We have nine members who make up our Physio First executive committee and three of our team who sit on it as advisors.

It is our committee’s role to run and guide our organisation in response to our members’ needs and views and in support of championing evidence-based, private physiotherapy in the changing healthcare marketplace.

Our executive committee meets four times a year.


Meet the executive


Pam Simpson MCSP

Pam has been a member of Physio First for 35 years. She took over as Chairman in 2015 having already served for seven years on our executive, including five years on our PR sub-committee, and three of those as the PR sub-committee Chairman. She has been a volunteer for Physio First for 12 years.

Pam worked as a physio in three sectors before starting her own business. She worked in the NHS and in both the private and third sector, focusing on neurology and the care of the elderly in nursing homes for 10 years. She is Physio First’s only Chairman so far, not to have worked as a musculoskeletal (MSK) practitioner.

Although no longer involved in clinical practice, Pam runs a physiotherapy business that delivers training and consultancy in the complex areas of patient handling, as well as acting as an expert witness and undertaking complex assessments.

Pam said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be chairman of Physio First. The experience fluctuates from scary to exciting, to overwhelming, but it’s certainly never dull. To lead such an awesome organisation with such huge ambition, drive and commitment is a real honour.”

“Enabling Physio First and all of us as members, to provide evidenced-based, quality private physiotherapy is an exciting challenge. We have a considered and robust business plan with nine clear goals that will enable us to achieve our vision in the next two years.”

“For all of us as individual members, and collectively, our work in this area is a major step forward in making Physio First a valued, trusted and respected organisation in the commercial and healthcare marketplace.”

Vice Chairman and Commercial Officer

Karen Willcock MCSP

Karen has been involved with Physio First since 2011, starting as a Regional Officer for Mercia region. She then became our Regional Officer Representative on our executive committee and served on our education sub-committee, which she chaired from 2015.

Having run her own private practice for 20 years, Karen sold her business and joined forces with a larger group. She now works as a part-time associate with clinical input in musculoskeletal disorders, (MSK).

Karen has worked in MSK both in the NHS, abroad and privately. She is a clinical educator for local university undergraduate programmes, providing practice placements for students. Her specialisms include injection therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and acupuncture.

General Secretary

Paul Donnelly

Paul has been General Secretary of Physio First for more than 15 years. His role involves acting as advisor to our executive committee, liaising closely with our Chairman and leading Physio First to establishing private practitioner owned co-operatives.

Paul’s role as General Secretary could more accurately be entitled “chameleon”, so varied has it been over his 15 years with Physio First. The consistent element has always been as close advisor to our executive committee with, and through our Chairman. A solicitor by profession and a litigator by specialism, the role of advisor has never been a foreign one to Paul – as he says: “Being a non-voting member of our executive is exactly the same as representing my clients. It is always their case I am putting forward, not mine.”

In 2015 Paul’s role became more specific as coach to our Chairman, Pam with whom he studies the marketplace and meets representatives from it. His role adapted again in 2016 to lead on Physio First’s Goal 9 and help establish one or more private practitioner owned cooperatives that can enable members who choose to join it have an impact on the healthcare marketplace.

Honorary Membership Officer

Richard Hulbert MCSP

Richard joined Physio First in 2008 and was appointed to our executive committee at our 2016 AGM. He has been a member of our membership sub-committee since 2013, when it was originally our PR sub-committee.

At 30, Richard is the youngest member of our executive.  He joined Physio First after taking ownership of the practice where he had been working part-time.

Richard had qualified from the University of Bradford only two years earlier and was the first to admit he was a reasonably inexperienced physio at the time. 

Juggling the running of a busy clinic, entering the business environment and trying to advance his clinical skills – simultaneously – was a major challenge, especially with no mentor.

Richard said: “If it was not for Physio First I’m not sure how I would have survived those first few years. The financial climate at the time was not good and the practice wasn’t in the most affluent area of the country.”

“Being a Physio First member meant I received some much-valued support which resulted in me joining a sub-committee. Since then I have built many professional relationships with other physio colleagues, not to mention friendships, and gained a greater understanding of private physiotherapy as a whole.”

In his spare time Richard, who is married to Lauren, likes to keep fit in the gym, play squash and five-a-side football. One of his biggest passions is travelling and he spends much of his annual leave visiting all corners of the globe, often while following the England national football team!

