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Meet the team at Rheumatology Manchester.

The Team: Image
The Team: About Us

Who is Rheumatology Manchester?


Prof. Ben Parker.

Prof. Ben Parker.

Ben is a Consultant Rheumatologist at Spire Manchester Hospital and The Kellgren Centre for Rheumatology, Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) and MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chair in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at University of Manchester and Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

​Ben is a specialist in the management of complex connective tissue diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjogren’s Syndrome and vasculitis, providing a regional, tertiary specialist rheumatology service for the North West of England from his NHS clinic at the Kellgren Centre for Rheumatology, Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI). In his NHS practice Ben  manages the award winning biologics services for high-cost drug therapies.

​After attending medical school in Liverpool and junior medical training in Australia and Manchester, Ben undertook his specialist rheumatology training in the North West. During this time he secured an Arthritis Research UK Clinical Research Fellowship in 2009 to investigate cardiovascular co-morbidity in SLE and was awarded a PhD by the University of Manchester in 2012.

​Ben was appointed Consultant Rheumatologist at Manchester Royal Infirmary in July 2013. During this time, he has led many service developments that have improved patient care, including:

​·         Developed a large, regional specialised rheumatology service for patients with complex rheumatology problems, providing leadership and clinical expertise across the North West

·         Established the NHS England North West Giant Cell Arteritis virtual MDT to oversee prescribing of tocilizumab in GCA

·         Authored several Greater Manchester Biologic Prescribing guidelines for psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and established the Greater Manchester Biologics Optimisation Network

·         Provided a young adult rheumatology service for patients transitioning from paediatric to adult services.

Ben is actively involved in clinical research, overseeing several projects in the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre that investigate treatment, co-morbidity, and outcomes in SLE. Ben also acts as Principal Investigator on many clinical trials in Lupus and Sjogren’s Syndrome and is UK Chief Investigator on several trials in SLE, based at the Kellgren Centre for Rheumatology.

​Ben has been a member of British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) since 2014.

​In July 2018 Ben became Medical Director at the NHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility (MCRF) at Manchester Royal Infirmary, and since 2022 has been Co-Director of the MCRF. In this role Ben oversees the delivery of many clinical trials and studies, including many urgent COVID-19 studies throughout the pandemic, including those specific to T-Cell immunity as featured in a wide range of national press during 2020.

Ben has previously been a member of the BSR Clinical Affairs Committee and acted on their behalf as a clinical expert for several NICE technology appraisals and the 2018 NICE clinical guideline in rheumatoid arthritis.  

Ben also sits on the abstract selection committee for the Annual Conference of British Society for Rheumatology, acts as peer reviewer for several international research journals, and was a member of the LUPUSUK Research Peer Review panel from 2015 to 2021.


Karen Winterburn


The Team: Image

Karen Winterburn.


Karen has an extensive administrative work history in a customer focussed environment both within the hospital and civil service environment.

She initially started her career as a Senior Clerical Officer in the Client Services department for the Australian Government, Department of Immigration & Ethnic Affairs in their Manchester based office.   In this position her primary tasks were the assessment of visitor and working holiday visas against eligibility criteria, process applications for Registration of Australian Citizenship, conduct Australian passport interviews which required Karen to interpret and apply often complex legislation and policies, and act as Collector of Public Monies.  Karen held this role until the operation was relocated to the High Commission in London in 2000.

Following the closure of the Australian Consulate, Manchester Karen relocated to Yorkshire and took up roles in the Children's Services of the Local Authority one being PA to the Head of Children & Young People's services in which she held this role for over

7 years before taking up the position of SEN Statementing Officer which required her to  undertake and supervise work in connection with the Education Act 1996, The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 and the SEN Code of practice with particular reference to the assessment of children with special educational needs.  This involved drafting of Statements of SEN, which have legal status and overseeing related procedures.

Following her move back to the Manchester area in 2014 Karen has been supporting

Dr Parker and his colleagues in their clinics both in the NHS and private sector as PA/Senior Medical secretary at the Manchester Royal Infirmary/Spire, Manchester.

The Team: Meet the Team

Ben has a busy family life with his wife and 3 children. At weekends he assumes the role of Dad's Taxi Service; ferrying his his children to various sporting activities across the North West. In his spare time Ben enjoys both playing and watching football, being outdoors with his beloved dog Monty (pictured) and he is an accomplished skier holidaying in the French and Austrian Alps or Italian Dolomites

The Team: Meet the Team
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