Last updated:13th October 2016

Council of Management

The Council of Management comprises AS patients and health professionals 

Vice Presidents:

Dr Andrei Calin MRCP FRCP (1985)

Following a distinguished career in rheumatology, Dr Calin retired in 2002. During his career he won 12 prizes, scholarships and awards; held honorary and scholastic memberships of 9 national and international medical boards; has served on over 20 committees and editorial boards; has produced chapters in many books; has been editor of two important textbooks on AS; and has written over 300 original and review articles and abstracts on AS. Dr Calin has had a long association with NASS having held the post of Chairman from 1985 until 2003. Dr Calin was elected Vice President at the 34th Annual General Meeting held on 18 June 2011 in recognition of his services to NASS.

Hedley Hamilton (2004)

Hedley Hamilton was Chairman and Treasurer of the NASS Lewisham branch before being elected to the NASS Council in 2004 and invited to take the post of Chair in 2007. He stepped down as Chairman in 2014 after 6 successful years in the role, and will remain on the Council of Management as a Co-opted member. Since 2011 Hedley has been Vice President of the Ankylosing Spondylitis International Federation (ASIF).


Dr Richard Jacoby MD FRCP (1976)

Richard is a retired rheumatology consultant. He has enjoyed a long association with NASS having been on the NASS committee since its inception in 1976 and involved in setting up the organisation with the first director and founder Dr Allan St John Dixon. He wrote the first Guide Book for NASS and set up the first meeting outside London in 1978.


Raj Mahapatra (2014)

Having been a regular fundraiser for NASS for the previous 5 years, Raj Mahapatra was elected Chair in June 2014. Raj was diagnosed with AS in 1994 but only discovered NASS in 2009 after having discovered a pain management regime that allows him to revisit his passion for running, something he now does on a daily basis. Raj is married with two children.


Simon Frost (2008)

Simon has wide experience in the corporate sector having trained as an accountant before pursuing a career in banking and finance holding a number of senior executive positions with several large corporate companies. He currently operates as an independent business consultant for a wide variety of corporate clients. Simon also has wide experience in the charity sector both as auditor and as Trustee: he is currently Chairman of St John Ambulance, Berkshire, and Secretary of the Yeomanry Benevolent Fund, a small military charity with national reach. He was appointed Treasurer of NASS in 2008.

Elected Members

Stephen Dean (2007)

Stephen has had AS for over 40 years, (including most of the associated conditions). He has been a member of NASS since the formation of the Brighton Branch of NASS in 1984 and chairman of the Brighton Branch since 1990. He has also undergone treatment for AS at the RNHRD on a regular basis since 1991 and wishes to see this wonderful facility continue to develop progressive treatment regimes for AS.

Eric N C Eustance (1985)

Eric is a Chartered Management Accountant and Corporate Treasurer now retired. He was diagnosed with AS in 1967 after many years of discomfort. A member of NASS since 1985 and a member of Council since 1992 serving as NASS Treasurer until Simon Frost took over in 2008. Eric is an ethusiastic proponent of hydrotherapy for the management of AS.


Dr Karl Gaffney (2010)

Karl Gaffney has been a Consultant Rheumatologist in Norwich for 15 years where he has established a large multidisciplinary spondyloarthropathy clinic and has worked closely with the local NASS Norwich group which was founded in 1988. He is also Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of East Anglia; founder member of the UK Spondyloarthropathy Research Group; medical advisor to NASS; co-author of the NASS report "Looking Ahead: Best practice for the care of people with Ankylosing Spondylitis"; co-author of the BSR Guidelines on anti-TNF therapy for AS; and has represented the British Society of Rheumatology at the NICE appraisal of anti-TNF for AS.  He has published widely in the field and been an invited speaker at many National and International meetings.

