Find out more about the VRA’s trustees. As Trustees they support the organisation on a voluntary basis.
Deborah is RTW Plus’ Chief Executive Officer and throughout her career as a nurse and case manager, her main aim has been to provide support and guidance in the use and development of rehabilitation services. Deborah was one of the first to introduce case management to the UK insurance industry and has been influential in the development of innovative rehabilitation approaches in the UK since 1994. Deborah co-authored the first University accredited Case Manager training programme in the UK, went on to provide case management training within the NHS in respect to the Community Matron programme and remains active in delivering crucial support to case managers and development of vocational rehabilitation services. She has led teams of case managers and most recently developed in collaboration a digital pain management programme. Deborah was the first Chair of CMSUK and currently is Chair of the VRA.
She has travelled the world including Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Hong Kong and of course the USA delivering case management and from which she has developed her exceptional insight into political, economic, social and technological challenges the delivery of case management and vocational rehabilitation face in the UK and beyond. As Chair of the VRA and a Director of IRCM, she hopes to be instrumental in maintaining the forward progression of case management and vocational rehabilitation to reach the masses of people who can benefit from support.
Christine Parker qualified as a physiotherapist in 1980 and has extensive clinical experience in the NHS and private healthcare. She held senior roles in community rehabilitation; set up musculoskeletal services in GP surgeries; and managed community hospital physiotherapy services, with a specific remit for the development of quality assurance and evidence-based practice. Christine moved on to a specialist role in chronic pain and complex condition management in 1994, taking a Clinical Lead role in the transition of a medical interventionist pain clinic into a contemporary, award winning interdisciplinary Pain Management Service. She moved into an academic role at the University of Salford in 2005 and is now a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Society.
Christine engages in teaching, research and commercial initiatives across the health and wellbeing sectors, with a particular focus on supporting the development and inclusion of work-related health outcomes in routine healthcare practice. She led on the development and delivery of a training series for Greater Manchester Public Health Network on developing Healthy Work Conversations across health and social care, which won an award from the Vocational Rehabilitation Association.
Christine and colleagues at the University of Salford carried out the evaluation of the Health & Work Champions Pilot Project for Public Health England and the Royal College of Occupational Therapy. She has also developed the work and health theme with colleagues on the undergraduate physiotherapy programme and has led the development and delivery of a multi-disciplinary MSc in Occupational and Vocational Rehabilitation.
Christine has been an associate practitioner for Vitality 360 and sits on a Cinical Advisory Group for Ingeus. She was a VRA Trustee from 2010 to 2015, after which she continued to represent the VRA on a joint project with CMSUK and BABICM, working to establish accreditation for quality case management practice. Christine is delighted to have the opportunity to join the Trustee Board again and is looking forward to contributing to the exciting new developments on the horizon.
Treasurer and Trustee
Since moving to the UK in 2000 Joy led Unum´s Vocational Rehabilitation Services, responsible for the provision of vocational rehabilitation services to its clients and their employees throughout the UK. She now provides absence management specialist services to employers and insurers.
Joy trained as a clinical psychologist. She became a Trustee of the VRA in 2005 and was a founding member of the UK Rehabilitation Council. She is also an elected Board member of the Council for Work & Health.
Joy contributes to the VRA through her work as Treasurer, her involvement in improving our membership, and the development of our webinar programme. In previous years, Joy has been actively involved in the development of the VRA’s original Standards of Practice and for many years was a member of the Professional Development Committee.
Since 1995 Kerry Foster has been the Managing Director of Active OHS that WorkCover NSW and Comcare Accredited Workplace Rehabilitation Provider in Australia. Kerry works closely with employers to implement best practice injury management and recover at work policies and procedures.
Kerry’s expertise extends to the Life Insurance/ Income Protection industry assisting members to regain their optimum functional and employment capabilities.
Kerry has a Bachelor of Social Work (1980) from James Cook University in North Queensland AU and has some 35 years in the workplace rehabilitation and return to work arena. Kerry splits her time between the UK and Australia and joined the Vocational Rehabilitation Association as a Trustee in 2015.
Kerry sees enormous possibilities in the UK for making a difference for people injured at work or experiencing unplanned work absences and sees targeting employers as key to successful outcomes.
Trustee AND PAST CHAIR
Andrew Frank was appointed Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine and Rheumatology to Northwick Park Hospital in 1980, and Professor (Associate), The Institute of Environment, Health and Societies, Brunel University London in 1997. He was part-time Medical Director of Kynixa Ltd, 2007-2009.
He was President of the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine, 2000-2002 and was the founder Chair of its Vocational Rehabilitation Special Interest Group. He chaired the BSRM Working party that reported on Vocational Rehabilitation, 2000–2003. He has served the VRA as a Trustee since 2005, chairing the Professional Development Committee, 2007-2009, becoming Vice Chair in 2008 and Chair in 2009. He stepped down as VRA Chair in June 2013 and was awarded an honorary lifetime membership.
Andrew was a founder member of the UK Rehabilitation Council and sat on the Council for Work and Health. He has published widely in the fields of back and neck pain, disability/rehabilitation and powered wheelchairs in addition to vocational rehabilitation, including a comprehensive review of vocational rehabilitation for non-experts in 2016 (doi:10.3390/healthcare4030046). He was awarded an honorary DSc from Brunel University in 2003 and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2005.
