Firms To Watch: Health

The team at Markel Law LLP law led by regulatory and public lawyer Deborah Nicholson regularly handles professional discipline, business crime and regulatory disputes for healthcare professionals, representing dentists, therapists, doctors and professional bodies.

Health in North West

Addleshaw Goddard

The practice at Addleshaw Goddard continues to support clients throughout Covid-related challenges, drawing on sub-specialisms in public sector and health infrastructure, social and long-term care as well as life sciences and private healthcare. The team stands out for its growing private equity healthcare practice. Co-heading the team are Michael O’Connor and managing associate Stephanie Townley, the former has expertise in NHS commercial transactions, while the latter leads health infrastructure and public sector matters. Andrew Pettinger is experienced in handling public-private partnerships and PFI projects.

Practice head(s):

Michael O’Connor; Stephanie Townley

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Pettinger


Stephanie Townley, Managing Associate: was the key relationship for the project and I was very pleased with her performance. Her way of working helped to diffuse some difficult situations between the Trust and the subsidiary and I would pick this out as a considerable strength in her approach.

Michael O’Connor, Partner: also provided some essential support at various important decision stages. Mike’s strengths are clearly his considerable range of knowledge on the subject matter and his ability to be very incisive in identifying potential risks and mitigating actions.

‘We have worked closely with the team for a number of years which means they have a deep understanding of our projects and are able to provide practical legal and commercial support. The benefit of this relationship over a long period is they have a breadth of the history related to the project.’

‘The AG team are health care sector experts with long experience of acting for health sector clients including leading pharmaceutical producers. The long-standing nature of their relationships mean that they really know their clients and their knowledge of the regulatory environment is particularly impressive.’

‘The AG team are health care sector experts with long experience of acting for health sector clients including leading pharmaceutical producers. The long-standing nature of their relationships mean that they really know their clients and their knowledge of the regulatory environment is particularly impressive.’

‘This is an outstanding team with a high level of technical knowledge. They are client focused and do what is right for the business rather than fee-centred. They are professional and but also very personable and easy to work with.’

‘Responsive, knowledgeable and proficient.’

‘Go the extra mile with providing networking opportunities and sending relevant briefings.’

Key clients


Genedrive Plc

GEN inCode UK Limited

Yourgene Health plc

Shawbrook Bank Ltd

Coutts & Co

Step Springfield Village Limited

Maco Pharma S.A.S

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Infrared Capital Partners Limited and HCP Limited

Celesio (including Lloyds Pharmacy Group)

Assura Medical

Bupa Care Homes Mercia Healthcare

NHS Improvement

Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust

University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Business Services Authority

Serco Limited

Citybranch Limited and Citybranch Healthcare Limited

Liverpool and Sefton Health Partnerships Limited

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Clinigen Group Plc

North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

GB Partnerships

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust


Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust



First Option Healthcare

Work highlights

  • Working with the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on a review of its subsidiary arrangements, with a view to establishing commercial subsidiary entities for the Trust in the UK and the GCC (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) to house its private patient activities. Worked cross-team to advise the Trust on the NHS- specific issues (such as powers, consents, approvals and liaison with the regulator (NHS England & Improvement)
  • Engaged to rewrite, design and automate GlaxoSmithKline inc.’s entire suite (circa 200) of commercial templates including those for general services, supply chain, technology, R&D, clinical trials and material transfers that were robust and flexible enough to work for US and UK jurisdictions.

Browne Jacobson LLP

The team at Browne Jacobson LLP is a standout name for providing health-related advice to a national NHS client base as well as major private healthcare providers. Areas of expertise include mental health, governance and social care. Practice co-head Gerard Hanratty  is at the forefront of advising NHS clients on issues such as service reconfiguration projects and Covid-19 response measures while co-head Christian Dingwall  is known for his expertise on NHS transactions and projects. Victoria Thourgood and Amanda Callaghan  are key experts in the health space. Heather Caddy  joined in summer 2022 from Hill Dickinson LLP.

Practice head(s):

Gerard Hanratty; Christian Dingwall

Other key lawyers:

Amanda Callaghan; Victoria Thourgood; Heather Caddy


‘Breadth of expertise is impressive and extremely helpful for multi-faceted legal issues. This also provides the Trust with the assurance of having one place to go to for the full range of areas of law we encounter. The size of the firm also means that urgent instructions can be picked up and dealt with quickly, which has been particularly useful recently when we received last minute notice of a hearing about a complex issue.’

‘Considerable experience and expertise in healthcare governance.’

‘They are willing to work with us to find the right solution, not just offer advice. They know when to pick up the phone to better understand an issue and when to provide formal documented advice.’

