Our People

We are Pier Health Group. We are working shoulder to shoulder with dedicated colleagues on a mission to ensure we provide outstanding Primary Care to our localities and beyond. 

The Pier Health Group Board

Dr. John Heather

Chair of the Board

Dr Heather holds a few roles for us at Pier Health. He is also the Chair of the Pier Health Board. He is the Chair of the Pier Health Group Ltd Board. He is Clinical Director for Pier Health. He is a GP at 168 Medical Group. He is Chair of One Weston Locality Board and also leads on a number of propositions and committees within the wider NHS System. 

John is a seasoned doctor and has worked as GP 30 years.  John started his career in the South East of England and worked for 12 years  in Margate, Kent. Alongside his work as a GP John worked half time as Associate Medical Director for East Kent PCT for the last 5 years of his time in Margate as well as taking on the role of  Medical Director for East Kent out of hours Co-op in the last 2

With a passion for Health Inequalities , John moved to Weston in 2005 and has been a household name in North Sommerset ever since, coining a second name as Mr. Weston! He has worked as a  GP appraiser and also held roles with North Somerset PCT then the CCG before shifting his focus to the provider world becoming a locality lead for GPs in Weston  He has been a Director at One Care from its inception and previously was its Chair. Dr Heather in on a mission to change the narrative for Weston Super Mare, Worle and surrounding villages to a healthy thriving health and social care system.

John has always focused  on system redesign, always challenging why we do not  improve Primary Care for everyone. With bundles of strength as networker, we are privileged to have him as he builds deep and meaningful relationships with other leaders in the system and beyond to allow an innovative unashamedly collection of great best practice to replicate.

Married 43 years 5 sons (4 grandchildren ), John is a  busy man. He enjoy films (new and old) and has a passion for football . An avid Manchester United supporter, he is keen on walking and loves to laugh.

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Brandie Deignan

Chief Executive Officer

In early 2021 Brandie joined Pier Health Group as CEO from a non-healthcare background; emphasising how bold the organisation can be.

Prior to this role, Brandie was Managing Director at Marco Pierre White Restaurants, cementing her 20 years’ experience in the consumer service delivery industry across hospitality, retail and aviation; holding senior leadership positions at British Airways Plc, Tesco Plc, Whitbread Plc, Travelodge and Hilton Hotels, where she started her career as a graduate trainee.

Brandie sits on a variety of external boards as both an Advisory and Non -Executive board member in the commercial sector and also holds a public appointment non-executive role. Brandie is also a sitting magistrate. 

Brandie lives in the South West with her husband and twin boys.

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Dr Mike Pimm

Non-Executive Director / Remuneration Committee Member

Dr Mike Pimm has worked in the same practice in Worle for the last 35 years. Graduating from Bristol University , Mike started life as a GP in 1987 and has not left Worle.  Mike has been a Non Exec Director of Pier Health Group since its inception and also a non-executive director for Pier Health Group Ltd.

Dr Pimm is in a great place as having been in the same surgery for that long, he has the pleasure of caring for the grandchildren of the mothers he first cared for on the 80’s.

Mike vividly believes in a caring, family practice and wants all his patients to get the best care.

Dr Pimm has three children and soon to be six grandchildren as well as a dog, all living close by. Mike is passionate about the environment and promotes environmental issues . He has solar panels and cycles as much as possible instead of driving. Mike is also a local star and often appears on local radio talking about all things General Practice.

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Dr. Stephanie Marshall

Non-Executive Director

One of our younger GPs, Dr Steph Marshall graduated from Aberdeen Medical school. Steph was born in Reading and grew up in rural Yorkshire, her scientist parents were also Aberdeen graduates.

Steph worked in Glasgow for a couple of years for her House jobs and a year in the emergency department as a senior house officer. Steph moved to Bristol on a whim and flirted with the idea of training to be a surgeon, then saw the light and switched career paths. She then completed GP training in 2009. Steph worked as a locum and salaried GP in Bristol and married her husband whom she met at University. Steph applied to work at Tudor Lodge surgery as she was keen to care for an elderly population. She fell in love with the town in all its faded glory and of course the team at Tudor who continue to inspire and support her.

Steph then moved to Cheddar to be closer to Weston; she moved house with a 2-week-old baby and would recommend to others to plan to move whilst pregnant, and not so close to delivery.

After her second maternity break she became a partner at Tudor Lodge and then became a GP Trainer, which she feels is one of the highlights of the job. Steph also became the first female Non Executive Director of Pier health at its inception.

