• Carla Custons-Cole

    Development adviser

    Carla started her career in a health authority working in clinical audit, clinical governance and peer view. Since then she has managed projects, maintained support networks, designed and delivered programmes of training.

    Carla is a highly effective communicator, trainer and facilitator with nearly 20 years experience of working in primary care at a national and local level. Her style is calm, engaging, approachable and flexible enabling her to design group sessions which complement different learning preferences. Her enthusiasm maintains interest and attention in all the training and facilitation she delivers.

    As a trainer within our practice team development team Carla has helped practice reception and admin teams to meet a number of the 10 high impact actions including working smarter and introducing care navigation and signposting enabling patients to see the most appropriate clinician for their health need. These sessions have received excellent feedback and the programme is being organically evolved to offer additional courses to a wider audience.

    Carla maintains excellent client relations with NHS organisations across the South. She is regional adviser for Wessex providing support to the local office and its respective CCGs and practices. Carla has introduced new ways of working and coached practices across the South West to work innovatively. She has ensured the successful embedding of new roles such as clinical pharmacists in general practice to reduce pressures on GP time.

    Carla is very passionate about personal development, encouraging and supporting both individuals and teams to reach their fullest potential.


  • Helen Simmonds


    Helen has worked in the NHS over 20 years and started her career as a financial management trainee in NHS Wales. After working for several years specialising in financial management in the acute sector her career has focussed on primary care, including the medical, dental and pharmacy sectors.  Roles have included both operational and strategic level such as practice management and primary care development. Therefore Helen has a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and issues currently facing the NHS.
    Helen currently works on a number of projects for PCC including the NHS England and Department of Health dental contract reform programme. This role focuses on support to those dental practices participating in the scheme.  This involves the delivery of training packages, writing support material, and providing advice and mentoring to practice teams.  Helen is also facilitating practice development sessions in GP practices as part of a pilot in NHS England to develop the role of clinical pharmacists within practice.
    Helen has previously worked on a number of PCC work programmes including developing support packages, such as a contract management handbook for dental commissioners, which was distributed and used by commissioners across England.
  • Paul Burns


    Paul joins PCC from Hempsons solicitors, where he worked as a consultant providing advice to clients on a range of primary care matters. 
    From 2009 – 2013, Paul was independent chairman to the Department of Health advisory group on pharmaceutical regulations.  This role required a detailed knowledge of that regulatory environment, an understanding of the relevant law and an ability to chair and work with a diverse range of professional representative groups providing leadership and vision when a consensus was not easily forthcoming. 
    Paul brings NHS experience as chief executive of the FHS Appeal Authority and, following the transfer of the appellate function to the NHS Litigation Authority, as chief officer of FHS AU within the NHS Litigation Authority. As well as being a board member for over five years, Paul was the lead decision-taker for primary care appeals and chairman of the pharmacy appeals committee taking appropriate decisions and being responsible for defending judicial reviews.  
    Paul has previously been a school governor for eight years, chairing numerous sub-committees in this role. 
  • Wendy Crew


    Wendy is experienced in the health sector at local, regional and national levels. After joining PCC as an assistant adviser Wendy quickly became an adviser for the South Central region and continues to provide adviser support to our clients. 
    Wendy has strong commissioning and contracting matters across all four primary care professions and has recently worked with CCGs on what it means to federate.
    Wendy is currently a member of the dental contract reform programme and has worked on the programme since 2011.  Wendy’s main focus in the programme is the development and running of support events for practices and their commissioners. This has included training for new practices plus the continued interaction such as programme support groups and engagement events.  Her role is also to support commissioners and their practices with all matters relating to the programme.  To support these roles Wendy works with the programme team on policy issues and ensures she has an up to date knowledge of the dental contract reform programme.