Claire Harris (2007)

Claire qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist in 1984 at St Mary's Hospital, London. Claire has worked at Northwick Park Hospital since 1996 where she is a part-time Senior Physiotherapist in the AS clinic and runs the local NASS group. Her current responsibilities include the assessment of AS patients being treated with anti-TNF and AS education groups. Claire is also Chair of AStretch, a group of UK physiotherapists that steer the management and improve the understanding of AS. Claire has been a trustee of NASS since 2007.


Ben Hoare (2009)

Ben's symptoms of AS started in 1993, when he was 20 years old and at university. He was diagnosed three years later. Over the following decade his AS has had a huge impact on him socially, professionally and financially, so he has extensive first-hand experience of the many difficulties that young people with the condition face every day of their lives. Ben's story has a happy ending, because he is fortunate to be receiving a treatment that works for him.Ben has been working with NASS on a variety of projects including the website and more recently, AS News. Ben works as a writer and editor and is currently employed by the BBC.


Dr Andrew Keat (2009)

Dr Keat is Consultant Physician and Rheumatologist at Northwick Park and St Mark's Hospitals NHS Trust; Honorary Consultant Physician at Hammersmith Hospitals Trust and Honorary Consultant in Rheumatology at St Mary's Hospital NHS Trust. He has received many prestigious awards throughout his career; is a member of various learned societies and economic bodies; and has lectured extensively and written widely on AS. Dr Keat joined the NASS Council of Management as a Co-opted Member in 2009 and stands on the NASS Medical Advisory Board. He was co-author of the NASS report "Looking Ahead: Best practice for the care of people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS)". Dr Keat was elected to stand as an Ordinary Member of the Council of Management in 2011.


Ruth Miller (2010)

Ruth was diagnosed with AS in the late 1980s, but, like many others, had undoubtedly had the disease for several years prior to this. Following her diagnosis Ruth joined NASS and attended the Bath branch - until the Salisbury branch was formed in 1997. Ruth was formerly the branch contact and was for a number of years Treasurer. She has been an in patient at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath on a number of occasions which has had a huge impact on her understanding of AS, allowing Ruth to meet a wonderful variety of fellow patients and to appreciate the numerous ways that AS can affect people's lives.

Grant Poiner (2011)

Grant Poiner joined NASS in 2008 and is a member of the NASS Branch in Swansea. He was diagnosed with AS when he was 16 years old. He has tried various treatments and was in a great deal of discomfort until he was recently placed on an anti TNF treatment which has transformed his life.

Grant works full time as a Training Development Co-ordinator for a youth work organisation and is currently undertaking an MA in Youth Work. He is also a member of various Executive meetings particularly CWVYS (Council in Wales for Voluntary Youth Services). He has 3 young children and tries to live life as normally as possible. Grant was elected to the Council of Management as an Ordinary Member in 2011. 

Raj Sengupta (2011)

Dr Raj Sengupta is a Consultant Rheumatologist at The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath (RNRHD) and The BMI Bath Clinic in Bath. Dr Sengupta completed his specialty training in Bath and Bristol. His specialist and research interests are in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and he has published on the subject in peer reviewed international journals. Dr Sengupta is the Lead Consultant for AS, Biologic Therapies and the MDEMO Education program at the RNHRD. He is Co Chair of the BSR Spondyloarthritis Special Interest Group and has memberships with the Royal College of Physicians, British Society for Rheumatology, Medical Protection Society, National Osteoporosis Society and the Royal Society of Medicine. Dr Sengupta joined NASS as a member in 2010 and was appointed to the Council of Management as a Co-Opted Member in 2011, and then elected as an Ordinary Member in 2014.