Dr Steph Marshall is enthusiastic about General Practice and is keen to influence and support others to flourish in Primary care.

Her plan is to stay in Weston, Worle and Villages as a traditional GP and GP Trainer.

Outside of work she is a social creature and loves spending time with her husband and friends and is kept busy with two energetic boys and is also a Governor of Cheddar first school.

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Dr Penny Edrich

Non-Executive Director / Research Lead

Dr Edrich qualified in 1996 at Liverpool Medical School MBChB with Commendation, and holds MRCGP and DRCOG. She was the first GP trainee at Milton Surgery in 2006, and stayed on as a GP at Milton, becoming a partner in 2014.

Prior to working in General Practice Dr Edrich worked in hospital medicine for 10 years, focussing on acute medicines and critical care

With a keen interest in Education and Research, Dr Edrich is a Planet Committee member. Planet is the Educational provider charity for all Pier practices, which hosts monthly clinician education afternoons away from the surgery setting.

Penny is also a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Medical Advisor to the Burnham-on-Sea branch, ensuring that the crew are fit and safe to perform their operational duties, and are available to rescue those in difficulties in the water 24 hours a day.

Dr Edrich is a General Medical Council (GMC) examiner for international medical graduates undertaking professional examinations (PLAB2) prior to seeking employment in the Uk.

When not at work, Penny enjoys zumba dancing and Pilates, singing in a gospel choir, and also manages a team of Olio volunteers, who collect and redistribute food that would otherwise end up in landfill.

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Dr John Jackson

Non-Executive Director / Research Lead / Remuneration Committee Member

Dr John Jackson has been a GP partner at Winscombe and Banwell Family Practice for around 28 years. John has been  Non -Executive Director at Pier Health since its inception and also sits on the LMC.

Dr Jackson’s professional interests include dermatology, minor surgery and joint injections as well as teaching, having recently stepped down after 20 years of training. A big advocate for traditional general practice based on continuity of care, John focusses his team on this.

A southern counties lad who spent more time on the rugby pitch than in the classroom before going to Bristol medical school, where he met his future wife in the first term. They now have two sons, both doctors one who thinks life is better in New Zealand! As a young lad, John spent his first 2 years living on a boat on the Thames and managed to survive his mother’s rescue attempt when she jumped on top of him after he had fallen in.

Outside of general practice John, when his body usually allows him to, enjoys a thrash around on a tennis court, walking, golf and driving his classic MG sports car.

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Dr Chubb

Associate Clinical Director / Estates Lead / Non-voting Board Member

Chris joined the Pier Health Board at the beginning of our journey and also doubles up as our Associate Clinical Director, representing Pier Health in the wider BNSSG System. Chris is also a partner at  The Milton Surgery.

Dr Chubb started working at The Milton surgery 15 years ago as a registrar and liked it so much he stayed on, graduating from Bristol University in the early years of 2000.

Chris has a keen interest in trying to improve general practice estates, and have been supporting all our practices to ensure we have better representation around Estate conversations and good provision of better premises. He lead on social prescribing and helps coordinate the Pier Health Group clinical leadership meetings, which are very instrumental to our organisation’s maturity.

Chris loves (and now very occasionally participating in) sport, and can be found in his spare time, taxiing his two children around. Our ‘face’ of Pier Health, you will usually find Dr Chubb’s smiley face on most of our promotional materials.

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Julia Ross

External Non-Executive Director (ENED)

Julia was Chief Executive for the BNSSG CCG and system leader from May 2017, and Chief Executive at North West Surrey CCG and system leader for Surrey Heartlands from April 2012.  She started her working life as a teacher, joining the NHS in 1988 where she has had roles in strategy leadership, large-scale change management, organisational development, and communications and engagement.

When Julia retired in April 2022 after more than 30 years in the NHS, we were lucky enough to lure her to support the Pier Health Board as our External Non-Executive Director (ENED).

Nowadays, Julia works independently in the charitable and public sector with a focus on board and leadership development as well as organisational strategy.

Extremely passionate about the role of primary care at the heart of a joined-up system of care as well as delivering better outcomes and experience for the people we serve, Julia is instrumental to our board team.

When not supporting an organisation, Julia can be found having fun with her family and dogs, and especially enjoys great food and good theatre.

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The Pier Health Executive and Clinical Leadership Team

Alex Read

Group Finance Director

Alex joined Pier in 2023. Having studied Civil Engineering at Manchester University before training as a Chartered Accountant in central London, he spent time in accountancy general practice before moving into the Education sector, working for a number of large Further Education colleges in the South West in senior Finance roles.

