Meet the judges

The multidisciplinary panel of judges comprises leading healthcare professionals, charity, patient group and industry representatives working in cancer care.

The Chair of Judges is Dr Pauline Leonard, Lead Cancer Clinician & Consultant Medical Oncologist, Whittington Health. Vice chair Dr Jesme Fox, Medical Director Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

Previous judges include:

Dr David Dunlop trained in internal medicine and medical oncology in Edinburgh, Leeds, Calgary and Glasgow. He was appointed as a consultant in medical oncology in 1995 and quickly established himself in thoracic oncology clinical trials which he still recruits to today.

Having been in several leadership and management roles in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde he was appointed as Clinical Director of West of Scotland Cancer Services in 2009, and then inherited Clinical Haematology in 2012. He has chaired many regional and national groups on service redesign and has participated in the NHS Scotland National Clinical Leadership Development Programme. He is current Chair of the RCP Joint Specialty Committee for Medical Oncology, sits on the UK Chemotherapy Board and is also Senior Medical Officer in Scottish Government with a national responsibility for cancer services. He Chairs the National Cancer Clinical Services Group for the Scottish Government Health Department.

He has had career long involvement in teaching, training, research and cancer service redesign.

Dr Jesme Fox is Medical Director of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. She joined the  Foundation in November 1998, having previously spent 7 years in Medical Oncology at the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow. As Director of Patient Care, she established the Foundation’s work in lung cancer patient information, support and advocacy.  Since 2005, she has held the post of Medical Director. She regularly provides comment to a variety of TV, radio and print media. She has written many articles, raising public awareness of this disease and focusing on lung cancer patient issues. She leads the Foundation’s Policy work and work associated with its Lung Cancer Research Grants portfolio.

Much of her time is dedicated to reflecting the views of lung cancer patients on key committees and at key meetings, both in the UK and abroad. Amongst her committee work, she is an elected steering group member of the Cancer Campaigning Group. At an international level, she regularly presents on lung cancer issues. She is the secretary of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition of advocacy organisations and is currently a member of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s Education, Tobacco Control and Advocacy Committees.

Dany qualified as a nurse in 1986 in Suffolk, initially working within the surgical specialty. In 1990 became ward sister on a ward caring for people having major surgery for upper GI, colorectal and urological cancers. Becoming interested in palliative care undertook the Diploma in Palliative Care at Homerton University, then in 1995 became a ward sister in a hospice in Wales.

In 1997 was appointed team leader for a specialist palliative care team in a large teaching hospital in Bristol (North Bristol NHS Trust) working clinically as well as managing the service across a 2 site organisation. This was an unusually senior role for an acute Trust and sat alongside the Heads of Nursing within the Trust.

In 2002 was successful in completing an MSc in Pain Management at University College of Medicine in Cardiff, with her dissertation being an exploration opiate use in renal impairment as the trust has a very busy renal unit that the palliative care team worked closely with for cancer and non cancer diagnosis’ .

In 2003 appointed as Lead Cancer Nurse in the Trust and in 2004 took on joint Cancer Manager and Lead Cancer Nurse role for the Trust. Dany continued to undertake this role until undertook a secondment as Head of Operations in May 2012 supporting the 4 hour emergency access target work and daily operational activity within the Trust. Alongside this still continued to oversee cancer programme as Cancer Manager supported by a full time Lead Cancer Nurse.

In May 2014 took up post with Macmillan Cancer Support based in the UK Office as National Programme Lead for Treatment and Recovery and is responsible for development of strategy around treatment, recovery and living with and beyond cancer.

Dany now lives in North Yorkshire with her husband and Son.

Germ Cell Clinical Nurse Specialist BSc Hons, RGN, EN, became an Enrolled nurse in 1980 in Norfolk, continued to work in Essex for a few years and then moved to the West Country in 1989. She then registered, and completed her degree some years later. Worked in acute medicine for many years before specialising in oncology 1994 working as a chemotherapy nurse in Weston Super Mare, she then moved to the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre to work as a research nurse. Sue then took up the post of Germ Cell CNS for the South West of England and found her passion. While in post worked to improve the service for men and guided the team (Bristol Testicular Cancer Service) to be commended in 2010 for Team of the Year. She then completed a post graduate certificate in caring for teenagers and young adults with cancer at Coventry University. While working within the BTCS co-founded It’s in the Bag a charity who were awarded charity Initiative of the year in 2012.

