The Primary Care Academy Team

Director of the academy

Dr Gill Tonge

I came to Rochdale in 1992 completing my VTS training at Castleton Health Centre and moving down the road to be a GP at Peterloo Medical Centre in 1996, for where I have remained ever since. In 2002 Peterloo Medical centre gained back training status for which we have been training a wide array of trainees ever since.

I represented Middleton on the LMC from 1997 -2004 through this I was involved in the teenager pregnancy task group, cervical cytology and maternity service committee.

In 2004 I became RCGP NWE sexual health course director and have ran courses across North West related to men, women’s and sexual health. Through this role, I have developed a cervical screening training package for GPST which is currently being evaluated nationally with a view to national rollout.

In 2007 I joined the Pennine GPST educator team and have been involved in training our next generation of GP’s on the patch since then.

I have been involved with a lot of the practices in the area, if not with my GPST training hat on, with other hats I have worn related to being a QoF assessor (2004-2006) and a local appraiser (2009-2011).

I have recently been appointed HMR Academy Director and Greater Manchester Training Hub NE sector clinical lead which is all about helping train, develop and enhance primary care for the whole of our workforce.

Aside from being a GP, I am trying to become an accomplished sailor and partake in a variety of outdoor activities (usually in the rain in the Lake District!)  with my husband, daughter and our chocolate Labrador.




Academy Manager 

Dawn O'Brien

I am the Manager of Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Academy. I started my career in the NHS 16 years ago working as a receptionist for a GP surgery in Hyde. After 5 years I then moved to an administrator role in the NHS working with a children’s team. After 7 years I then moved to Tameside Hospital as part of the Foundation Team working with junior doctors and their education and I was then offered a post setting up the new Enhanced Training Programme which was to look at the introduction of new roles within Primary Care and developing placements for undergraduate students with a view to encouraging them to consider a career in Primary Care. In July 2018 I was offered the opportunity to become the Manager of the HMR Primary Care Academy working with the wonderful Dr Gill Tonge and Rochdale Health Alliance, developing a team that will hopefully help change Primary Care across HMR! I have a passion for education and feel that with the team we are building then the Academy will go from strength to strength.

I am also mum to two wonderful children (most of the time), myself and my partner (Andy) are also foster parents to two other children and have fostered for 7 years, we recently added to the chaos with our adorable Morkie puppy Maggie. We enjoy walking and looking for dog friendly places to take Maggie Moo to explore!



Project Manager

Stephen Green

Steve joined PCA in January 2020 as a Project Manager. His role includes improvement projects, social media, organising events, editing the PCA monthly newsletter, and assisting with website management.

Steve has previous roles Radiology Project Manager for Pennine Acute NHS Trust, and Project Support for Health Innovation Manchester, whilst completing his MSC in Project Management.

Steve, has one daughter, has experience as a Healthcare Account Manager which involved training and installing new medical equipment in the NHS. My previous background also includes working in the pharmaceutical industry in GP and hospital settings.

He has been keen athlete in the past, and competed for Jamaica in two commonwealth game finals in 1994 and 1998. He also coaches athletics at a university level and assists with organising athletic events. 


Workforce Development Co-Ordinator

Alison Greensmith

The last 10 years have lead me down quite a few career paths. From 17 to 22 I worked as Healthcare Assistant in private care homes, whilst employed as an HCA I gained quite a few qualifications such as NVQ Level 2 & Level 3 in Health & Social Care, Safe Handling of Medication and an NVQ Level 2 in Domestic and COSHH. I found this role really set me up well for working in the NHS and has given me a good foundation to build relationships with other healthcare professionals. I knew the HCA role was no longer for me as much as the role is rewarding, it is also demanding, and I longed to work in an office-based environment. The years between care working and joining the NHS when I was 26 I worked at a handful of small part-time roles to ensure care for my two daughters were put first. Once my youngest was ready to attend nursey, I put myself first again and I applied for a Business & Administration apprenticeship at Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. Within my Apprenticeship role in the Education, Training & Development Team I really absorbed as much as I could I soon realised I have a love for education and apprenticeships, I was soon offered the Level 3 Business & Administrator and given the role of Learning & Organisational Development Coordinator running Apprenticeships, Initial Assessments and Functional Skills for the Trust’s workforce, also helping in Organisational Development and the Trust’s Corporate Welcomes.

I have recently moved over to HMR Primary Care Academy as a Workforce Development Coordinator to upskill myself further into the world of Primary Care. I am excited to get into the role, working on Apprenticeships, Work Experience, Functional Skills and Traineeships! I can definitely see my future staying in ET&D as helping to upskill people is great!


I.T Trainer

Joe Jones

I have always worked in I.T. throughout my career, which enabled me to set up a computer business, which I ran successfully for over 10 years, I am also a trained HGV driver.

