Our Core PPG members

The Core Representative Group of our Patient Group is made up of the following members:

Maggie Nicol – Chair
Maggie is a retired Professor of Nursing who has lived in Holywell since 2014. After a clinical career in intensive care nursing, she moved into nurse education and spent the rest of her career at City University London. In 2000 she was the first nurse to be awarded a National Teaching Award from the Higher Education Academy. She worked with medical colleagues to develop the first interprofessional Clinical Skills Centre in the UK at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London which, in 2005, was awarded Centre for Excellence in Teaching & Leaning status with a grant of £3.4 million over 5 years. Maggie was appointed as Director of the Centre. She has written and edited nursing textbooks and developed an online learning resource for nursing skills.

Since retirement in 2011 she is kept busy as editor for the League of St Bartholomew’s Nurses, which manages two charitable funds. She is also Treasurer for St Ives EcoAction. She became Chair of the Grove medical PPG in January 2022.

Ann Asquith
I have lived in St. Ives for 50 years and worked at the same local firm for nearly 40 years.  I was fortunate enough to take early retirement in 2019 and at the time had volunteered to teach illiterate adults to read.  Sadly, the pandemic put a stop to this and I am now steering myself to other voluntary work within our community.  The PPG is my first such venture and I hope to be able to make a valued and worthwhile contribution.

Helen Bessemer-Clark
Helen is a relatively new resident in St. Ives, having moved during the Pandemic from the Cotswolds, so has recent experience of other surgeries. Bringing up two children also brought her into contact with medical practices. Her working background was in Management and Human Resources, and especially staff training, having worked for Spillers and Fisons dealing with European based staff.  She was a Magistrate for 15 years until husband’s ill health meant giving it up, but afterwards worked for the Witness Service in Oxford Crown Court, and also was a trustee of the Ashmolean Friends group. She was a Town Councillor in Charlbury.  I believe it was my email to Maggie in October, which she kindly forwarded to you all, that first proposed the idea of setting up a sub-committee.

Peter Brewer
Peter grew up in mid Devon, moving to London for his career where he lived and worked for 15 years before relocating to St Ives in 2000. Having always vowed to retire before he was 60, he did so in 2016, a week after his 59th birthday. He worked in the commercial insurance industry for 40 years, the last 37 of which were ‘on the road’ in customer facing positions, primarily but not exclusively in sales. He ended his career as the self-employed senior partner for the NFU Mutual in Peterborough, and the senior Group Secretary for Peterborough NFU. In these roles, he employed 6 FTE staff. The NFU Mutual position was insurance based whilst the NFU role involved looking after farmers interests on both an individual and collective level.

Peter Keen
Peter is a semi-retired chartered accountant who has spent almost 40 years working in, or with, technology-based businesses primarily with a healthcare focus.  These businesses have included pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, drug delivery, mental health, clinical trials and medical equipment.  More recently he was a trustee for 8 years of the medical charity LifeArc which was involved in the original development of Keytruda, the world’s leading immunoncology drug.  He retired from full time employment having set up an investment fund supporting new businesses arising from the University of Cambridge and the local ecosystem but remains a director of a company which is transforming breast cancer surgery procedures and advises a UK government investment fund supporting the development of leading UK based research and technology, 50% of it in the healthcare space.

Nick Irish
Dr Nick Irish qualified from Guy’s Hospital in 1967 and after the preregistration year did a five-year Short Service Commission in the Royal Navy, serving in amongst other things a hydrographic survey ship and an attachment to the Fleet Air Arm. There followed 12 years in a very rural 2-man General Practice in North Dorset. A very far cry from today’s set up.
A complete change occurred on moving to Huntingdonshire to a combined post as a Medical Officer in Environmental Health advising the District Council on Infectious Disease Control and Environmental Hazards as well as Emergency Planning. The other half of the job was as a Specialist in Occupational Health advising employers on the effects of work on health and the fitness of employees to work. On retiring, some 10 years ago I have devoted myself to grandchildren, canoeing (and coracling) and the Mobility Aids Service of the British Red Cross.

Allen A. Schofield
Allen grew up in Cheshire.  His employment has been in Human Resources both in the UK and later in the Middle East.  His UK employment was initially in chain store management and then transferred to human resources management which became his career.  At this juncture he moved to Cambridgeshire joining a research organization again in a human resources capacity.  From there he joined one of the international electronics giants in HR and Industrial relations.  Then he moved to a major Middle East construction group again in the HR field headquartered in London. His overseas employment commenced with a major US construction corporation working on projects in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  Responsibilities were for human resource functions on specific construction project sites.  For the last forty years up to 2019, he was partnered in a United Arab Emirates (Dubai) based recruitment consultancy specializing in both management and skilled employment sourcing across the Gulf States & further afield.
Allen became part of this core committee group to constructively work through issues arising within the practice / patient domain.  With the support of the chairman and fellow core committee members it is hoped that solutions are reached positively.

Tina Yates
Tina Yates has spent most of her career in Environmental Research, first at Monks Wood, then latterly as a government advisor with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. On the way she has gained a degree in Biochemistry (having started studying pharmacy, and then switching) and then took time out to do an MSC in Equine Science. Her claim to fame is an ability to read x-rays and scans as quickly as any doctor, and a good knowledge of where drugs and procedures were developed for horses and then refined for human use. She also has experience of giving horses (and Alpacas!) injections, and thinks that all nurses should train on animals, as learning to inject without getting kicked or bitten makes you learn very quickly! Experience has included meeting ministers and Chief Scientific Advisors and acting as Education Officer at Monks Wood. She ended that career when her mother-in-law needed full time end of life care, and her experience of the health care system includes doing battle with adult social services and the balancing act of drug treatment for someone with multiple life limiting conditions.