Most recently, Alex spent 8 years as CFO and Vice Principal at Norland College, an independent Higher Education provider in Bath, where he was responsible for all group finances and an Estates rebuild project. Alex is passionate and enthusiastic about working in his local community, and using his skills to make a tangible difference.

Alex is married with two grown-up daughters. In his very rare spare moments, Alex loves tinkering with old cars and spending time with his family.

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Julie Davidson

Group Operations Director

Julie joined Pier Health in 2019 as Operations Director with 10 years of managing a large primary care site. Julie has a broad experience of local health and social care systems and fantastic experience of working alongside fellow providers.

Julie started her career in manufacturing and has delivered technical, quality, operations and compliance roles in these areas before making the switch to health care. With an astute background in research, Julie leads our research function and is responsible for primary care research, business intelligence data and analysis, and leading all new service provision and quality improvement projects for the group.

Outside of work, Julie enjoys and plays netball.

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Runa Ahmed

Group Head of People and Culture

Runa has responsibility for Human Resources at Pier Health, supporting people operations, recruitment, employee engagement, employee relations, reward and benefits.

Having studied HR with Business management at Plymouth University, Runa started her career in Retail , moving into distribution Logistics and most recently, private education.  

Runa Joined Pier Health in October 2022.

Passionate about people, Runa enjoys working with others to create solutions and create best practises.

When not at work, Runa is a busy family person and can be found enjoying walks along the beach or reading a good crime thriller book!

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Adrian Gifford

Group Head of IT, Digital and special projects

Adrian Gifford is a general technologist who excels at using his knowledge and passion for technology to make a difference. Adrian believes that everyday ICT should be fit for purpose and almost unseen, providing the basis for sustainable technological innovation for improving lives.

Adrian has delivered solutions and managed technical innovation on a local and global scale. Initially starting his career as an NHS apprentice in Medical Physics in Bristol, before embarking on a career across many sectors both public & private.

Adrian holds Batchelor of Science with Honours in Computing & IT. When Adrian is not living and breathing all things technical, he has a passion for classic cars, is an assistant Tae Kwon-Do instructor, and can sometimes also be found on a surfboard around the North Devon coast.

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Julie Johnson

Head of PCN Operations and Nursing

A Registered Nurse, a qualified District Nurse, and a non-medical prescriber, Julie is also a proud Queens Nurse. Her career has mainly been spent in the community setting working in District Nursing teams until her recent operational management role.

Julie was membership secretary for Worle Lions a voluntary organisation up until recently and combines voluntary work with her organisational role to support the socially isolated in our local community.

Julie has developed and worked within Integrated Care Teams which comprised of Nurses, therapists, and Social Workers prior to joining Pier Health, where she gained her primary care experience.

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Dr Kevin Haggerty

Lead GP / Urgent Care / Non-voting Board Member

Dr Kevin Haggerty graduated from Leicester medical school in the early 80’s, completing his GP training in Leicester. He then worked in Tanzania for a year, giving him a very rounded informed position in healthcare abroad.

Kevin became a GP Partner at Longton Grove which merged with New Court in 2020 to become 168 Medical Group where he is presently a partner. Over many years, Dr Haggerty has held additional roles in the LMC, Local Drug Action Team, Weston Out of Hours Cooperative, Practice Based Commissioning, Primary Care Trust and Clinical Commissioning Group. Kevin leads on Urgent care at Pier Health as well as in our locality and a non-executive director on the board .

An advocate for the power of lifestyle medicine and continuity of care.

Kevin is married with four grown up children and one grandchild. Outside of work he can generally be found somewhere in the garden.

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Marion Snelling

Group Lead Nurse

Marion joined Pier Health as our Group Lead Nurse in early 2020 during the Covid-19 Pandemic, having worked at Longton Grove surgery then 168 Medical Group after the Merger as Lead Nurse since January 2002. Her career started in secondary care at Weston General Hospital before training and enrolling as a registered nurse.

Born in Glasgow Marion was raised in England from the age of 10, nursing has been her life since the age of 18. Marion graduated at Winchester Cathedral. Marion initially worked as an independent nurse in holiday Camps and Nursing Homes, and also volunteered in Vancouver Hospitals whilst on a road trip that lasted longer than planned. Marion worked in recovery geriatrics and eventually settled into the gastro enterology respiratory ward.

A mother to 3 children and a grandmother to three lovely children,  she loves travel, rugby,  her garden, reading, bing watching on TV and socialising . In fact Marion knows most of the population of Weston-Super-Mare , Worle and the Villages. Marion takes great pride in the fact that she is a queens nurse alongside many great leaders in the profession.