Key clients

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS FT

Stockport NHS FT

Pennine Care NHS FT

Manchester University Hospitals NHS FT

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS FT

North West Ambulance NHS Trust

The Priory Group

NHS England

CNA Hardy

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Trust

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

NHS Transformation Unit

Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust

Work highlights

  • Application on behalf of the Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to intervene under the Inherent Jurisdiction in ongoing child proceedings.
  • Advising all 10 CCGs across Greater Manchester (GM) on the closedown of CCGs and transition to the new Integrated Care Board (ICB).


The team at Hempsons acts for numerous NHS Trust bodies, private health and care providers as well as health and care charities on various issues, with healthcare litigation, particularly clinical negligence, a growing area of work. Anne Ball‘s expertise includes regulatory and criminal matters in the health sector. Kirsten Blohm is experienced in major health litigation cases, while James Down is knowledgeable on inquests and coronial law. James Rowley joined from Weightmans LLP in May 2021, contributing regulatory contentious experience. Lisa Davison, a real estate lawyer, joined from Wake Smith Solicitors Limited in January 2021. Oliver Crich left to join DAC Beachcroft LLP in March 2022.

Practice head(s):

Anne Ball; Kristen Blohm; James Down

Other key lawyers:

James Rowley; Lisa Davison; Nigel Wood


‘Excellent knowledge and experience in Primary Care.’

‘Lisa Davison has excellent knowledge and experience of primary care property acquisitions and disposals’

‘Fantastic defendant firm.’

Key clients

NHS East Lancashire CCG

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Oldham CCG

North West Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

    Hill Dickinson LLP

    The team at Hill Dickinson LLP has a full-service offering including inquest representation, healthcare governance, commercial support as well as inquiries and investigations.  A growing specialism is its work on safeguarding issues involving vulnerable adults and children. Joanna Trewin co-leads the team with experience in NHS trusts legal service provision while co-head Emma Stockwell advises clients on all aspects of corporate governance and regulatory matters. Paul Allerston was promoted to partner in May 2021.

    Practice head(s):

    Joanna Trewin; Emma Stockwell

    Other key lawyers:

    Paul Allerston; Gareth Miller


    ‘The healthcare team at Hill Dickinson are exceptional. They give clear and practical advice that enables Trust staff to fully understand and follow it. They have endless patience and show great empathy and support to staff involved in complex and challenging health situations. They don’t hesitate to work late, or start early to enable clinicians involved in legal cases to continue to deliver patient care. Hill Dickinson have a wide range of expertise and always ensure a case is allocated to the most appropriate member of their team. The breadth of knowledge in the wider firm provides a valuable resource for complex/unusual cases and ensures the team are able to seamless and timely advice.’

    ‘The team includes a diverse range of specialisms depending on the nature of the advice sought. This ensures tailored, specialist and watertight advice is received.’

    ‘The specialist nature of advice provided gives assurance that we are acting in the best interests of the community we serve and protects our interests as an organisation. This is particularly important around implementation of Liberty Protection Safeguards and management of existing deprivation of liberty safeguards.’

    Key clients

    The Northern Care Alliance

    Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

    Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    East Cheshire NHS Trust

    Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

    Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

    Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust

    The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Liverpool Heart & Chest NHS Foundation Trust

    Work highlights

    • Advising a wide range of organisations, including The Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest NHS organisations in the country, on the increasing legal issues that are arising nationally, in relation to the treatment of patients with Eating Disorders.
    • Advising the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust in its acquisition of Pennine Acute NHS Trust to create one of the largest NHS organisations in the country, and the transfer of Manchester General Hospital to Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as part of the “Healthier Together” strategic redesign of health services across Greater Manchester.
    • Advising Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust in relation to the myriad of legal issues arising over a number of years in relation to the various investigations, including the Ockenden Review and police investigation regarding allegations of poor care leading to the deaths of babies within the Trust’s Maternity Unit.

    Weightmans LLP

    Praised as ‘strong across the board’, the practice at Weightmans LLP is able to provide full support to health bodies, from employment disputes to judicial reviews. The team is noted for its support of clients on complex strategic issues as well as a number of high-profile inquiries. Richard Jolly  leads the national health work, and acts for NHS trusts in particular. Dewi Ap-Thomas oversees the regulatory team while Emlyn Williams  focuses on employment issues for health clients.

    Practice head(s):

    Richard Jolly; Dewi Ap-Thomas; Emlyn Williams

    Other key lawyers:

    Edwina Farrell; Morris Hill


    ‘The Weightmans team are a pleasure to work with – they are strong across the board.’

    Morris Hill who is a truly excellent solicitor – he is razor sharp but hugely personable with it. He has a command of his cases, and his area of law, which is second to none.’


