosh, Policy and External Affairs Manager
Katharine joined the Neurological Alliance in January 2018. She has a background in neurology related health policy, having previously held policy roles at the MS Society and Epilepsy Society. She also has an in-depth knowledge of welfare and employment issues affecting disabled people. Prior to completing her Masters degree in social policy, Katharine worked as an IAPT employment support coordinator in the mental health field. She continues to volunteer as a trustee at a local Mind association, and became the Chair in March 2017.
Fiona Tate, Communications Assistant
Fiona has a background in working in the charity sector, specialising in communications. She has worked for a number of organisations, including CLIC Sargent, JHub, United Response and, more recently, Parkinson’s UK in the role of Project Coordinator. Fiona has also volunteered for various charities, such as the British Red Cross and YMCA Palestine, undertaking different communications projects.
Neurological Alliance Board of Trustees 2018–19
Suzanne Dobson, Chief Executive, Tourettes Action (Chair)
Suzanne has been Chief Executive of three charities, the National Childbirth Trust, BLISS and for the last five years Tourettes Action. Since being involved with Tourettes Action Suzanne has become aware of the gaping holes in provision for all people living with neurological conditions and is keen to work with the Alliance to ensure that neurological services are available to a high standard and across all areas of the UK. People living with neurological conditions seem to have been overlooked within the health service and she is passionate about redressing the balance. Suzanne was elected as Chair of the Neurological Alliance in November 2016.
Sally Light, Chief Executive, Motor Neurone Disease Association (Deputy Chair)
Sally joined the MND Association in December 2012. She has a first degree in Nursing Studies and a Masters degree in Healthcare Management. Before joining the Association Sally was Director of Rehabilitation at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability; a national charity providing care and rehabilitation for people following brain injury. Her previous career has been in management roles in the NHS as executive director at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and at the NHS Modernisation Agency where she supported organisations with waiting list management and service redesign. In 2006 Sally joined the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority in British Columbia, to help them learn from the NHS; she spent nearly four years living and working in Vancouver.
Sue Millman, Chief Executive, Ataxia UK
Sue has been Chief Executive of Ataxia UK since May 2007. The ataxias are a set of degenerative, life-limiting, conditions for which there are no cures affecting around 10,000 adults in the UK. Ataxia UK funds medical research to find treatments and cures and provides support. She has been CEO of various charities for over 25 years, with a long track record of representing service user interests to government and policy makers. She is a member of the NHS England Specialised Services Patient and Public Voices Assurance Group. At Ataxia UK she has focused on forging research partnerships with ataxia charities, particularly in Europe, the US and Australia; and encouraging pharmaceuticals to develop an interest in the ataxias.
Caroline Morrice, Director, Guillain-Barre and Associated Neuropathies
Caroline joined the Guillain-Barre Syndrome Support Group in 2007 and worked with the Board of Trustees to develop the charity’s business plan, culminating in the rebranding and conversion to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2014. She is committed to the work of the Neurological Alliance and to being part of a Board that represents all neurological conditions giving a voice to the smaller charity and raising the profile of neurology. Previously she worked in the public sector, covering protocol, business and financial planning and latterly as a government internal auditor.
Simon Wigglesworth, Deputy Chief Executive, Epilepsy Action
Epilepsy Action’s deputy chief executive for 12 years Simon is responsible for the day to day operation of the charity, business planning and budget development. With a particular focus on campaigns and policy he has led a number of national high profile campaigns such as ‘A Critical Time for Epilepsy’. Simon recognises the need for coordinated work across the neurological charities to capitalise on the current developments such as the appointment of the NCD and the development of SCNs and within Specialised Commissioning. He brings relevant skills and experience to support achieving the NA’s goals with wide experience of charity finance, governance and law.
Matt O’Neill, Chair, Narcolepsy UK
The chair of Narcolepsy UK, Matt is a ‘late-developing’ narcoleptic, with both narcolepsy & cataplexy, currently on a long-term disability scheme from his employer as he attempts to bring his condition under control. Previously, he has headed strategic change programmes within the City of London and managed large teams across diverse support roles covering incident management, business continuity, property and technology relocation and infrastructure projects. His main charity interests are in access to medicines, intervention and support and addressing inequalities.
