Meet The Team

Executive Committee

Dr Matt Kneale

Co-Chair

@drmattuk

Matt is a foundation doctor working in Manchester. Prior to medical school he was involved in global health research and part of the team that pushed for better access to essential antimicrobials globally. His main clinical interests are acute general medicine and infectious diseases, whilst outside of medicine enjoys photography, playing guitar and travelling.

Recent high profile controversies such as the Junior Doctor Contract dispute in 2016, and the Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba case, have led to him becoming a vocal supporter for the rights of medical professionals and is eager to push for better safeguards for doctors.

Dr Ayan Basu

Vice-Chair

Ayan joined the DAUK committee in 2020, after he read about disparities in COVID-19 deaths.  His medical studies were preceded by vaccine and immunotherapy research.  After lower vaccine uptake in some communities, Ayan was a spokesperson to help clarify benefits versus risks.  As a doctor Ayan’s interests include medical education, COVID-19, and clinical neurosciences. 

He’s also interested in structural determinants of health, such as poverty and education.

Ayan enjoys drawing and painting, and developed visuals and researched ‘Fair Say for Fair Pay’, the DAUK’s campaign for #PayRestoration in 2021.  This campaign informed our members, how pay is a key factor in staff retention.  It highlighted the extent of pay loss, to our junior doctors and consultants.  He believes in restoring pay and improving conditions, so we don’t lose doctors to better remunerations abroad.

Ayan has facilitated a series of DAUK membership events, from Expedition Medicine to Q&As with inspirational speakers such as Dr Beth Lewis and Mr Omer Karim.  Hearing stories from our members,

Ayan is concerned how the interplay between life factors, workplace issues, and burnouts can impact doctors’ health and careers.  He followed recent research on bullying, harassment and discrimination, as spotlighted by both the GMC and the BMA.  He hopes we can find ways to safeguard the wellbeing of doctors lower in the hierarchy, and also embrace #EDI principles in the NHS.

Dr Elizabeth Toberty

GP Lead

@lizzie_toberty

Lizzie has been a GP for almost 5 years and whilst recognising it can be crazily stressful, nothing beats getting the care right for our patients.

She has a keen interest in leadership and is a North East organiser for Next Generation GP. It is her belief that we need to both inspire future doctors to choose GP as a career but also make our working culture better to draw them in, which is partly why she’s here at DAUK! 

At work she loves all things women’s health and all the complex interaction in GP between the physical and the mental.

Dr Elissa Abi-Raad

Treasurer

@Elissa_Abiraad

Elissa was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Her Bachelors degree was in Biology, and she worked in cancer research for a year then graduated with my MBBS from St George’s, London.  She was born into a family of Solicitors and Barristers, so she is the black sheep who wanted to become a doctor. Elissa is currently a GP trainee with an interest in Urgent Care, Medicolegal issues (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree …), and increasing representation of minorities in Medicine. She has a lot of insight into the difficulties IMGs face in the UK and is passionate about helping in any way possible. Elissa speaks 5 languages (English, French, Arabic, Italian, and Greek).

Her hobbies are painting, drawing, classic and super-cars; she is also an animal advocate and a coffee addict.

Dr Pushpo Hossain

IMG Lead

@PushpoH

Pushpo is an International Medical Graduate(IMG) from Bangladesh, who joined the NHS in January 2020 and  DAUK in November 2020. She is passionate about making the NHS a comfortable and safe place for IMGs like herself. The successful launch of Overseas NHS workers day was lead by her with DAUK and she continues to advocate for Indefinite Leave to Remain for all International Health care workers who have worked during the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

She is a non- trainee (locally employed doctor) and has worked in various specialities of  Acute Medicine and Critical Care Medicine but is currently pursuing her interest in Medical Education as a Clinical Teaching Fellow (Aug 2022-2023). She also is the founder of the virtual teaching programme ‘Tackling The NHS culture Shock ‘ for IMGs in her current trust for which she won the highly recommended trainee award in RCP Regional Poster Competition(London) 2021. She also presented her work at the National Developing Excellence in Medical Education Conference(DEMEC). She is constantly working on projects to train IMGs to help them navigate the NHS, which are mostly inspired from her experience in the NHS. She is a champion for IMG rights and has made multiple media appearances with renowned media outlets such as the observer(guardian), BBC Panorama, BBC Radio, LBC, The Sunday Times, and many others.

Dr Matthew Bigwood

Learn not Blame Lead

Matt is a Senior Anaesthetic Trainee working in the East Midlands, specialising in obstetric and airway anaesthesia.

He has written on the subject of patient safety, specifically -safe airway management from both the perspective of training and in terms of being able to speak up. He tries to promote these daily. He is always thinking of ways to try to make systems less fallible to protect the staff working within them.

He is an advocate of a ‘learn not blame’ culture and is excited to work on this from within DAUK. He also enjoys teaching medical professionals of all grades, including medical students and he is a resus instructor.

Matt is looking forward to helping DAUK advocate for all Doctors regardless of their position or background.

Penelope Sucharitkul

Editorial Lead

Penny is a medical student at the University of Leeds, she joined DAUK as a co-founder of the #LiveableNHSBursary campaign. She expressed an interest in medical journalism early in her career joining the BMJ Cleggs as a 2021 scholar. As someone from a disadvantaged background, she is passionate about diversity and widening access to medicine. She was a key contributor to the University’s student access scheme 2025, holding the university to account for their attainment gap in postgraduates. Penny enjoys advocating and was able to successfully campaign for the reimbursement of GMC fees and an increase to Leeds financial support for the most vulnerable medical students at her University.