Education and Research Officer

Amanda Marsh MCSP

Amanda was inspired to join our London region of Physio First (then the OCPPP) after attending our 2005 annual conference. In 2008 she embarked on her first term as our Regional Officer for London and joined our conference committee in 2011, becoming conference Chairman in 2014, before taking on the chairmanship of our merged education and conference sub-committees in 2016.

With more than 25 years of physiotherapy experience, Amanda has worked in both the private and NHS sector in the UK and overseas, most recently as a manager at Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital in London.

She has post-graduate qualifications in sports physiotherapy, acupuncture and Pilates training and a special interest in work place musculoskeletal problems and now runs her own private clinic with a small team in Marlborough, Wiltshire; her home town.

Amanda is caring and passionate about her profession and is committed to keeping up-to-date with latest developments in physiotherapy. She also gets immense professional satisfaction on a daily basis in helping people recover from pain and injury.

Keeping in touch with her NHS contacts and former colleagues who are now clinical specialists or managers, helps her retain an overview of the profession as a whole.

She describes her ‘work’ with Physio First as her second job: “I'm very excited to be part of the dynamic movement that’s now occurring within Physio First. I thoroughly enjoy working as part of our executive, with other physiotherapists, our new education and research sub-committee and our head office team to promote private physiotherapy.”

“Giving my time and commitment and whatever skills I can offer, is my way of helping to drive our projects forward and I do say it’s my second job!”

Out of hours Amanda enjoys family life, keeping fit, dog walking in the Wiltshire countryside, and is also known as an impressive cake decorator!


Paul Johnson MSc BSc(Hons), MMACP, MCSP

Paul is our Editor of In Touch, Physio First’s popular quarterly journal that represents over 3,000 private physiotherapists. He sits on our executive committee and has been an active Physio First member for the past 16 years.

As well as being In Touch Editor, Paul is a member of our Physio First research and development team. He is a specialist in pain science and neuro-musculoskeletal matters and has been helping those in pain for more than 25 years – and says he loves his work.

After graduating in 1986 Paul worked for three years in the NHS before he joined The Physio Therapy Centre in Hayward’s Heath, West Sussed in 1989. He achieved his Master’s degree in Manipulative Therapy in 2000.

Today his workload comprises mainly of patients with pain in their lower backs, neck, spine, knees, shoulders and hips and he has a special interest in patients suffering with dizziness.

Paul undertakes at least 150 hours of continual professional development (CPD) each year attending conferences, by direct or e-learning, in-service training, article writing and editing, and as a member of our Physio First executive. 

He was the secretary for the Sussex Manual Therapy group for 11 years and organised lectures and courses for the physiotherapists of Sussex.

He was also a clinical educator for the University of Brighton for 10 years, overseeing Master’s degree students during their clinical placements, and an examiner for both the University and for the Manipulation Association of Chartered Physiotherapy (MACP), of which he is also a member.

Paul is a regular lecturer talking to groups and GPs about physiotherapy and latest developments.

He is also a member of the International Association of the Study of Pain (IASP), the Physiotherapy Pain Association (PPA), is a Chartered Physiotherapist in Sports Medicine (CPSM) and a member of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapist in Occupational Health (ACPOH).

Information Technology Officer

Mark Potter MCSP DSA (CSP)

Mark joined Physio First in 1992 and became a Regional Officer the following year. He officially took on the role of Information Technology Officer in 2006. He had been helping with Physio First’s IT since 1996, alongside his previous roles as conference Chairman and Treasurer.

Mark is responsible for the overall management of Physio First’s information technology – which includes all of our organisation’s office computers and networks, websites, domain names and email forwarding. As part of Mark’s role he also gives advice and training to Physio First post holders and our office team as and when required.

Mark trained as a physiotherapist in the Royal Army Medical Corps specialising in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and sport traumas in diverse clinical environments. These environments varied in extremes from the more usual hospital-based practice, to service in a front-line field hospital.

On leaving the army 25 years ago Mark and his wife Christine set up a private physiotherapy practice in Worthing, dealing with workplace and sporting injuries.

In his spare time Mark enjoys tinkering with computers and old vehicles – so he’s problem -solving 24 hours a day… just with different size hammers!