Sue is an experienced Occupational Therapist and Director of Ergocom, heading up a UK-wide team of multidisciplinary health professionals who provide specialist assessments and vocational case management, supporting employers and their employees to return to work after illness and injury. She has many years’ experience working in vocational rehabilitation, initially in the NHS supporting people with mental health problems, before moving into the insurance sector where she worked or seven years at Unum. In 2011 she left to work as an independent practitioner before taking over as Director of Ergocom in 2013. Sue has held trustee positions previously, including being on the board of Oakleaf Enterprise, Guildford and chair of Surrey Supported Employment, a membership organisation running DWP programmes and supporting providers of return to work services in Surrey
Gary works as a Senior Operational Advisor on Social Finance Projects, having gained over 25 years’ experience in both Australia and the UK in assisting large tertiary rehabilitation services achieve strategic quality improvements, increased service user outcomes and overall quality and growth objectives.
Over the last 10 years in the UK, Gary has undertaken large scale service integration and improvement projects, won and operationalised large scale new services including a catastrophic case management service for insurers, remote mindfulness services and conditional management programmes for corporates, embedding a vocational rehabilitation service for cancer patients at the Christie Hospital and the development of a followership construct of leadership for an NHS Trust.
In 2016 Gary completed an MBA in Leadership and Change and is a guest lecturer in Occupational Health and Vocational Rehabilitation at Salford University.
Beth ROSE husted
Beth started her career as an Occupational Therapist working across a range of Hospital Settings from Stroke Rehab to cancer care, Chronic Fatigue and Rapid Response. She then specialised in Vocational Rehabilitation 9 years ago supporting individuals and employers with return to work facilitation. Beth is now the manager of the Rehabilitation and Wellbeing Team; overseeing the Specialised Assessments outsourcing service, developing and managing the Employer Training programme (On Course), supporting the development and proposition of the Rehabilitation team and managing the team of Rehabilitation and Wellbeing Consultants with their case and account management portfolios to support customers with their absence and wellbeing programmes.
Helen is an Operations Manager with a background in occupational therapy, specialising in vocational rehabilitation. As an occupational therapist she gained experience in condition management working with long term unemployed as part of the Pathways to Work Programme, and in absence management working with a wide variety of private and public sector organisations.
As Rehabilitation Services Manager at Unum, Helen was responsible for a multidisciplinary team of case managers as well as several operational, training, absence management, and workplace wellbeing projects. In addition to this she managed the external provider contracts, overseeing the provision and funding of treatment and assessments through a network of providers
This blend of skills and experience enables Helen to understand and support the needs of individual service users, employers, and the insurance industry.
Linda has been a Registered Nurse since 1985 after completing her nurse training in the British Army (QARANC).. She completed a BSc in cancer and palliative care between 1999 and 2003 and used this knowledge to help develop one of the first case management support programmes in 2008/09 for employees with cancer to be supported back to work.
Since 2001 Linda has worked in income protection, for 9 years, case manager in personal injury, team manager and Operations Manager to teams of clinical and vocational case managers for a further 9 years. Much of this time was spent working with clients or supervising colleagues to support clients back into work or study.
In 2016 Linda moved into her current role as Operations Manager, Rehabilitation and Case Management at Bush & Company Rehabilitation and provides support and supervision to a large team of clinical and vocational case managers working with clients with catastrophic injuries within the personal injury field and also with charity partners. This role includes service development to ensure they are meeting the needs some of the most vulnerable and badly injured clients whilst supporting them in their choices to work or study.
Linda is keen to ensure that work remains at the core of healthcare and rehabilitation planning for the most catastrophically injured client group to allow them to have a voice within the industry and enjoy good access to support. This would include the introduction of vocational prescriptions and work as a health outcome. She would also like to be involved in working to support the catastrophically injured client group be offered the option to use their personal health budgets to achieve their vocational outcomes.
Dr Julie Denning is a Chartered Health Psychologist with over 17 years’ experience of working in the vocational rehabilitation sector. She has designed and delivered work focused services to support people with long term conditions including, persistent pain, cancer, chronic fatigue and mental health to return to work when ready. As Managing Director for Working To Wellbeing she is responsible for the design and delivery of VR services that are multi and interdisciplinary in approach. She manages and clinically supervises a team of Occupational Health Physiotherapists, Cognitive Behavioral Therapists and Occupational Therapists. She has experience of providing services within the insurance, occupational health and business to business sectors.
As an ACPOHE tutor and lecturer she trains Physiotherapists to improve their communications skills with their patients by applying a biopsychosocial approach and using the most up-to-date psychological interventions in order to improve clinical outcomes with their patients. This includes a strong work focus. Julie also lectures at Kings College London on their BSc Physiotherapy course, MSc Health Psychology and BScI for medical students on topics including, communication skills, work and health, stress management and leadership.
‘Matt is the Rehabilitation Manager at Aviva and has worked in the vocational rehabilitation field in both Australia and the UK. With a background in Sports Science and also Rehabilitation Counselling, Matt has previously worked as an Injury Management Consultant within the NSW Workcover scheme, assisting people with complex workplace injuries to return to work. Matt later moved across to the field of Income Protection insurance in Australia, before later joining Aviva’s UK Group Income Protection (GIP) team in 2014. Matt now manages a team of Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants in the GIP arena, as well as overseeing Aviva’s Employer’s Liability early intervention team and also Aviva’s rehabilitation supplier management. ‘