Introduction Board Members

Board Members


Currently the Board consists of the following members. Short biographies of the current members are available by clicking their names.

Dr Rob Hill - Chair, Preoperative Association
Mrs Marie Digner - President Elect
Dr Burra Murthy
- Treasurer
Mrs Jane Jackson
- Sponsorship
John Carlisle - Board Member
Mrs Ali Curtis BSc - Secretary
Mrs Joanne Bratchell - Educational Support
Mr Lee Wadsworth - Advertising and Marketing
Dr Nick Lavies - Educational Development
Professor Gerard Danjoux- Research
Dr Sameena Ahmed - Website
Dr Jeremy Rickford - Educational Development

Committee Members (from left to right): Mrs Ali Curtis, Dr David Earl, Dr Jeremy Rickford, Dr Nick Lavies, Mrs Jo Bratchell, Dr Rob Hill, Mrs Marie Digner, Dr Burra Murthy, Mrs Jane Jackson, Dr Sameena Ahmed, Mr Lee Wadsworth.


Dr Rob Hill
- Chair, Preoperative Association
Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical lead for Preoperative assessment clinic.
St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester
E-mail: Rob Hill
Telephone 01243 788122 Ext 5290

Rob graduated from St George’s Hospital Medical School, London in 1990. Following a variety of junior medical posts, Rob commenced his anaesthetic training at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton in 1992; joined the South Thames anaesthetic registrar trainee scheme in 1994, and became a consultant anaesthetist in 2000.
As part of his training he spent 1 year working at Duke Univesity Medical Centre, North Carolina, USA as a visiting associate professor specialising in pre-operative assessment and anaesthesia for the high risk surgical patient.
Presently Rob is the clinical lead for pre-operative assessment at St Richard’s Hospital, and runs several consultant led clinics – General pre-operative assessment clinic, specialist bariatric clinic, and obstetric anaesthetic consult sessions. His specialist interest is the pre-operative optimisation of super morbid obese patient, and providing anaesthesia for the high risk bariatric patient.
Following Rob’s experience of pre-operative assessment clinics in the USA, he is keen to promote the further education and development of independent nurse practitioners in pre-operative assessment.

Mrs Marie Digner, RGN, BSc (Hons), MSc, AMIHM (Senior) - President Elect
Clinical Manager
Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Tel 01204 390390 Ext 5863

Marie’s career began in 1987 as a staff Nurse in General Surgery. Her interest in preoperative assessment was developed through studies as part of a first degree in the early 1990’s. In 1993 her undergraduate dissertation explored the concept of pre-admission assessment for elective surgical patients.

During the latter part of the 1990’s Marie was Lecturer Practitioner in Evidence Based Practice, on a joint appointment between Bolton Hospitals and the Research and Development Support Unit at the University of Central Lancashire. The role  involved  teaching  modules on research methods to post registration Health Professionals

Returning to full time clinical practice in 2000 Marie became Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pre-admission Assessment, during which time she worked with the multi professional team to standardise protocols, guidelines, processes and the documentation for pre-operative assessment. During this time Bolton became  the first Hospital in the country to utilise the knowledge and experience of NHS Direct to undertake telephone based pre-operative assessment for patients with less complex needs.

Marie completed an MSc in Professional Practice (Development and Evaluation) in 2003 with a qualitative study exploring patients expectations of a Pre-admission Assessment Service.

Marie’s current position is Clinical Manager, Outpatients, Ambulatory Services, Access, Booking, Choice and Health Records Services. She is a member of the editorial review panel of the Journal of Perioperative Practice and has several  publications relating to preoperative assessment.

With a particular interest in developing teams through the use of coaching techniques and  engagement methodologies Marie is presently a clinical member of the advisory panel for a research study commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research  exploring Engagement in the NHS.  


Dr Burra Murthy - Treasurer
Burra V S Murthy

Dr Murthy is the Clinical Lead for Preoperative Asessment service at Royal Liverpool University Hospitals.


Specialised area of work:  Pre operative Assessment
Chair Preoperative Association 2006–2008 and 2009 - 2011

web:     jjconsulting@me

Trained at University College Hospital, London UK, since when Jane has worked extensively with the surgical patient, and most recently as Consultant Nurse for Pre operative assessment.
During 2003, along with 7 colleagues across the England, Jane was inaugural in setting up the Preoperative Association for inter professionals with an interest in patient preparation prior to surgery,
Experience from NHS work includes:  the development of patient preparation (Pre operative assessment), incorporating NICE, Department of Health and public health requirements as well as discharge planning – essential for all patients due for admission, particularly those being admitted on the Enhanced recovery programme.  Training and competency have been key elements to ensure the safe implementation of patient preparation.  In order to maintain confidentiality, and provide privacy and dignity, Jane implemented assessment in the patients’ home for patients with specific needs such as severe learning disabilities, and for prisoners within the prison setting.  Jane has lectured extensively on the all aspects of Pre operative assessment.
Jane gained experience through being an active member on the Department of Health operational board for Patient Reported Outcome Measures, and assisted the Department of Health with the implementation of the Enhanced Recovery programme.
Jane is active with voluntary work in Ghana, through Motec Life-UK and supporting work of Lifebox in providing pulse oximetry to hospitals without the means to support themselves.