Sue is passionate about using patient experience to guide practice and changing the patient pathway accordingly. She is currently on the NCRI Clinical Studies Group for Testis, sub-group for Quality of Life and Screening, Prevention and Early Diagnosis. Sue is currently the chair of the recently formed UKONS Germ Cell Members Interest Group and working together with other testicular cancer charities to form the Testicular Cancer Coalition to ensure a high standard of testicular cancer awareness and encouragement of self-checking.

Consultant Clinical Oncologist
Kent Oncology Centre
Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

Russell Burcombe qualified at The London Hospital in 1985. He trained in oncology at Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, The Middlesex and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals before becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists in 1998.

He completed an MD Research Fellowship in prediction of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer Mount Vernon’s Gray Laboratory in 2001.

He sought new horizons and more experience as consultant Radiation Oncologist in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2002 before being appointed consultant Clinical Oncologist at the Kent Oncology Centre in 2004As well as running a busy clinical practice treating breast and lung cancers, Dr Burcombe takes a special interest in providing patient-friendly information for patients.

The innovative Breast Radiotherapy Information film he created was awarded first prize for Best Patient Support Initiative at the UK Excellence in Oncology Awards, 2012.

This was followed, in 2014, by a film on chemotherapy, now used widely to educate patients in Kent and endorsed by the UK Chemotherapy Partnership.

As Trustee of a local charity, Breast Cancer Kent, he has been closely involved in fundraising to provide state-of-the-art equipment for the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells (MTW) Breast Care Centre.

Two ‘Hospital Heroes’ awards by the Kent Courier and Kent Messenger newspapers, nominated by patients, rewarded his commitment to personalised clinical care in 2013.

More recently, he has worked closely with Macmillan, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now to promote and improve the metastatic breast cancer service at MTW.

He continues to run a programme of clinical audit and research, with publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at national breast and lung cancer meetings.

Susanne is a Reader in Cancer Nursing at Edinburgh Napier University and Chair of the Cancer and Breast Care Forum, Royal College of Nursing. Susanne qualified in 1987 and has always worked in the field of oncology/haematology.  Clinically her career started caring for people undergoing surgery for head and neck cancer then moved into haematology and transplantation, and then breast cancer surgery.  In 1996 she took up a position as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in NHS Borders and established a nurse-led chemotherapy service. 

She joined the University in 2003 and works closely with colleagues across the UK to undertake clinically based research that focuses on the person with cancer, their experiences and interventions that can enhance recovery.  She provides education to different professional and patient groups to increase awareness, understanding and knowledge about cancer.

Susanne currently co-leads the National Evaluation of the “Transforming Care after Treatment Programme”, a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support, the Scottish Government and Third sector that seeks to improve the after care and support for people living with and beyond cancer in Scotland.  She is the nurse representative on the Scottish Advisory Board for Breast Cancer Now, works closely with Myeloma UK and Breast Cancer Care, and is involved with the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care.   She has published and presented widely

Liz’s interests within lung cancer have always focused on developing the nursing contribution, within the multidisciplinary team, to improve outcomes but also the patient and carer experience across the whole cancer pathway.

To meet demand locally and nationally Liz developed an interest in Mesothelioma which resulted in the establishment of Mesothelioma UK, the National Macmillan Mesothelioma Resource Centre. Liz is currently a Consultant Nurse and clinical lead for Mesothelioma UK which has established itself as an essential part of the UK Mesothelioma landscape; a centre of excellence providing mesothelioma information, support and education.

Liz is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the DeMontfort University, Leicester and Associate Lecturer at the Royal Marsden School of Cancer Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Dr Paul Fenton graduated from St. Anne’s College, Oxford in 1998 and from Guy’s and St. Thomas’ School of Medicine in 2001. He gained MRCP in 2005 and FRCR in 2011, completing Clinical Oncology Specialist Training in 2012. From June 2009- July 2010 he was the Emmanuel van der Schueren  Fellow at the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters in Brussels investigating quality assurance and late toxicity in international multicentre radiotherapy clinical trials.

