MEET THE TEAM

RealHealth combines the attributes of Functional Restoration and Pain Management in their programme delivery. The expertise around our Functional Restoration Programme delivery was developed historically via the rehabilitation of miners employed in the coalfields of 1920's Midlands, and services have been provided to thousands of patients since then. The expertise around our Pain Management Programme delivery was developed in London through the 1980's with the development of the INPUT programme which still runs today from Guys & St Thomas' Hospital in London.

RealHealth offer 2 types of combined physical and psychological programmes (CPPs) - Functional Restoration Programmes (FRP) and Pain Management Programmes (PMP). The RealHealth team is comprised of experts in the following fields:

  • Pain Management
  • Physiotherapy
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Sports Therapy



Jeremy Fairbank – Honorary President, RealHealth
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Professor of Spinal Surgery

Jeremy Fairbank was educated and trained at Cambridge University and St Thomas’ Hospital. He qualified MB.BChir from Cambridge University in 1972 and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FRCS) in 1977. He obtained an M.D. for a thesis on the facet joint in back pain in 1982 awarded by Cambridge University. Jeremy’s training included two years as a Spinal Fellow in the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry from 1978 where he published the Oswestry Disability Index, which has become a worldwide standard for assessing back pain and the results of treatment. This was followed by four years as a Senior Registrar in the St Bartholomew’s Hospital Training Programme. In 1984 he was appointed Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon to the General Hospital and Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham and in 1989 he moved to Oxford.

He is currently employed by the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital as Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with a special interest in spinal disorders. The vast majority of his work is devoted to treatment of disorders of spine, including fractures, tumours, infections, spinal deformities (scoliosis and kyphosis) and back pain. Jeremy has been a Professor of Spinal Surgery since 2006. Read more



Rory McMillen – Director

Studied Business in Manchester, came to be involved in Healthcare via an early career in Property and Executive Search.

 “I have never been involved with a more rewarding and interesting business. Pain is an intense and individual experience which can be devastating for those suffering from it. Pain exists to send a message to our brains that something is wrong with our body. If pain persists beyond the healing of an injury then it becomes "useless" and can turn lives upside down.

RealHealth have a caring, friendly, open and individual approach to understanding pain and managing recovery. The outcomes are phenomenal, and it has been a privilege to witness the positive change where patients literally "get their lives back".

 Random fact about Rory – Irishman living in Somerset, he has officially swapped his favourite tipple from Guinness to Cider!



Merryn Catley, MCSP, SRP (HCPC registered), Lead Physiotherapist
I studied biological sciences and spent 13 years in scientific research before deciding to retrain as a physiotherapist. I specialise in musculo-skeletal conditions, and have worked with patients who have upper and lower limb disorders, mainly within the NHS in Orthopaedic and spinal departments. I have a keen interest in chronic pain disorders and have been involved in the development of a multi-disciplinary programme for patients with fibromyalgia. Joined RealHealth in 2008.

Random fact about Merryn – Loves post-it notes!





Dr Shilpa Patel, DHealthPsy, CPsychol, AFBPsS (HCPC registered)

I have always had an interest in health, human behaviour and the mind which was my motivation to pursue a career in Health Psychology. After completing my doctorate level training, I gained Chartered and Associate Fellow status with the British Psychological Society. As a Health Psychologist I am regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council.

Over the years I have gained insight into many specialist areas of psychology including learning difficulties, psychosis, neurological disorders and long term conditions. During this journey I became particularly interested in health and wellbeing issues relating to long term conditions and how to work with people to help them to improve their quality of life. This led me to develop expertise in behaviour change and self-management for long terms conditions. I have built substantial expertise in delivering pain management services including group and one to one therapies.  In my clinical work I draw upon a number of therapeutic methods including cognitive behavioural therapy, systemic therapy, and mindfulness.

Random fact about Shilpa – Mad about Formula 1, so look out for her on pole position!



Harbinder Sandhu, DHealthPsy, CPsychol, AFBPsS (HCPC registered)

I am a Health Psychologist regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council with expertise in health, wellbeing and performance. I have experience of implementing behaviour change and self-management programmes in the National Health Service (NHS) in Chronic Pain Management, Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) to a range of patients including adults, young people carers and families. Feedback from patients has been positive, which has encouraged me to develop other behaviour change programmes in long term conditions using combined therapeutic techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness. After completing my undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate level training in psychology, I gained chartered status with the British Psychological Society and am now an Associate Fellow member. Over the years of training I have drawn from experiences of the application of psychology in neurology (Degenerative Diseases), learning disabilities, and coaching and mentoring as well as using forms of art therapy to enhance wellbeing.

