Our team

Our team is made up of staff from a variety of different backgrounds and disciplines. This multi-disciplinary team (MDT) includes medical doctors, psychological therapists, nursing staff, speech and language therapists, administrative staff and peer supporters. We work collaboratively to provide safe, good quality care for all who seek help from our service. This includes regular staff meetings to share information and make collaborative decisions about the best way to support service users to meet their goals. All discussion is confidential.

Amy Anderson
Call me:
Pronouns: She/her/hers
Job: Team Manager
Professional background: I am a qualified Mental Health Nurse, I did my training at the University of the West of England in Bristol before returning home to Newcastle to practice as a mental health nurse. I have worked with young people in a forensic setting, on a male adult inpatient ward and in the community supporting people in mental health crisis. I have also worked into GP surgeries as a mental health specialist practitioner.
I really enjoy… baking, cooking, spending time with friends and family, particularly going on camping trips and long walks with our cockapoo dog.
Vikki Ball
Call me:
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Specialist Nurse
Professional background: I qualified as an Adult Nurse in 2005, and initially worked in a general hospital on a busy medical ward. I left to pursue an interest in substance misuse and addiction and have since spent most of my career working in mental health services and have completed various studies to develop my knowledge and skills. I’ve worked in addictions services and more recently in a prison-based personality disorder service. I have a genuine interest in people, I value hearing the stories of those I’m working with and offering support and interventions to enable people to find their voice and to achieve their goals.
I really enjoy… being outdoors, long walks, nice coffee, spending time with family and friends and the odd gin!
Dr Ruth Bevan
Call me: Ruth
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Consultant in Gender Dysphoria (Medical Doctor)
Professional background: I trained as a doctor in the North East and specialised in intellectual disability psychiatry and autism, previously working with children and young people. I have worked as a Consultant at NRGDS since 2013. It is a job I feel hugely privileged to do. I am committed to supporting the rights and advocacy of all people, especially those with an intellectual disability and autism.
I really enjoy… time with my family and friends, often involving food, walking with my dog and trying to be creative
Grace Chugg
Call me:
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Advance Speech and Language Therapist
Professional background: I trained in Plymouth and moved back to Wales following graduation. I worked in a private clinic and then joined the NHS. My aim since starting university was to work in a gender service, and I have been very fortunate to have been given some great opportunities to do this! I previously worked with adults in the community and with a clinical voice caseload.
I really enjoy… baking, book club and embroidery. I love spending time with my family, dog and 2 cats. My favourite films are Someone Great and Encanto. My favourite musician is Masie Peters.
Kieran Cronesberry
Call me:
Pronouns: he/him/his and they/them/theirs
Job: Assistant Psychologist
Professional background: Before joining the team at NRGDS I worked as an assistant psychologist on inpatient acute ward settings, which involved working with clients to improve their psychological coping skills, and resilience to get them back into the community safely. Prior to this I worked in higher education helping students with mental health difficulties and I was also a youth group leader for an LGBTQ+ charity for 11-18 year olds.
I really enjoy… working with the community and finding new ways to get involved with the community. In my free time I enjoy reading (especially Stephen King), playing video games, cooking good food, and attending shows (either comedy, drag, or music!).
Matthew Davies
Call me: Matt
Pronouns: he/him/his
Job: Senior Peer Supporter
Professional background: I have had three distinct careers – the first in managing overseas relief and development programmes, mainly for Oxfam; the second as an adult nurse, mainly working in Cardio-thoracic intensive care; and the third, as a peer supporter with NRGDS. Since the Peer Support Service was set up in April 2021, we have been working hard to establish support groups, spend 1-2-1 time with people and work with our clients on how best we can help them. It has been hard work, but really rewarding. I enjoy the variety and the constant challenges. The biggest reward has been meeting lots of wonderful people from our community, hearing their stories and bringing them together to support each other.
I really enjoy… chocolate, dogs, films.
Dr Ruth Evans
Call me: Ruth
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: GP specialist in gender dysphoria
Professional background: Back in 1983, I came down from near Edinburgh to start medical school in Newcastle and discovered I had travelled ‘north’. There is so much to enjoy here, that I never left and trained as a GP in this region. For most of my career I have been involved in ‘clinical leadership’, with the final few years in NHS North Tyneside CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) as medical director.

After 25 years at Village Green Surgery in Wallsend, I felt ready for a change and applied for a GP role at NRGDS (Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service). Now I am learning new things every day.
I really enjoy time with family and friends, wine, pizza and my crazy collie dog.

