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. Since leaving Unum Joy has moved into the diversity and inclusion field offering support to employers with health and wellbeing.
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.
A business psychologist with a background in social work and social care management, Alan has worked in the fields of work-related stress, mental health and wellbeing for over 25 years. He has developed and grown a number of businesses, including a university spin out company was formerly Director of Stress and Mental Health Services for one of the biggest Occupational Health Providers in the UK.
Alan now delivers training and consultancy with recent clients including BAE Systems and easyJet. He also works with other business owners to help them grow, sustainably and profitably in this new, post-Covid, working world though with training, coaching and business mentoring.
For several years Alan has been a director and trustee of a residential care facility in Central Scotland for people with long-term mental health problems where he chairs the Care Committee. Before that, for 8 years, he was a trustee of a homelessness charity based in Glasgow.
Find out more about Alan here.
Andrea has been an Occupational Therapist since 2011. Upon graduating from York St John University Andrea started to work in the Welfare to Work sector. Having worked in the Northeast for both Ingeus and then Northern Rights, both of which deliver work related programs on behalf of the Department for Work & Pensions, Andrea has supported many of her clients to manage their health conditions and go into or regain employment, and importantly to sustain that employment.
Initially, Andrea worked predominately with clients who had mental health conditions including, anxiety, depression, stress & panic. She delivered one on one support and facilitated group workshops around condition management with a clear aim of returning to the workplace.
Andrea now works as a health advisor and supports her clients with both mental and physical health barriers to returning to the workplace. Ensuring clients have a clear goal and a plan in place to help them make the steps needed to move into the workplace is an important part of Andreas working.
Each year Andrea supports 2 final year Occupational Therapy students on their final work placement within the Vocational Rehabilitation sector at her workplace, Northern Rights. Andrea has also started to guest speak at universities and secondary schools in the region promoting the career of Occupational Therapy and the specialist area of Vocational Rehabilitation.
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.
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. He became an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health in 2019.
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
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.
Sabrina Lawlor is a Principal Lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers (UK) . Her areas of specialism and interests include catastrophic and life changing injuries including traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, complex orthopaedic injury.
Sabrina is also a disability inclusion and vocational rehabilitation advocate and is currently the Chair of the Disability and Accessibility network at Slater and Gordon Lawyers. She actively supports other charities including BASIC, Headway, ABI Ireland and After Matters.
Sabrina was the first legal professional to accomplish a Postgraduate qualification in vocational and occupational rehabilitation from the University of Salford. This qualification has enhanced her skills and knowledge in developing workplace strategies for health and wellbeing, and assessments and interventions for occupational and vocational rehabilitation.
‘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. ‘
Formerly a consultant clinical neuropsychologist in the NHS for 28 years Andy played a lead role in the development and provision of a pioneering specialist community brain injury rehabilitation service in Buckinghamshire. From the start this included “Working Out”, a specialist brain injury vocational rehabilitation programme set up for those unable to return to previous work after ABI. This became an evidence based example of good practice for Quality Requirement 6 on Vocational Rehabilitation, National Service Framework for Long-term (Neurological) Conditions (Department of Health, 2005). The programme and Andy went on to win multiple awards including from the NHS (SE Regional Nye Bevan Award 2000; Patient Champion of Year Award, Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Awards 2015/16) and VRA (e.g. Practitioner of the Year Award, 2012; Rehabilitation Initiative of the Year, 2012).
Andy has been involved in the development of various related national standards and guidelines including the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine Working Party on Rehabilitation after Acquired Brain Injury (2002-03); External Reference Group for the National Service Framework for Long Term Conditions (2002-05); Inter-Agency Advisory Group on Vocational Rehabilitation after Brain Injury (2003-04); Department of Health NSF Neurology Advisory Group (2005-08); Guideline Development Group on Vocational Assessment and Rehabilitation for People with Long-term Neurological Conditions (2007-10); NICE Head Injury Quality Standards Advisory Committee (2014). He is I have extensive ABI related multi-disciplinary and multi-agency teaching experience and around 85 assorted publications, many relating to VR.
Helen 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 insurers, employers, and their employees to achieve successful return to work outcomes after illness and injury. She has many years of experience working in vocational rehabilitation, in both the public and private sector.