Meet the Team

Herts Valleys Education Team

Dr Alka Patel – Diabetes Education Lead, Herts Valleys Diabetes

I qualified from Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital in 1990 and completed my GP training in 1999, achieving a distinction in my membership exams for the Royal College of General Practitioners. My interest in diabetes started in my early years as a GP when I completed the Warwick Certificate in Diabetes Care.

I am an advocate of preventative medicine and health promotion, with a keen interest in lifestyle medicine, behaviour change and patient empowerment. I enjoy spending time as a coach, focusing on the changes individuals want to make or decisions they are having difficulty making and helping them to set and reach their goals. “Strength doesn’t come from what you do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t”

I also have a particular interest in professional education, quality improvement and system leadership. Keeping up to date in the current changing climate and with the fast pace of research can be challenging and my current focus is on up-skilling health care professionals and integrating education across professional boundaries.

I have additional roles with regulatory bodies including the GMC and CQC.

I am also a GP Educator and Appraiser and enjoy reflective and forward-thinking conversations.

Dr Nicola Cowap – Diabetes Clinical Lead, Herts Valleys CCG

Dr Nicola Cowap has been at Bridgewater House Surgeries in Watford for the past 15 years.  Prior to this, she worked in Tower Hamlets in East London where she first became interested in diabetes.  She completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes at Cardiff University in 2010 and in 2014 published a book for patients, ‘Journey through Diabetes’.  She has worked as a clinical lead for Herts Valleys CCG for the past five years. She is a GP trainer and is particularly interested in education – both of health professionals and patients.  

Dr Vidya Kanthi

Dr Vidya Kanthi is a GP at The Elms Medical Practice in Harpenden. She completed her GP VTS with the Watford scheme in 2012 before embarking on her first GP post at her training practice in St Albans. She completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes with distinction from Leicester University in 2014. Subsequently, she worked as the St Albans & Harpenden locality diabetes clinical lead for Herts Valleys CCG from 2015 until 2018. She is now a Project Lead as part of the Hertfordshire Diabetes Education team. She is a GP appraiser and an enthusiast for medical education.

Dr Thomas Galliford – Clinical Lead

I am currently the clinical lead of the Department of Endocrinology at West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust and also the Clinical Lead of the Herts Valley Integrated Diabetes service.  We are teams that are committed to providing excellent and integrated services to patients with diabetes and endocrine conditions.  I have sub-speciality interests in diabetes and endocrine disorders in pregnancy, diabetes in young adults and the use of technology in diabetes.  I also have a strong interest in medical education and teaching My undergraduate training was at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School/Imperial College from where I graduated in 1998 having also completed an intercalated BSc(Hons).  I undertook my post-graduate training primarily in London which included a period of research in thyroid disease and metabolic bone disease at the Hammersmith Hospital.

Maggie Carroll -Nursing Lead

I am the Clinical Nursing Lead of the Hertfordshire Integrated Diabetes Service , this service is provided by a team of specialist nurses who work collaboratively  with consultants , dieticians and other health care workers to ensure that patient care is delivered in a timely  and efficient manner .

We run Consultant Led Multi-Disciplinary Clinics within localities , as well as nurse led clinics . All of our team our Trained Educators and are actively involved in delivering DESMOND and DAFNE courses to our patient groups

My background is primary care , I  feel passionately about working alongside our primary care colleagues to provide a seamless service  for patients and embrace the opportunity to deliver joint clinics within General Practice

Claire Mearing –  Diabetes lead for Dietetics

I lead a team of Diabetes Dieticians across Herts Valley and we provide clinic support, education and home visits to people with diabetes. We have a team of committed Dieticians with a passion for enabling people to learn about their condition in a supportive environment.