In 2012 he was appointed as a Consultant at University Hospital Southampton, specialising in Thoracic Malignancies and in Acute Oncology. He was the Lead for Acute Oncology until 2015 and remains strongly involved in the Acute Oncology Lead team. He is the Chair of the Wessex Strategic Clinical Network Acute Oncology Group and a member of the Wessex SCN Steering Group.

He has an interest in innovative service development and training, acting both as SHO-level Junior Doctor Lead for Cancer Care at UHS and as a Clinical Supervisor for the Macmillan Advanced Nurse Practitioner Training Scheme at UHS. He also has a strong commitment to clinical research and technical radiotherapy development and with the Lung Cancer Clinical Oncology Team at UHS has implemented 4D treatment planning, intensity-modulated image-guided radiotherapy and is leading the development of stereotactic lung radiotherapy. He is leading a project which was recently successful in obtaining a substantial award from The Health Foundation to design and implement an innovative combined radiotherapy and palliative medicine rapid access clinic at UHS.

Jacquie Fraser was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in 2008 when she was just 57 years old. Since then she has received various combinations of chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as RFA ablation and a more recent resection for liver metastases. She is a long-term supporter of Beating Bowel Cancer, offering telephone support to other bowel cancer patients as well as representing the charity on the NICE review of aflibercept in 2013 (a drug she also later received as a patient).

Mairead Griffin is a member of the London Cancer Clinical Leadership Advisory Group for the London Cancer Programme.

With her belief in the importance of expert cancer nursing care and developing the careers of oncology nurses, she has successfully promoted the use of clinical nurse specialists, advanced nurse practitioners and nurse consultants at the Integrated Cancer Centre.

Mairead has also been a driving force behind patient-centred care and the focus on improving the experience of every cancer patient at Guy's and St Thomas' and is the co-chair of the London Cancer Alliance's Lead Cancer Nurses Group.

Dr Pauline Leonard graduated from St George’s Hospital Medical School in 1992 having started as a mature student in 1987. She obtained her MRCP in 1995 and within a few months started her specialist training as a Medical Oncologist at UCLH.  She completed a MD in gene expression profiling in Osteosarcoma at UCL before taking up her first consultant role in 2002 at Southend University NHS Foundation Trust sub specialising in gastrointestinal (GI) and lung malignancy.

After 7 years working in both a cancer centre and as a visiting oncologist to a cancer unit she took up her current post as Lead Cancer Clinician at the Whittington Hospital in April 2009. She incorporated the learning from her previous post and ran a 6 month Acute Oncology pilot in 2009 the results of which demonstrated that sick patients who present to the emergency department with either a known or suspected cancer benefit from earlier Oncological intervention.  She believes acute medical & surgical teams can work more effectively by incorporating the specialist skills of an oncologist to help manage patients who present with suspected cancer so tailoring more appropriate investigations.

She believes the results of well thought out solution focussed projects completed to address the local needs can influence the wider health landscape not just for patients but commissioners of value based care

She is also has very keen interest in the importance of excellent communication skills on the quality and outcomes of patient/health care professional consultations.

Jackie is a superintendent pharmacist director of her own community pharmacy which has, this year, won three awards in relation to our Cancer Care Service and improved communication on discharge of complex care patients from hospital.  She has worked in many pharmacy disciplines, starting her career at the Royal Free Hospital in London, moving on to complete a PhD in targeting anti-cancer drugs at De Montfort University, then on to formulation science in the Pharmaceutical Industry and eventually to purchasing her own pharmacy in Devon.

She is passionate about pharmacy and helping her patients in the community setting and has a special interest in combining this with her oncology experience. She is also currently serving on the British Oncology Pharmacy (BOPA) committee as a Private Provider member.

Dara is President of BASO Trainees, TUF Scholar, and recipient of the EFSMA European Young Investigator Award. He is currently a Urology Research Fellow, with further interests and expertise ranging from sports medicine, risk analysis and change management. He recently defended his PhD thesis on Risk and Strategy in the field of Prostate Cancer and was awarded numerous accolades for this body of work.

Jane Lyons is CEO of Cancer52, an alliance of more than 80 largely small patient support group charities working in the field of rare and less common cancer. She has worked for Cancer52 for more than three years and before that was CEO of the women's gynaecological cancer charity The Eve Appeal. Jane's earlier years were spent in the communications field and she has been a director of top ten consultancies, run her own for more than a decade, and worked at a senior level in house.