Val Buxton, Director of Strategic Intelligence and Excellence, Parkinson’s UK
Val has worked in the neurology field for the past nine years as a director of Parkinson’s UK, leading on a range of areas including policy and campaigns, service improvement, professional education and involvement and inclusion. Her passion for tackling health inequalities has been evident throughout her career as a nurse, health care researcher, lecturer, journalist, manager and government public health policy advisor. She is committed to raising the profile of neurological conditions and developing the strongest possible levers to achieve consistent, high quality services for all.
Genevieve Edwards, Director of External Affairs, MS Society
Genevieve joined the MS Society as Director of External Affairs in March 2017, where she leads the charity’s work to increase public and political engagement with the issues that matter most to people living with MS. She had previously spent 15 years working in HIV, sexual and reproductive health, tackling inequalities, challenging stigma, and campaigning for service innovation and better access for people who rely on them. Before that, Genevieve spent 10 years in communications roles for domestic and international children’s charities including Save the Children and Action for Children. She believes in the power of stories, well-told, to change lives for the better.
Ralph Gregory, Consultant Neurologist, Association British Neurologists
Ralph became a Consultant Neurologist in 1992 and works for the Dorset Neurology Service. The Neurology Centre is based at Poole Hospital and also covers Dorchester and Bournemouth Hospitals. Prior to moving to Dorset in 2009 he was based in Reading and was also the Neurologist for the Functional Neurosurgery Programme in the Regional Neuroscience Centre in Oxford. He therefore has experience of service delivery in the DGH, neurology centre and regional unit. He is a general neurologist with a sub-specialty interest in Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. He is also the Clinical Director for Specialty Medicine at Poole. His first links with the Neurological Alliance were with the West Berkshire Branch in the 1990’s. This was when he first realised the important role that the Alliance could play in increasing public and Government awareness of all neurological diseases. In 2011 he was elected Honorary Secretary to the Association of British Neurologists and in 2015 became Chair of the ABN Services and Standards Committee. During this time the working relationship between the ABN and the Alliance has become stronger, which further benefit for people with neurological disorders. When his term of office came to an end in 2018, he offered his services to the Alliance and was co-opted to the Board of Trustees. He is married to a Dermatologist and has four sons who are no longer on his payroll.
David Garmon-Jones, Chairman, Decideum
David Garmon-Jones spent 35 years in pharmaceuticals; mostly with Merck KGaA (1983–2015) and more latterly with Medday (2017–2018). For 10 years – as Country Manager – David worked with three different products for MS, operating for half that time in the UK & Ireland and the rest in Australia & New Zealand. Additionally, David spent two years as NED at Bucks NHS Trust and was a trustee at Bowel Cancer UK. Currently, David is doing a part-time interim assignment for Sobi in Cambridge as well as working as a part-time consultant for Decideum and the Neurology Academy. David is married with two grown-up children and lives in Marlow, South Bucks.
Pamela Mackenzie, Executive Director of Neurological Services and Scotland, Sue Ryder
Pamela leads Sue Ryder’s neurological operations across the UK, with 28 years’ experience as a nurse and a wealth of experience in senior management positions in both health and social care settings. Pamela passionately believes that people with neurological conditions should be supported to live their lives as fully as possible, and is excited to help the Neurological Alliance in its crucial role bringing people together to drive real improvements.
David Martin, CEO, MS Trust
David Martin became the CEO of the MS Trust in December 2017 where he has prioritised increasing the number of MS nurses so that everyone with Multiple Sclerosis can access good quality specialist care. His work at the leading disability charity Papworth Trust, the Care and Support Alliance and at the BBC focused on improving communications to increase each organisation’s impact and effectiveness by raising the profile, awareness and understanding of key complex issues. David believes there is potential to better use the collective voice of the Alliance so that neurology services have a higher priority in the NHS.
Amanda Swain, Vice Chair and Policy & Commissioning Liaison, UKABIF
Amanda has worked in many sectors as a clinical specialist in ABI and Neurology for over 25 years; she has led development of neurological rehabilitation services in four counties of England and in five countries. She has worked as a national lead or contributor to standards and audit of rehabilitation provision for the top authorities in England and New Zealand. Amanda holds a Masters in Health Laws and has been advising on health and social care legislative interpretation and implementation for over 15 years. Amanda also acts as independent advocate for people needing support to obtain the treatment, rehabilitation or social care that they need and are entitled to. Amanda is Vice Chair and Policy & Commissioning Liaison for UKABIF, she re-joins the board of the Neurological Alliance after a year away.