Harriet Fleetwood
Call me: Harriet
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Assistant Psychologist
Professional background: I am an undergraduate psychology student currently on placement at NRGDS. Alongside this I am also a researcher, my current research interests are EDI (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion), intolerance of uncertainty and the psychological effects of climate change messages.
I really enjoy… baking and cooking, learning about fashion history, watching musicals, travelling, reading and being creative.
Helen Fyfe
Call me: Helen
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Specialist Nurse
Professional background: I qualified as a Registered Nurse in Adult Nursing in 1997. I have worked in urology nursing at the Freeman Hospital and in St Oswald’s hospice inpatient unit. I then worked as a Health Visitor for 11 years. My last job was in a GP surgery where I was a Practice Nurse performing a wide range of duties and specialising in Diabetes. I have been a Nurse for 25 years and have really loved all the roles I have worked in. Throughout my career I have taken special interest in gender dysphoria and I am delighted to be working with the Gender Dysphoria team.
I really enjoy… baking and decorating cakes, crafts and sewing, travelling and exploring new places. My first job after leaving school was in a music shop in Newcastle, I love music, especially rock music. I also really enjoy singing and have recently joined a singing group.
Anna Gray
Call me: Annie
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Specialist Nurse
Professional background: I am a mental health nurse with a background in forensics, personality disorder, and female inpatient care. I have also held a clinical placement lead role, overseeing student and newly qualified nurse education. I enjoying getting to know the person I am working with, so that I can utilise different therapeutic approaches, clinical / physical health skills, and signposting to deliver the best care for them. I always like to learn new things and apply them to my practice.
I really enjoy… Being outside, peace and quiet, spending time with my best friends, anything to do with animals, new experiences, food, and a good cup of tea!
Dr Helen Greener
Call me: Helen
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Consultant in Gender Dysphoria (Medical Doctor) and Clinical Lead
Professional background: I moved to the North East to undertake higher training in Old Age Psychiatry in 2006, after working in Glasgow and the Midlands. I was lucky enough to encounter the then new service for gender dysphoria, which was based in Sunderland at the time. I discovered a passion for working with trans and non-binary people; meeting people from different backgrounds and learning new things from them is one of the best bits of my job. It is also a pleasure to work in a team of compassionate, dedicated people. I enjoy working across barriers and bringing diverse people together, to improve services for trans people.
I really enjoy… cooking, reading (especially science fiction), walking, travel and gin tasting. Watching a certain Australian soap opera is a (not so) secret guilty pleasure.
Dr Martha Hawker
Call me: Martha
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Psychiatry Core Trainee/Trust Grade in Gender Dysphoria
Professional background: I trained as a doctor in Cambridge and graduated in 2017. Whilst I was at medical school, one of my best friends came out as transgender which made me want to learn more about gender dysphoria. I realised that working in gender dysphoria was the career for me! I then moved to Manchester for foundation training and then to the North East for psychiatry training. I am currently training to become a psychiatrist. I train four days a week and work in the gender dysphoria service one day a week alongside my psychiatry training. When I finish my psychiatry training, I plan to work full time in gender dysphoria. I have a particular interest in medical education and teach medical students and PA students at Newcastle and Sunderland Universities about LGBT+ awareness and transgender health.
I really enjoy… playing Dungeons and Dragons, playing board games, sewing, knitting and spending time with friends and family and our two cats (Stre’k and Umbra).
Sarah Hay
Call me: Sarah
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Speech and Language Therapist
Professional background: Before I joined the NRGDS Team I worked for many years in an Outpatient Hospital in Glasgow where I specialised in Voice, Trans and Gender Diverse Voice, Dysfluency and Upper Airways Disorders. I love empowering clients with the tools and knowledge to understand and modify their voice. I use a counselling approach in my therapy and have a particular interest in Autism and ADHD.
I really enjoy… being outdoors. I love running, hillwalking and wild swimming. I’m also addicted to health and wellbeing podcasts!
Dr Renske Herrema
Call me:
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Senior Clinical Psychologist
Professional background: I previously worked in a Children and Young People’s Service prior to joining NRGDS. I worked with young people with Autism and ADHD in that service and prior to my Psychology training. I have always enjoyed working with neurodivergent individuals and I am passionate about ensuring individuals have a safe space to talk about their experiences, things that are difficult and I love learning more about them along the way. I am also currently working towards accreditation as a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) practitioner.
I really enjoy… being outdoors, travelling and seeing new places, any water sports (recently it’s SUP and open water swimming), and spending time with friends, family and my cat Ernie.
Beverley Howe
Call me: Beverley
Pronouns: she/her
Job: Senior Peer Supporter
Professional background: Trained and work as a recovery worker for third sector organisations
I really enjoy… listening to music as well as seeing live band at various festivals. Reading and watching sci-fi