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Dr Holly Paris

Group Frailty Lead

Holly is a GP superstar and is currently working across a number of roles:

  • Service Lead for our One Weston Care Home Hub
  • Pier Health Group Frailty Lead

She was recently appointed as co-chair of the Community Geriatrics and Primary Care Group for the British Geriatric Society for a 3 year tenure.

Holly is driven to improve the equitability of care received by older people in Weston-super-Mare and surrounding villages after 10 years of working as a Bristol-based portfolio GP. This has involved a medley of experiences including: hospice work, medical education, urgent care, home visiting out of hours, dermatology clinics, intermediate care as well as previously being both a partner and a salaried GP. She would describe herself as the generalist’s generalist.

A born and bred Brummie, she feels at home in Weston-super-Mare and surrounding villages on account of her local accent and a certificate from the Tropicana in 1986 for the longest underwater swim.

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Dr. Andrew Cummings

GP Fellowship Programme Director / Non-voting Board Member / Lead GP, Pier Health Group Ltd

Dr Andrew Cummings is our GP Fellowship Director of Projects and lead GP at Graham Road Surgery and Horizon Medical Centre (Pier Health Group Limited). Andrew has been a Doctor at Pier since Nov 2020. A founding member of the Pier Health Group GP fellowship, Andrew has responsibility for its operational excellence and is a valued Fellowship Director.

Graduating in Medicine from the University of Bristol in 2011, he was an Academic trainee in Neurology and Psychiatry at East London Trust and Research Fellow at Queen's Square before completing the Hackney GP vocation training scheme. 

Andrew holds an intercalated degree in Biochemistry and postgraduate qualifications in tropical medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology and teaching, with interests in Heart Failure and sustainable medicine.

A real advocate for inequalities, Dr Cummings acts as the main clinical lead at both Graham Road and Horizon Surgeries which have some of the highest levels of deprivation in the South West of England.

Dr Cummings lives in Bristol with his partner and child and enjoys relaxing with long walks, audiobooks and trips to the theatre. 

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Freddie Pimm

GP Fellowship Programme Director

Dr Freddie Pimm is our GP Fellowship Director responsible for mentoring and career development. Freddie is also a founding director of the Pier Health GP Fellowship Scheme and is the brain child of this fabulous proposition for Pier Health.

A Partner at Cedars Surgery for the past 3 years, Dr Pimm attended Imperial College School of Medicine and completing his postgraduate training at Imperial College Healthcare trust and then the Chelsea and Westminster Foundation Trust

Freddie intercalated in Haematology during his medical training, and received a first class honours degree in biomedical sciences with haematology.

Dr Pimm also holds a Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and has an unwavering passion in teaching.

An ambassador for our next generation GP Partners, Dr Pimm is usually Pier Health representative for all things new GPs!

Married with one child and a second on the way, Freddie can usually be found playing sport or neck deep in DIY house renovations.

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Cheryl Fitchew

Group Lead Pharmacist

Cheryl leads the PCN Pharmacy team for Pier Health, a team of c14 people. She began her pharmacy journey as a counter assistant and felt inspired to pursue a Master of Pharmacy degree in her early 40s, a tough but rewarding adventure, and something that Cheryl is really proud of. Prior to joining Pier Health, Cheryl worked as a Pharmacist in the community.

Passionate about tackling health and social inequalities, Cheryl has spent considerable time volunteering in suicide prevention work, mental health awareness and helping homeless people in the community. Cheryl loves spending precious time away from work with her family and friends, laughing and having fun. Laughter is the best medicine for Cheryl and fortunately she does not need a prescription for that.

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Simon Shaw

Group Head of Academy, Learning and Education

Simon was raised and educated in the North Bristol area, joining the RAF in 1998 and undergoing pilot training thereafter. His time in the RAF took him all over the world, some nice places, some not so, undertaking aircraft operations and leading in a variety of strategic roles. His journey within Learning and Development started in 2005, as a Qualified Flying Instructor and facilitated his exchange service in the United States and New Zealand in leadership training roles. 

Simon has been retired from military service in 2021 and re-trained as an Executive and Senior Leadership Coach in 2022. He is a proud Dad to three amazing daughters and a grateful husband to a very patient wife. 

In his spare time Simon does a lot of walking, cycling and, in the evenings, he undertakes free coaching with a focus on men’s mental health. 

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An Evening of Celebration with the Pier Health Group Team