Simmons was born around 1762 and was apprenticed to a surgeon, Mr Hinckley, in Stone. He studied under John Hunter at St George's Hospital London, and was admitted MRCS on 7 April 1785. Simmons entered practice in Stone, but in 1789 went to Manchester. In 1790 he proposed that the Infirmary accept midwifery cases, or appoint Simmons as man-midwife. This proposal was not accepted, but later the same year Simmons was elected surgeon to the MRI. During Simmon's time as surgeon, he courted controversy. He made a number of charges against the house surgeon, Mr Hutchinson. He was central to the Manchester caesarean controversy, which began when Simmons published his work Reflections on the propriety of performing the caesarean operation in 1798, condemning the operation. This was followed by a series of conflicting papers written by John Hull and Simmons. Jordan was placed under the care of Mr Summer of Princess Street, surgeon to the Infirmary, when he could not get an apprenticeship. Simmons recognised his talents and Jordan became his assistant. Simmons later helped Jordan to establish the Lock Hospital in 1819. Simmons died around June 1830.