Renu Johnson
Call me: Renu
Pronouns: she/her
Job: Administrations Officer
Professional background: Many years ago I owned my business in ladies, men’s, children’s fashions and haberdashery. For seven years I worked in different departments within Northumbria Police, such as Enquiry Clerk at Forth Banks and Etal Lane police station, legal secretary, 101 customer services and Criminal Justice Department and vetting assistant at Bedlington police station.
I really enjoy… embroidery and cross stitch

Christine Johnston
Call me: Christine
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Administration Officer
Professional background: I started working in NRGDS in April 2016. I have previously worked in administration roles. I value my role as an admin officer as it gives me the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people.
I really enjoy… spending time with my family and friends. I have a Jack Russell who I like taking for walks. I enjoy going to see live bands.
Dr Rachel Jones
Call me: Rachel
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: GP Specialist in Gender Dysphoria
Professional background: I have done all my medical training in the North East and qualified as a GP in 2015. I have recently joined the service and I have always felt passionate about improving healthcare for trans patients particularly in primary care and would like to develop a special interest in helping support and treat people with Gender Dysphoria so am looking forward to getting stuck in and learning a lot! I also enjoy medical education and help with teaching medical students and junior doctors.

I really enjoy… baking, exploring the great outdoors, family day trips and a good glass of Pinot Noir! I also help foster hedgehogs in the winter months and have a crazy golden retriever called Ted.