Roger Stevens (2013)

Roger Stevens was diagnosed with AS in 1992  Anti-TNF medication has really helped his mobility over the last few years, although he still suffers from other MSK difficulties. Roger joined the Portsmouth branch of NASS in 1996, a move he says changed his life. He joined the branch committee in 2000 and became chairman in 2009/10. Since Roger became chairman the branch has doubled its effective attendance and started a 3rd group in 2013. He is a volunteer at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, and is now part of the Portsmouth hospitals rheumatology AS Working Group, is the new joint chairman of the Southern ARMA (Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance) and has assisted in the development of the new AS Personal Care Plan and provides the patient viewpoint session during local AS day-time courses held at Queen Alexandra Hospital. As a career, Roger ran a logistics division in Portsmouth Naval Base and spent 31 years supporting the Fleet before leaving in Sept 2013. Having spent many years as a Scout Leader, in 2008 he left the movement after 28 years as a leader and some 600 plus nights under canvas!

Peter Wheatley-Price (2007)

Peter's symptoms of AS started in his 20's. He cares passionately about improving the diagnosis of AS and ensuring that patients are easily able to access disease modifying medicines should they be clinically appropriate. Peter qualified as a Registered General Nurse in Oxford and following 7 years in the NHS he left to enter University as a mature student where he gained an International Business Studies degree with French. Since then he has worked for a number of pharmaceutical companies. Peter is married with two daughters and a Springer spaniel. In an effort to stay fit and flexible he walks the dog, mountain bikes and plays squash.

Professor Paul Wordsworth MA, FRCP (2006)

Paul Wordsworth qualified in medicine in 1975 and trained in general internal medicine in London prior to specialist training in rheumatology in 1981. He completed training in the Oxford Region where he was appointed to a Senior Research Fellowship and Honorary Consultant position in 1987. Subsequently, he was appointed Clinical Reader in Rheumatology in 1992 and elected to a Personal Chair in 1998.  His main research interests are in the genetic basis of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, ranging from rare monogenic developmental disorders through to common polygenic diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis. He has authored or co-authored more than 250 original papers. He has run the clinical trials unit at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford for the past 10 years, including several studies of biologic agents in AS. He is a founder member of two major research consortia for AS, the International Genetics of AS (IGAS) and the Australo-Anglo-American (Triple A) Spondylitis Consortium (TASC). Professor Wordsworth was associated with NASS for many years before being appointed to the Council of Management in 2006 as a Co-opted Member and, more recently, as an Ordinary Member.

Co-opted Members:

Gillian Eames (2015)

Gillian has lived with AS for over 30 years. With the support of NASS and the RNHRD in Bath she has stayed in control of her AS. She was medically retired from Local Government in 1999 which had a huge impact on her life. Gillian spends a lot of time helping other AS patients find the right help and support. 

Jean Morton (2015)

Jean was diagnosed with AS in 2001, aged 39, although her symptoms had started in her early twenties. In 2004 after much encouragement from her Physiotherapist and Consultant Jean joined NASS, and made a huge decision of joining the NASS Glasgow Gartnavel Group! Both of these "leaps of faith" were a turning point for Jean. She took over as Chair of NASS Glasgow Gartnavel in 2010 and her main aim is to raise awareness of AS, not just in Rheumatology, but in orthopedic departments, GP surgeries and among Physiotherapists.


Pete Townsend (2015)

Pete joined NASS in 1997 and has been a member of the Grimsby Branch since its establishment in 2004. He was heavily involved in the campaign to try to stop the closure of the hydrotherapy pool at the hospital. He first showed symptoms of AS in 1977 and was eventually diagnosed some 4 years later. Pete worked for many years as a manager within the NHS, initially in finance before moving into commissioning. He has held roles at director and deputy director level. Experience includes involvement in assessing high cost drugs and treatments, improving GP and public awareness and development of care pathways, all of which can be used to assist NASS in developing its role.

Tim Warburton (2015)

After many years with chronic and debilitating lower back pain Tim was diagnosed with AS in 2008. After being put on Humira, and joining the local NASS Exercise group, Tim found that he was able to manage life with AS, rather than letting AS manage his life for him. In 2013 he took over as Chair of the NASS - Basingstoke Branch and was co-opted as a trustee in 2015.
Outside of NASS, Tim runs a successful Project Management Consultancy specialising in Construction and Major Infrastructure and Projects.