Regional Officer Representative

Tracy Millar MCSP BACPAR

Tracy has been a member of Physio First since 2010 and became the North East Regional Officer in 2013, taking on the role of our RO representative in 2015.  She has nine years of post-qualification experience spanning all areas of the NHS.

Tracy’s NHS experience includes acute orthopaedic, acute neuro, outpatient musculoskeletal and community settings. She has been working within the private sector since 2010, specialising in the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal and orthopaedic conditions. 

During the last four years, Tracy has focused on the specialist assessment, treatment and management of individuals who have sustained complex orthopaedic trauma, catastrophic injury or limb loss. She has experience working with upper and lower limb amputees and the management of associated pain and musculoskeletal conditions. 

Tracy joined Physio First as a Regional Officer at a pivotal time of change and she says it has been full throttle since: “My journey with Physio First has been profoundly challenging and tremendously rewarding in exactly equal measures. The professional development, a peek behind the scenes of how such a fantastic organisation is run, and the foundation of new professional relationships, are the highlights to date.” 

“Our Physio First team is an exceptional group of people, whose relentless drive and support has carried me through the last three years."


Chris Fitzgerald

Chris is an accountant and is the first non-physio to hold the post of Treasurer. His has been advising Physio First on all things financial for nearly 14 years and has served with four Chairmen.

Chris worked as a qualified accountant in practice, then in full-time employment in industry. He now delivers the role of Finance Director on a part-time basis to several small and medium-sized enterprise companies.

Since joining Physio First in 2002, Chris says he has witnessed a surge in professionalism throughout our organisation. As Treasurer he keeps a careful eye on expenditure and, as well as agreeing to fund good ideas, he will counsel caution as and when required.

He said: “I have worked under four Chairmen during my time so far and it has been interesting following their plans and helping make them a reality. I will now be assisting in controlling our financial path towards Goal 9 and beyond.”

“Physios continue to look after my ageing body and for that I am extremely thankful!”

Research and Development Officer


Sandy is a former Physio First Chairman and was co-opted to the two-year executive post of Research and Development Officer in April 2015. As well as being responsible for Physio First’s research and development strategy she is setting up our new research and development sub-committee which has overall responsibility for our Data for Impact project.

Led by Sandy, and in conjunction with our executive committee, the new research and development sub-committee will explore and define its longer term strategy within the next two years.

Sandy was awarded Honorary Life Membership of Physio First when she stepped down as Editor of In Touch, our organisation’s quarterly journal. She then acted as our Public Relations Officer for two years, became Vice Chairman in 2009, and then Chairman from 2011 to 2015. She was given a Distinguished Service Award from the CSP in 2015 for services to private practice.

As well as her dedication to duty at Physio First, Sandy also runs a private practice, Goring Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic, which she set up as co-practice principal 21 years ago. She initially started it in 1983 as the sole practitioner and the Worthing clinic now has four associates.

Sandy qualified from St Thomas’s Hospital in London in 1971 and then spent six years working in New Zealand and Canada, gaining both clinical and teaching experience in manual therapy.

On return to the UK in 1978, she took as senior position in Brighton at the Royal Sussex County Hospital where her responsibilities included in-service training for the hospital staff. She also became a member of what was then known as the Manipulation Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP).

Sandy continued teaching post-graduate manual therapy in both the NHS and private sectors and also worked with elite athletes in tennis, cricket, basketball and athletics.

She also helped to set up and run the Sussex Manual Therapy Group for both NHS and private physios in the 1980s.

Office Manager

Julia Costello

Julia has been Physio First’s Office Manager for more than 13 years – a role that has incorporated a variety of responsibilities and which now sees her working closely with our executive committee.

Julia initially joined Physio First as Assistant Manager. In her time with our organisation she has worked with four Chairmen and dealt with a wide range of Physio First business from accounts and HR, to advertising and exhibitors and part of her role now sits with our executive officers.

Julia came from a career in high quality administration and customer service in sectors covering travel and hospitality, logistics and charity. This gave her a broad knowledge which she put into practice and developed with our team at Physio First.

She said: “I have learnt so much since joining Physio First and I thoroughly enjoy my role. I cannot imagine doing anything else, or working with another group of such culturally-aligned, committed and friendly people.”