    Key clients

    NHS Resolution

    Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

    Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

    Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

    Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS FT

    NHS Blood & Transplant

    Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

    Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

    Liverpool University NHS FT

    Alder Hey Children’s NHS FT

    Countess of Chester NHS FT

    Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust

    NHS England

    Bolton CCG

    Mersey Care NHS FT

    Partnership Caring Ltd

    Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS FT

    Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS FT

    IDH Dental


    Wirral University Hospitals NHS FT

    Work highlights

    • Acting for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust in proceedings that received worldwide media attention when MHUT brought proceedings under the Children Act 1989/the inherent jurisdiction for orders allowing the withdrawal of life sustaining treatment to a two year old child. Successfully resisted applications for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
    • Advising North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust, one of the key Core Participants at the statutory Public Inquiry into the bombing at the Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017.
    • Represented Alder Hey in the case of Sasha Burn v Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.[2021] EWHC 1674 (QB).

    Brabners LLP

    Brabners LLP’s practice provides ‘exceptional service‘ to clients not only in the classical health but also in pharmacy, dental and paramedic sectors, advising healthcare providers, commercial entities and practicing healthcare professionals. It is active in the healthcare regulatory space, representing both individuals and providers in contentious proceedings. Leading the team is Richard Hough, who has longstanding expertise in the pharmacy sector.

    Practice head(s):

    Richard Hough

    Other key lawyers:

    David Seddon


    ‘Good experience and knowledge in the sector. Anticipate issues before it happens. Understand the NHS contract for pharmacy and how it impacts valuations and profitability.’

    ‘David Seddon has intimate knowledge on the industry and able to forecast issues before it happens and deal with them. The best part is he can “dumbed down” legal terms so any layman will understand what the legal documentations are all about.’

    ‘Quick response and 24/7 availability for their clients’

    Key clients

    Well Pharmacy (Bestway Panacea Healthcare Ltd)

    The College of Paramedics

    National Pharmacy Association

    Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

    The Bullen Healthcare Group

    UK Meds Direct Ltd

    EU Meds Direct Ltd

    Medtrade Products Limited

    HR Healthcare Ltd t/a

    Dumbledore Dental Care Limited

    NorthWest EHealth Ltd

    Medical Defense Society

    CFC Insurance

    Innox Trading Ltd t/a chemist-4-u

    Nasogastric Feeding Solutions Limited

    Fertility QMS Ltd

    Vascular Perspectives

    Matcher Technologies Ltd

    Centred Solutions

    NorthWest Air Ambulance

    Yanco Limited

    Dental Defence Society

    Work highlights

    • On instructions from the College of Paramedics, representing a paramedic in the first fitness to practise case arising from delayed patient treatment due to lack of appropriate PPE during the COVID19 pandemic. The case attracted widespread national and international attention. The case ultimately concluded with no adverse finding or sanction against the paramedic.
    • During 2021/2022 provided advice and assistance on over 100 dental practice sales or acquisitions.
    • During 2021/2022, advice and assistance was provided on over 40 pharmacy practice sales (being a combination of retail dispensing pharmacies and providers of outsourced pharmacy solutions to hospitals and care facilities).

    DAC Beachcroft LLP

    DAC Beachcroft LLP’s team has experience providing  advice to the NHS as well as private clients on a wide variety of matters, including regulatory and governance issues. It also deals with clinical negligence claims, misconduct proceedings and inquests as well as supporting clients with the development of new facilities. Sean Doherty has experience in injury claims and NHS advice, co-heading the team together with Nigel Montgomery in Bristol. Oliver Crich joined the practice as partner in March 2022 from Hempsons .

    Practice head(s):

    Sean Doherty; Nigel Montgomery

    Other key lawyers:

    Oliver Crich; Harald Loeffler


    ‘As a business which operates in the health tech sector it is very helpful being able to draw upon the strength and depth of the team at DAC – whether that is in relation to broad strategic themes or regulatory or contractual matters.’

    ‘The firm works hard to establish and maintain strong relationships with the client. They show understanding of the challenges faced by staff and the needs of the patients and guide the Trust effectively in identifying strengths and weaknesses in a defence’

    ‘Professional, friendly and down to earth solicitors who put witnesses at ease and ensure best possible evidence’

    Key clients

    NHS Resolution

    NHS England

    NHS Digital


    Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

    York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

    NHS Leeds CCG

    NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG

    NHS Wakefield CCG

    Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

    Barnsley Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

    Airedale NHS Foundation Trust

    Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Harrogate NHS Foundation Trust

    Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

    NHS Commissioning Board (NHS England)

    NHS North East Lincolnshire CCG

    NHS Calderdale CCG

    NHS Hull CCG

    City Health Care Partnership CIC

    Humber NHS Foundation Trust

    Health Research Authority

    Circle (BMI Healthcare Ltd)

