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 remand 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 roll out.

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 encourage 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!

Practice Education Facilitator (PEF)

Sara Mir
My professional background includes 18 years experience in Nursing and Midwifery, ranging from acut to community settings.
I also hold a teaching qualification, which helps to support my role when delivering training to nurses and students. My role as a PEF is to offer support and guidance to the educators/mentors and students during their clinical placements and act as a link between practice areas and universities. I have an open-door policy and keen to be as accessible as possivle so that I can offer advice and answer queries in a timely manner. I am also keen to provide general advice relating to educational issues and resources.
Personally, I am a mother to three (13, 18, 21) two sons and a daughter. I feel blessed to have them (even with their growing costs!). We dont have any pets as yet, but will have the addition of two kittens in the summer! Am i crazy? Maybe a little!!


Placement + Allocations Administrator

Laura O'Brien

The first job I had was working as a team member at Greggs, however, i knew i didnt 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 got my qualifications and in 2016 I left the police and moved to live with my partner in Poro, Portugal. During the 2 years I lived in Portugal, I worked as a Technical Advisor for AppleCare and spent alot of time at the beach!! After returning to the UK I began working for Rochdale Health Alliance which lead 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 minature dachshund called Ralph who I love taking for walks and giving lots of cuddles. Myself and my partner have recently moved into our first home which is exciting and I am interested in health and fitness... whilst still baking sweet treats and binge watching series on Netflix.


Kirsty Plant

I had a job at ASDA which I started upon leaving year 11 which worked around my college course. When finishing college I didn’t quite feel ready for university so decided to have some time out of higher education. During this time out I found out I was pregnant.

Upon having my daughter I knew I didn’t want to return to ASDA. I was trawling the internet and come across an Apprentice Clerical Officer Role for the NHS and I applied. I started my role at ISCAN (Integrated Service for Children with Additional Needs). It’s safe to say it was the best job I’d had. I worked here for nearly 5 years and completed NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Business Administration. 

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my partner and daughter.  I also have two Westies (Maisy and Mia aka ‘The Girls’) who share their time between me and my parents’ house. I am a big animal lover. Our garden can often get a little crazy with a cat, two rabbits and two dogs running around but I wouldn’t have it any other way.



Lauren Denny

I started out as an Apprentice Clerical Officer within clinics around Tameside which is where I completed an NVQ and got the qualifications I failed to get during school/college. One of my biggest passions is makeup and I wanted to go back to college after the year of being an apprentice but after earning my own money, I didnt want to go back to being a student so I applied and was successful in gaining a full time permanent role at a child development unit within Hyde. After 4 years in Hyde an opportunity came up at The Primary Care Academy and here I am!

In my personal time, I absolutely love glamming people up.. anything to do with makeup really and I have recently found that I actually do like the gym so I tend to go 3 times a week. I love spending time with my boyfriend / family / friends, going out shopping or just relaxing having a film marathon. Im a self-confessed chocoholic, a lil' bit crazy and love to have a laugh but .. thats just me !!

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