As Scientific and Managing Director, David leads Interactive Pharma Solutions, ensuring that solutions are both innovative and scalable to meet client needs. David has over 10 years’ experience working in-house at blue chip pharmaceutical companies and has held roles across sales, training, marketing, digital and franchise head managing products across all aspects of their lifecycle.

Principal Pharmacist Paediatric Oncology, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Sutton.

Dr Peake’s main current role is as the Clinical Lead for Public Health England’s National Cancer Intelligence Network where he oversees the clinical understanding and analysis of UK-wide population data on cancer. He is an Honorary Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine for the University Hospitals of Leicester and has had a major interest in lung cancer and mesothelioma for many years. He is co-clinical Lead for the National Lung Cancer Audit in the Royal College of Physicians, where he is Associate Director of the Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit. He was National Clinical Lead for Ling Cancer and for NHS Cancer Improvement until the dissolution of the organisation in the NHS reforms. Amongst other roles he is a member of the steering group of the British Thoracic Oncology Group, chair of Mesothelioma UK and a member of the National Advisory Group for Clinical Audit and Enquiries. He has been involved in the development and implementation of national cancer policy since the late 1990s. He has published widely with his major interests being in early diagnosis and improving outcomes for cancer patients by proper service configuration, supported by good clinical outcome data.

Dr. Emma Pennery CBE is Clinical Director at the UK charity Breast Cancer Care. Prior to this she worked as a Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist, Honorary Lecturer and Clinical Research Fellow at The Royal Marsden Hospital and The Institute of Cancer Research.

She completed her PhD in 2005. She lectures widely at national and international conferences, sits on various expert management groups and regularly acts in a consultative role to the Department of Health and the Royal College of Nursing.

She contributes extensively to the development and delivery of Breast Cancer Care’s information, services and policy work and heads up the national Nursing Network and healthcare professional training programme.

Dr Mark Saunders, MBBS, MRCP, FRCR, PhD, received his medical degree from Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK, in 1986 and followed this with further training at teaching hospitals in London. He spent 5 years working in general medicine before specialising in oncology, first at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford and later at The Christie in Manchester. During his time as an Imperial Cancer Research Fund Fellow at the Churchill Hospital, Dr Saunders gained a Medical Research Council (MRC) grant to fund work that led to his PhD, entitled “The application of gene therapy to selectively enhance tumor cell kill by bioreductive drugs”, which he completed in 1999. He was the recipient of the Karol Sicher Research Fellowship, awarded by the UK Royal College of Radiologists, which allowed him to spend 3 months working with Professor Ralph Weichselbaum at the University of Chicago. He was made a consultant at The Christie in 1999.

His main area of interest is running clinical trials evaluating novel agents with associated response / toxicity biomarkers and radiology (colorectal cancer, anal cancer, and pseudomyxoma). He has written a series of protocols for clinical trials that have been funded, completed and published. He also chairs or is a member of a number of Trial Management Groups (TMGs) and Data Monitoring Committees (DMCs). Dr Saunders is a member of number of NCRN and CRUK committees and chairs the Northern Cancer Drug Fund (CDF) committee. He is also an advisor to Beating Bowel Cancer, a charity dedicated to raising awareness of bowel cancer, improving the quality of life of those affected and, ultimately, reducing deaths from bowel cancer.

Amy Smith (Bsc) After qualifying as a dietitian in 2006, Amy worked at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, where she specialised in nutrition support and gastroenterology and continued to work in these specialist areas at Aintree Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Amy became interested in communication skills and worked within the area of eating disorders, gaining knowledge in cognitive behavioural methods and mindful eating. Amy is currently working as a specialist oncology team leader dietitian at the Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which the largest single sited cancer centre in Europe. Her role involves providing a wide range of nutritional support and dietary education to patients in all parts of the cancer pathway predominantly working with patients who have head and neck and haematological malignancies.

Martin Whitehead has over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He is national policy and access manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) working on the company’s expanding oncology portfolio. He has worked at BMS for ten years holding a number of access-related roles, including managing a team of healthcare managers. Previously Martin worked for three other major pharmaceutical companies in a range of roles working directly with the NHS at a variety of levels, including hospitals and Primary Care Trusts.

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