In 2009 I moved abroad for 7 years and lived in Brussels, Belgium. This allowed me quality time bringing up my 3 boys, now men - which I missed, having to work long hours during their early years.
Myself and the kids moved back to the UK in 2016, and I soon began working within the NHS in I.T. for the Community District Nurses, from this I have gained this position working with Primary Care Academy.

I live with my partner Melanie and between us have 7 children (kidults), very busy household !!
Any of our spare time (if any!) consists of running around for the kids and walking our pet child "Buddy the Schnoodle".


Practice Education Facilitator

Deborah Holden

My career in nursing started in 2000 as an RGN at North Manchester General Hospital. I specialised as an Intensive Care Nurse for 9 years before moving on to working for skills for health, a non-profit organisation supporting commissioned and non-commissioned health care programme across the North West. In 2017 I joined Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust to support the legacy Trainee Nursing Associate Programme. I then had the opportunity to join the PEF team and continue to support TNA's and other pre-registration programmes across Midwifery, the acute and community hospital. 

I entered nursing as a mature student and have experienced a fulfilling career as well as bringing up a family. It has given me opportunities and sent me in directions I could never have imagined. The passion that I have for the profession and workforce development gets stronger as I continue to progress into my new venture the HMR Primary Care Academy.


Practice Education Facilitator

Jenni Etchells

I started my career in a busy London teaching hospital but I always knew I wanted to be based in the community. For 8 years I worked as a Children's Community Nurse in a wonderful team in Hertfordshire where I obtained my MSc in Specialist Community Nursing. I also completed the Clinical Practice Teacher course which allowed me to support pre-registration students, community nurses and students on the post-graduate specialist community course.

I then moved up North with my family where I briefly worked in the private sector for Lloyds Pharmacy Clinical Homecare. Fast forward to now, I am excited to be working as a PEF for the Primary Care Academy to support students and link between primary care placements and universities in Manchester. I am also looking forward to supporting and growing the nursing workforce in Primary Care through education, training and development opportunities.

At home I absolutely love spending time with my two young daughters where we are frequent visitors to parks and coffee shops for some toast or cake(s). I also enjoy a bit of peace with a spin class or a run!


Practice Education Facilitator

Josie Hynes

I have a passion for the education and development of the health and social care workforce which began during my time working in the dental industry as a Dental Nurse and Practice Manager. I managed mixed NHS/Private practices and supported the development of clinical and non-clinical staff to reach their potential and progress in their careers. 
I was able to further develop my skills when I joined the Skills for Health Academy supporting Clinical and Non-Clinical programmes across Greater Manchester. It was a privilege to be a part of the career journeys of so many people starting their career in a variety of job roles. During my time at the academy, I supported training programmes in Primary Care (GP and Dental) and acute hospital trusts.  
I then joined the North West Placement Development Network as a Placement Development Manager. In this role, I worked closely with GP Practices and Social Care providers to open up placement opportunities for student nurses and Allied Health Professionals. 
My next role was with the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Careers Hub as a Coordinator. I worked with various stakeholders such as schools, colleges, universities, job centres and adult education to raise awareness of the opportunities available in Greater Manchester for a rewarding health & social care career. Supporting people to be able to start their journey/change career/return to practice was very rewarding. The role was very varied as I worked with all age ranges from primary school children to adults. 
I am delighted to have now joined the HMR Primary Care Academy as a Practice Education Facilitator. I am looking forward to further developing my passion for education and development. I look forward to working with local health & social care organisations to support the development of their current and future workforce.


Allocations Coordinator

Laura O'Brien

The first job I had was working as a team member at Gregg's, however; I knew I didn't want to be serving pasties my whole life. When I was 19 I began working at Greater Manchester Police as an Apprentice Operational Support Officer. During my 3 years there I gained an NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service and a Level 3 Diploma in Business and Administration. In 2016 I left the police and moved to live with my partner in Porto, Portugal. During the 2 years I lived in Portugal, I worked as a Technical Advisor for AppleCare and spent a lot of time at the beach!! After returning to the UK I began working for Rochdale Health Alliance which led me onto working with The Primary Care Academy.
I enjoy spending time with my family and socialising with friends (usually while drinking a few gin and tonics!). I own a Miniature Dachshund called Ralph who I love taking for walks and giving lots of cuddles. I am interested in health and fitness... while still baking sweet treats and binge-watching series on Netflix.


Education & Training Co-Ordinator

Helena Stone

At the age of 16, I started working in a nursery setting and I qualified as a Nursery Nurse when I was 18. I continued to work in settings around Greater Manchester until I was 21 which I then decided I wanted to travel. I took a job with Thompson as a children's rep and did one season out in Turkey. I was then offered a job with Carnival UK on the cruise ships and this was an amazing experience as I got to travel and see the wonders of the world whilst making children's holidays extra fun. I did this for 5 years and I decided I wanted to do something completely different!

I became a bar manager and although I really enjoyed this job, I didn't see it as my future career and this has led me to the Primary Care Academy. I enjoy socialising with friends and family and going on relaxing beach holidays.. feet in the sand with a cocktail in hand!


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