Random fact about Harbinder – works with Team GB Archery and is currently trying out for the 2016 Olympics!



Karina Kennett RGN, MSc Pain Management

I run nurse led clinics assessing, implementing treatment plans and evaluating care for patients with pain. I regularly teach and manage staff and have had 2 articles published in nursing journals and have written part and fully edited a book for the fundamental aspects of nursing series.

Random fact about Karina – first on the dancefloor at the Christmas party!





Anna Cockayne BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, Dip (COT) HPC registered

Experienced across NHS and independent practice, Clinical Lead for a multi-disciplinary county-wide chronic back pain management programme. Passionate about empowering patients to take control of the management of their pain.

Random fact about Anna – loves horses. Dreaming of a trip to Montana and Rodeo country!




Jason Lewis (MHFST), Sports Therapist

I am a member of the Holistic Federation of Sports Therapists, and am FA (Football Association) qualified to Level 3 standard in the Treatment and Management of Injuries in Football. I developed a keen interest in Exercise Fitness, Sports Injuries and First Aid following 5 years of voluntary work with St. Johns Ambulance Brigade and since qualifying as a Sports Therapist I work with Earlsdon Rugby club, where I am continuously developing ever more sophisticated and effective training programmes with each season that passes. I joined the RealHealth team in 2009 and presently help to deliver Functional Restoration Programmes and Pain Management Programmes which continues to broaden my knowledge and skills as a Sports Therapist.

Random fact about Jason – Tootall his nickname – already 6’7” and still growing, Jason “tootally” believes in the benefits of diet and nutrition!





Katherine Hill, Marketing Manager

I qualified in Marketing and gained my Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma in 1989, further to an early career with Leicestershire Constabulary and a number of Advertising/Public Relations Consultancies and corporates. My experience in the healthcare market comes from working at Priory Sketchley Hall, in Burbage, Leicestershire for 6½ years, a dedicated centre specialising in the education, prevention and treatment of all musculo-skeletal disorders until its closure in 2006, when I joined RealHealth.

Random fact about Kath – Wicked sense of humour, mad Leicester City fan and Zumba expert!





Carrie-Ann Northall, Office Manager

I have been working in the Healthcare sector for over ten years and thrive on seeing our clients making huge leaps on their own personal road to recovery. My role is to ensure that everything runs smoothly at RealHealth and with the minimum of fuss so that all of our patients can enjoy the programmes and thus gain maximum benefit from them.

Random fact about Carrie-Ann – Chocolate her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. "What's wrong with that?!"

John O'Dowd- Founder Member of The RealHealth Institute
John is in full time clinical practice in London as a consultant spinal surgeon and has been exclusively managing spinal conditions since 1994. His clinical history includes being a honorary consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square, as well as reconstructive spinal specialist surgeon, performing complex reconstructive procedures in adults, and scoliosis surgery in children. He has a real interest in all conditions affecting the spine and takes a unique biopsychosocial approach to treating each person.

John has always had a strong interest in non-surgical management and treatment options for back pain and he has been involved in numerous revolutionary projects. He was the founder and director of the RealHealth Institute in London which is an evidence-based organization providing multidisciplinary assessment and treatment programmes for patients with chronic and complex spinal pain, including functional restoration and pain management programmes. He is now the clinical director of the RealHealth Institute in Holland, which is a national referral centre for non-surgical care in complex low back pain.





Charles Pither – Founder Member of the RealHealth Institute

Charles is an eminent and established figure in the world of pain medicine and pain management. The RealHealth Institute provides an excellent opportunity for patients with chronic pain to find a pathway into the future. Prior to setting up RealHealth, Charles developed the INPUT residential cognitive behavioural pain management programme at Guys & Thomas' Hospital in London, widely recognised as the blueprint for delivery of this type of treatment throughout the UK.

Charles subsequently founded and still runs LexMedica, an affiliation of experts providing medico-legal reports across a number of specialties, that started with his own long experience of medico-legal report writing. The service provides well balanced and concise, medical report writing backed up by a highly efficient office and administration service.