Latest two books containing a chapter by Jane are:

ISBN-13: 978-0199697410 | Edition: 1
Adult Nursing Practice: Reflecting the principles of evidence-based care in line with the current NMC competencies, this textbook helps students learn to manage patients with common conditions and fundamental health needs so they can provide the best possible evidence-based care.

ISBN-13: 978-0470659182
Manual of Perioperative Care is a comprehensive manual of principles of care designed to support the clinical practice of perioperative practitioners.


Updated: 15th February 2013


Dr David Earl
Consultant Anaesthetist
Harrogate District Hospital

David is the lead consultant anaesthetist for preassessment at Harrogate District Hospital.

After medical school training in Bristol and a few years as a trainee physician in Plymouth, he commenced his anaesthetic training at the Royal London/St Bartholomew's/Homerton Hospitals in London. He continued his training in the southwest around Bristol, also undertaking a period at
the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. It was here that he began to develop a keener interest in the field of preoperative assessment.

"Currently he is leading the "Deteriorating Patient" workstream for the trust as part of the Patient Safety First initiative, which has provided a useful bridge between elective and emergency care.


Ms Ali Curtis RN DipN BSc

Pre-operative Assessement Clinic

T: 01580 242434
F: 0870 2387186

Ali is the pre-operative assessment clinic manager at Benenden Hospital Trust in Benenden, Kent and has been a member of the Board since July 2009.

Ali has worked in a range of surgical and acute settings, including A&E, HDU and surgical wards, and also specialised in Pain Management, both chronic and acute, before talking up her current post as the manager of the adult pre-operative assessment service at Benenden Hospital.

Ali has set up the current service at her Hospital.  This included providing a dedicated area to deliver the service from and together with her Consultant Anaesthetic Lead, has recruited and trained a team of nurses to deliver POA.  She has produced protocols and guidelines to support the work of the service and has led the continued development of this service during the past 6 years.  More recently, she has produced an electronic patient record dataset that is now used by the nurses in POA and forms the basis of an early EPR.

Ali is passionate about POA and firmly believes in the importance of this role for nurses and of the necessity of inter-professional working as being key to success in this area of health care



Dr Sameena Ahmed
Consultant Cardiothoracic Anaesthetist
Freemam Hospital, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Email: Sameena Ahmed

I work as a consultant cardiothoracic anaesthetist at Freeman Hospital. I was involved with setting up the Cardiothoracic Pre-assessment services at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne and I am the anaesthetic lead on Cardiothoracic Preassessment.
The Cardiothoracic preassessment clinic has been running since March 2007.  
We assess all elective cardiac surgical patients at present and aim to include  elective thoracic patients as our clinic infrastructure increases. We are lucky to have a dedicated team that includes nurses, nurses practitioners and anaesthetists. There are numerous advantages of having a preassessment process in complex cardiac patients. It has affected our practice and a lot of our cardiac patients now come in as "day of surgery" admissions rather than in-patient admissions. We have had positive feedback from the patient satisfaction surveys, the surgeons and anaesthetists.


Lee Wadsworth RGN MSc V300

Lee qualified as an RGN in 1988. His early years were spent working general medicine for one year, A & E for 5 years and 3 years working in intensive units both in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

In 1998 he was offered the opportunity to train as a Nurse Practitioner and through this develop a Pre-operative assessment service at Macclesfield District General Hospital. This he developed successfully which resulted in a service expansion and the training of further nurse practitioners and support staff. Whilst in post Lee presented at the National Day Surgery conference in 2000 at York about this service and was later published in the Nursing Standard in 2002.

Lee left this post to pursue a career as a freelance clinical trainer in Pre-Operative assessment, Advanced Clinical Skills, ECG Interpretation and Blood results. In 2003 Lee set up his own company with colleague Andrew Smith called A & L Healthcare Consultancy, which provides off-site and on-site training solutions for the NHS, independent sector, primary care staff and the prison service.  In addition to this their company provides consultancy services for organisations wanting to develop Pre-operative Assessment services, peri-operative specialist practitioners, surgical care practitioners and rapid response teams.

Lee’s main drive is to promote pre-operative assessment as a dynamic speciality and encourage staff to develop clinical expertise through training and mentorship. He seeks to support staff either through his role as membership support officer for the association or through training events and consultancy.