    HCA International Ltd

    Elysium Healthcare Ltd

    Care Fertility Group Ltd

    Florence Nightingale Hospital


    Insurance Corporation of the Channel Islands

    SHA (South Africa)

    MS Amlin



    Allied World Assurance Company

    North West Boroughs Healthcare

    East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

    Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

    Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust

    North West Boroughs Healthcare

    East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust



    Crown Commercial Services

    Schoen Clinic UK

    East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

    Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Work highlights

    • Proceedings for committal for contempt of Court against a litigation friend on behalf of Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and NHS Resolution.
    • Acting for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in relation to the estate management work for its hospital sites and other commercial properties. Acted for the Trust on the purchase from NHS Blood and Transplant of the site of a former NHS Blood and Transplant service centre.
    • Acting for a registered charity in the acquisition of land for £24 million on a contract conditional on planning and satisfaction of construction conditions and the development of a new brain assistive facility to provide beds for 45 patients to be developed by Henry Boot Limited at their Chocolate Works site in York.


    The team at Fieldfisher provides regulatory expertise, advice and litigation services, standing out with its work for start-ups as well as regulatory and professional bodies. A growing area of its practice focuses on artificial intelligence supported healthcare provision and e-health, as well as genomic mapping and reproductive technologies. Heading the team is Sarah Ellson, noted for her strength on regulatory matters. Tom Ward is a leading specialist in equity financings and management of buy-out transitions. Joshua Marshall left the practice in September 2021.

    Practice head(s):

    Sarah Ellson

    Other key lawyers:

    Thomas Ward; Rob Sheldon

    Key clients

    Roche Products Limited

    Human Tissue Authority

    Royal College of Physicians (RCP)

    Rowlands Pharmacies/Phoenix Healthcare

    Marlowe plc – Optima Health Group Limited

    Alliance Medical – Lloyds Pharmacy


    General Medical Council

    Fresenius Kabi

    Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

    Work highlights

    • Advising one of the UK’s fastest growing online providers of personalised skincare.
    • Advised three major pharmacy chains on the development of online retail pharmacy services.
    • Advised on Marlowe plc’s acquisition of Optima Health Group Limited.

    Mills & Reeve LLP

    Mills & Reeve LLP’s practice provides advice to NHS trusts, national bodies, charities and independent healthcare providers, with a focus on health tech and real estate matters. It also acts for investors in the sector. Jill Mason , who is usually based in Birmingham leads the team. Paul Knight focuses on software and data security while Charlotte Lewis is noted for her experience in system integration and electronic patient record procurement.

    Practice head(s):

    Jill Mason

    Other key lawyers:

    Chris Wilkinson; Paul Knight; Charlotte Lewis; Jennifer Lewis


    ‘I have worked with a number of people from the firm and each one of them has a fantastic grasp of their particular field and is able to help clients who do not have their expertise understand the important issues and ensure that all the points are covered. We have felt guided but not herded towards conclusions and the approach has been helpful in a number of key areas notably NHS Property and GDPR/Confidentiality and areas where case law had not yet been established.’

    ‘My highest praise goes to Jennifer Lewis who works as a Principal Associate.’

    Within the north west team, two individuals stand out for me – Charlotte Lewis and Jennifer Lewis, who have both been outstanding in their support. Both have very positive approaches to work, always seem to be available to answer ad hoc questions, regardless of workload and often proactive in providing advice and market intelligence, making it very clear that they understand our business and what is important to us. Charlotte has also spent a lot of time on client relationship matters. She has been quick to understand my internal team structure and to adapt legal services to suit. It is unusual to find a senior associate with this level of client relationship focus in addition to subject matter experience.’

    I have yet to find someone who knows more about property issues within the health sector than Jennifer Lewis. Her understanding of the market and knowledge of the other landlords within it means I can rely on her to provide robust advice on any and all lease requirements I have.’


    Key clients

    Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

    L. Rowland & Company (Retail) Limited

    NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group

    Wellola Limited

    Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

    NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group

    Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

    Stockport Medical Group

    Borough Care

    Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group


    Department of Health and Social Care

    NHS England

    NHS Stoke on Trent Clinical Commissioning Group

    NHS Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group

    Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust

    Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust

    NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group

    Supply Chain Coordination Limited (NHS Supply Chain)

    Work highlights

    • Advising Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust on their provider collaboratives to integrate adult and children’s mental health services across Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Merseyside, as well as adult eating disorder services across the North West.
    • Advising lead NHS Providers, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust in creating provider collaboratives to integrate the provision of specialist mental health, learning disability and autism services across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.
    • Advising NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group and other health and care organisations in the Oldham region on a bespoke Integration Agreement – a model that is likely to be adopted across other parts of England.