Mr Dolin Bhagawati
Committee Member
@grumpybraindoc

Dolin has trained in Neurosurgery over the last decade having qualified from Oxford and UCL. He is currently engaged in research into novel surgical drug delivery in Paediatric brain tumours and neurological disorders. 

He has a particular interest in Immigration and health, and has had experience dealing with stressful immigration issues for his family. He is passionate about improving conditions for NHS staff and patients having had close members of his family treated for critical conditions.

Deanna Evans

Committee Member

@Deanna793003

Born and raised in North-East India and now a GP partner based in West Wales in a small rural practice. Worked in India after graduation in rural healthcare settings which gives insight into how healthcare systems affect delivery of care to patients. Moved to the UK in 2004 and working as a GP for the last 13 years, after finishing the training here. Passionate about patients and their care and trying to raise the ADR issue, which affects families here in the UK who have left their parents behind, with a hope to raise conversations and debates about it.

Loves plants and doing some knitting and crochet when time permits.

Head and shoulders image of DAUK co-chair Ms Helen Fernandes

Dr Helen Fernandes

Committee Member

@helenfernandes1

Helen is a Neurosurgeon, just starting in her third decade as a Consultant. She trained in the North East but most of her Consultant years have been at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge.

During her training, and then as a Consultant, Helen has always been active in women in surgery issues, and chaired the Women in Surgery Group (part of the Royal College of Surgeons of England) for 6 years. She is passionate about diversity in the medical workplace and in addressing just culture, learn not blame, and doctors’ disciplinary procedures. With support from the Whistleblowers Association UK she helped put together a proposal for changes in disciplinary measures against doctors at Trust level.

Both within Trusts and at the GMC there is much work to do, and Helen wants to take an active role in DAUK to make changes. Hilariously, at least 20 years after her last postgraduate surgical exam, she enrolled on a law conversion course, where she learnt that the law does not always work in the way in which you think it should! Helen wants to make a difference and regards DAUK as the group to achieve that.

Dr Silan Fidan 

Committee Member

Dr Silan Fidan is a Junior Doctor currently working in London. Her time studying for a Master’s degree in Public Health crystallised her interest in addressing the socioeconomic and systems level determinants of health.

Silan feels passionate about campaigning for a well funded NHS that preserves its core principles of compassion and inclusivity, thereby tackling a culture of blame, hostility and otherisation.

Silan looks forward to working with DAUK to advocate for fellow colleagues and patients.

Dr Meenal Viz

Committee Member

@drmeenalviz

During 2020, Meenal protested outside Downing Street, while heavily pregnant, to fight for the protection of healthcare workers and pregnant women working on the covid frontlines.

Her desire to campaign was fuelled by the fact she was going to give birth to her daughter and she wanted her to come into a world where she knew how important it is to fight for the truth and stand up for those who don’t have a voice. You can read more about why Meenal protested here.

She harnessed worldwide media attention, took the government to court and demanded the law was changed to hold the NHS and ministers accountable for providing inadequate PPE.

In September 2020, Meenal featured on the cover of British Vogue as Edward Enninful’s top 21 activists and campaigners who are working towards a more hopeful world and future.

She is currently working with the United Nations (Project Halo) to help promote vaccine confidence and help move the world towards a safer future. 

Through her podcast, Meenal’s World, she interviews changemakers and the greatest thinkers of our generation. 

“I believe that my role as a doctor goes beyond the walls of the hospital. If we want to create lasting change, we must use our voice and platform to speak up – doctors can play a vital role in democracy and I sincerely hope that working with The Doctor’s Association will allow me to work towards this goal.”

Our Committee

Medical Student Lead

Anna Sigston

EDI (Equality, diversity, inclusion) Lead

Dr Yasotha Browne

Sustainability Lead

Dr Matthew Lee

Learn Not Blame Leads

Dr Jenny Vaughan and Dr Matt Bigwood

Media Lead

Penny Sucharitkul

Main Committee Members

Dr Dolin Bhagawati, Dr Helen Fernandes, Dr Kaveri Julanndhwala, Dr Duranka Perera, Dr Askshay Akulwar, Dr Rich Gilpin, Dr George Oommen, Dr Felix Brewer, Dr Freya Rhodes, Dr Alison Gill, Dr Silan Fidan, Dr Jacob Barnes, Dr Farihah Tariq, Dr Nazmus Sakib, Dr Meenal Viz, Dr Jack Close
 

GP Committee Members

Dr Lizzie Toberty, Dr Deanna Evans, Dr Ellen Welch, Dr Louise Hyde, Dr Elizabeth Croton, Dr Beejj Shah, Dr Rosie Shire, Dr Farihah Tariq

Learn Not Blame Committee

Dr Matt Bigwood, Dr Jenny Vaughan, Dr Helen Fernandes, Dr David Nicholl, Dr Alison Gill, Dr Silan Fidan, Dr Jacob Barnes, Dr Farihah Tariq, Dr Nazmus Sakib

Medical Students

Anna Sigston, Penny Sucharitkul, Michaela Vernon, Trisha Suji,

Paid staff (part time)

Lucy Stratton (marketing, legal services, membership, contact@dauk.org), Sangeeta Bhagawati (social media lead) Press enquiries to: press@dauk.org