Lee maintains clinical practice as a Nurse Clinician in General Practice on a part-time basis. 


Dr Nick Lavies FRCA
Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical lead for Pre-assessment
Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust
Tel. 01903 285151

Nick graduated from the University of Bristol in 1976 and after a variety of junior hospital jobs in the South-West, went to Barts as an anaesthetic 1980. Armed with the FFARCS he went to Durban, South Africa in 1982 for a year and then became senior registrar in Leicester in 1985. Whilst there he developed an interest in pain management and spent 6 months as a pain fellow in Adelaide.

In 1990 he went to Worthing as consultant anaesthetist and his interest in pre-operative assessment grew out of local need to improve on the traditional house officer system and promote the role of nurses in pre-assessment. In 2003 he started a joint pre-assessment clinic with a consultant physician Lui Forni to see the pre-operative patient with multiple medical co-morbidities.  His current interests are the [Lavies Nick] use of cardio-pulmonary exercise testing in pre-operative assessment and the development of early pre-screening as an aid to achieving waiting time targets.

Nick'sprinciple role on the board is to promote and develop regional multidisciplinary groups.

Professor Gerard Danjoux
Consultant Anaesthetist, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Qualified from Newcastle University in 1989 and undertook anaesthetic training within the Northern Deanery. During my training I was fortunate to undertake fellowship years in Australia and Canada, which is where I first developed my interest in formal preoperative assessment. I was appointed as a Consultant Anaesthetist at South Tees NHS Trust in 2002.

·     Complex preoperative assessment and objective exercise testing – set up vascular preoperative assessment/CPET service at South Tees NHS Trust
·     Vascular Anaesthesia
·     Sleep Medicine – Lead Clinician for South Tees Sleep services
·     Regional Anaesthesia

·     Visiting Professor Teesside University
·     Anaesthesia Lead for Durham Tees Valley Comprehensive Local Research Network
·     Research interests – presently Chief Investigator for a multi-centre study (DOH funded) exploring the benefits of high intensity interval training prior to abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery. I am also leading collaborative research with the Ministry of Defense exploring the effects of opioids on cardiovascular physiology in simulated hypovolaemia.

Other interests/positions:
·     Faculty member of National Perioperative CPET course
·     Committee member for Vascular Anaesthesia Society GBI - 2004 – 2010
·     Cycling – keen road cyclist
·     Newcastle United FC fan – don’t shoot me!
·     Being fleeced for every penny by my 12-year old daughter!


Joanne Bratchell
RGN  Dip H E (Nursing)  BSc(Hons)   MSc  
Lead Nurse for Pre-operative Assessment
St Georges Hospital
0208 725 1190

After first qualifying as a nurse in 1998, having previously been a police officer, Joanne worked as a cardiac nurse before moving into the realms of day surgery where she developed scrub, recovery and anaesthetic skills. A promotion took her to St Georges Hospital in 2001 where she was asked to develop the day surgery pre-op service. In 2004 she was given the task of leading  and developing  pre-op  for inpatients and has been in the role ever since, working closely with the anaesthetic department to develop protocols, policies  and guidelines  to ensure an evidence based, robust service for patients.  She jointly runs the high-risk anaesthetic clinic with her anaesthetic colleagues.

Joanne completed her MSc in Advanced Practice last year, focussing on issues including pre-operative investigations and reducing fasting times for elective patients (a continuing challenge with all day operating lists!). She has a particular interest in improving pre-op assessment for patients with learning disabilities, making ad hoc appointments to fit in with their individual needs and requirements and carrying out home visits when appropriate. 

Surgery can be a terrifying prospect for many people and Joanne believes that if we get it right at the pre-op visit, we can manage expectations, allay some of the fears and myths around surgery and anaesthesia and make a real difference to the patient experience.

Dr Jeremy Rickford
Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical Lead
Perioperative Medicine
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust
Dr Jeremy Rickford

He graduated from the University of London (St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School) in 1973.
Post-registration he moved home to Devon to a general medical rotation at Torbay Hospital and thence to the South Devon Vocational training programme for General Practice.
However, in 1977, he decided upon a career in anaesthesia and returned to St Thomas’s Hospital.
Having completed the Senior Registar rotations at Great Ormond Street, the National Heart Hospital and the National Hospital, Queen Square, he joined the Faculty at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore, Maryland in 1986.

Since his appointment at the Lister Hospital, Stevenage, (1988)  he has established a consultant-led high risk anaesthesia out-patient service (2000), a comprehensive nurse-led Pre-operative Assessment and Preparation Service (2005) and a Cardio-pulmonary Exercise Testing Lab (2009).