Nazlin Kurji-Smith
Call me: Naz
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Lead Speech and Language Therapist
Professional background: Before joining NRGDS, I worked in adult acute care and in voice clinics.
I really enjoy… exploring voice with people and having fun with our voices. Outside work, I enjoy walking the dog, kayaking, meeting with friends and family, drinking craft beer and eating other people’s baked goods! I’m also partial to a box set binge of terrible TV.
Dr Anna Laws
Call me: Anna
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Professional background: Before I joined the team at the NRGDS, in 2016, I worked in an adolescent forensic service, adult psychotherapy and a psychology team for people with interpersonal difficulties and complex trauma. I also trained as a psychosexual therapist.
I really enjoy… opportunities to meet with the wider trans and non-binary community. I’m passionate about teaching and training to improve healthcare for our clients. In my free time I enjoy being creative in lots of different ways, wearing trousers and sitting in a pile of cats.
Dr Nicola Mitcheson
Call me: Nicola
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Consultant in Gender Dysphoria (Medical Doctor)
Professional background: Prior to coming to NRGDS I worked as a forensic psychiatrist for many years in various settings, including prisons, inpatient, and community. Much of this involved working with people to help them improve their mental health and regain or develop new skills.
I really enjoy… working in NRGDS which gives me the chance to meet people who all have different experiences and perspectives, and from whom I am constantly learning. I am passionate about promoting better health and wellbeing and providing the best individualised care possible. I feel fortunate to work with colleagues who are similarly very passionate about their work. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, being outdoors and gardening, especially growing things to eat.
Pawel Plottke
Call me:
Pronouns: he/him/his
Job: Administration Assistant
Professional background: Before joining this wonderful service, I have enjoyed working as a Team Manager in a restaurant chain and studied architecture at Northumbria University. Now, aspiring to progress in my new role and become a valuable member of the Gender Dysphoria Team, whilst providing an exceptional service to all our patients. It’s very important for me to work in a setting where we can change people’s lives and raise the awareness of this crucial service.
I really enjoy… playing and watching football, travelling to new destinations and learning about different cultures, and cooking delicious meals for the important people in my life! My specialty is a crunchy peanut chicken satay.
Deborah Quinn
Call me: Deborah
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Specialist Nurse
Professional background: I began my nursing career in 2007 when I qualified as a Learning Disabilities nurse at Northumbria University. Before joining NRGDS I worked as a learning disabilities nurse in an adult inpatient service before joining an adolescent forensic service for five years. I then worked within a community setting with children and young people for six years. I will always strive to provide the best individualised care I can for every person that I work with. I value my role as a nurse and the opportunity to be able to work with a diverse range of people.
I really enjoy… spending time with my family, my friends and my dog (a mischievous miniature schnauzer). I also enjoy going to Indie gigs and binging on Netflix box sets. Favourite band: The Charlatans. Favourite film: Labyrinth. Favourite actor: Bette Davis.
Dr Richard Quinton
Call me: Richard
Pronouns: he/him etc
Job: Consultant Endocrinologist
Professional background: I qualified in Medicine from Cambridge University; trained in Internal Medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and Erasmus University Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and then in Endocrinology at UCL-Middlesex Hospitals, London.
I moved to the North East in 1999 to take up my present posts with Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals and Newcastle University in 1999.
During my higher training, I developed a major interest in Reproductive Endocrinology and sex hormones, which provided a really helpful entry point for me into Gender Medicine in around 2008.
I really enjoy… travelling with my family
River August Rowan
Call me: River August, Riv, Gus
Pronouns: they/them/theirs
Job: Senior Peer Supporter
Professional background: I work as a peer supporter for NRGDS and as a dental nurse in Newcastle. I enjoy a nice mix of work to keep me on my toes! The best part of my job is getting to meet all the people who use our service, and learning new things as the service grows.
I really enjoy… Nature walking, hiking, and reading books (thrillers and fantasy!). I also enjoy DIY and renovation. I’m into loads of different types of music, and I enjoy travelling around the country to see bands of all genres!
Favourite author: Stephen King. Favourite band: Big Red Machine and Khruangbin (can’t only pick one!)
Dr Michael Shaw
Call me: Mike
Pronouns: he/him/his
Job: Consultant in Gender Dysphoria (Medical Doctor)
Professional background: I trained as a doctor in Yorkshire and then undertook specialist training in Psychiatry in Merseyside before moving to Northumberland in 2000. Before joining the team at NRGDS I worked with young adults experiencing a first episode of severe mental illness, helping them recover and achieve their full potential. I am committed to social justice and equality. I aim to express these values in my own practice and by influencing health services and health policy. I am active within the British Medical Association, the doctors’ Trade Union.
I really enjoy… Being outside walking, cycling or gardening. Viewing and creating art, particularly painting.
Favourite author: Iain M Banks. Favourite band: Led Zeppelin. Favourite film: The Blues Brothers.
Mary Soulsby
Call me: Mary
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Specialist Nurse
Professional background: Before I joined the team at the NRGDS I worked in an adolescent forensic inpatient service and then as part of an Adult Community Mental Health Team. I have completed further training to allow me to deliver advice to GP’s with regards to hormone therapy.
I really enjoy… working with our client group and believe that I am an effective advocate for all trans and non-binary people in the wider community. I’m passionate improving healthcare for our clients. In my free time I enjoy watching movies and TV shows. I also like to attend music events especially rock music.
Rachel Watson
Call me: Rachel
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Pathway Co-ordinator
Professional background: I joined the NRGDS team in January 2016 as an Admin Assistant. Prior to that I worked in admin for a couple of training organisations. I enjoy making sure the systems we use are up to date and helping the team to get the information they need to improve the service we provide for patients. I value the admin team that I am a part of as everyone is extremely hard working to keep up with the heavy workload.I have a mind for data and love organising myself using spreadsheets. I would say I’m a bit of a nerd!
I really enjoy… DIY and home improvements, spending time with my family and dog and visiting new places.
Cam Whitfield
Call me: Cam
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Administration Team Lead
Professional background: I started working in the NHS as an apprentice receptionist in a GP practice when I was 17. I have since worked across various NHS settings including inpatient wards, receptionist work as well as secretary work. I started in NRGDS in 2018 as an admin assistant.
I really enjoy… Going out with my friends and family, going on holiday, drinking alcohol and sleeping.
Dr Ewa Young
Call me: Ewa
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Job: Consultant in Gender Dysphoria (Medical Doctor)
Professional background: I completed my postgraduate training in psychiatry in the North East of England and worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist initially in the Crisis Team, Rehabilitation Team and lately in a Community Treatment Team. I enjoy being a member of the Gender Dysphoria Team and find my job rewarding. I am also a qualified Personal Trainer and a Mat Pilates Instructor and believe in a holistic approach to health. I am committed to providing a high quality care.
I really enjoy… good holidays, experimenting in the kitchen and exercise.

Our vision and values

The Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service is hosted by Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust vision and values are:

Our vision

To be a leader in the delivery of high quality care and a champion for those we serve.

Our values

Caring and compassionate

  • Put ourselves in other people’s shoes
  • Listen and offer hope
  • Focus on recovery
  • Be approachable
  • Be sensitive and considerate
  • Be helpful
  • Go the extra mile


  • Value the skill and contribution of others
  • Give respect to all people
  • Respect and embrace difference
  • Encourage innovation and be open to new ideas
  • Work together and value our partners

Honest and transparent

  • Have no secrets
  • Be open and truthful
  • Accept what is wrong and strive to put it right
  • Share information
  • Be accountable for our actions

The staff team at the Northern Region Gender Dysphoria Service have embedded these within the service and have identified our values:


Service users
We aim to work collaboratively and fairly with service users to enable them to be their authentic selves, recognising that each individual is unique.

Our team
We aim to support each other to develop as individuals through positive challenge and open reflection, maintaining our focus on our service users.

Working with others
We aim to create gender affirmative change with passion, taking responsibility for seeking out diversity and encouraging authenticity in all areas of our working lives.