We will be holding the second William Rathbone X Annual Lecture and Award Presentation at the London South Bank University on Friday 10 May 2024.


The Lecture will be given by Michelle Cox, Race Equality Consultant. Michelle has 30 years’ experience in the NHS, and 26 years as a registered nurse. Michelle has a particular interest in health inequalities. As a black nurse she has shone a light on issues affecting not just black communities and ethnic minorities, in her hometown of Liverpool, but has led on a number of national programs to elevate understandings around Equality Diversity and Inclusion ensuring that challenges are addressed, and learning embedded throughout NHS organisations.

Michelle is more than passionate about challenging discrimination and injustices and has often used her platform as a nurse. Until recently she was the Chair of Steve Biko Housing Association ensuring that the elderly and vulnerable in the local community have access to quality affordable homes free from race discrimination. It came as no surprise to hear of Michelle’s landmark win at an Employment Tribunal, February 2023, taking on her employer for race discrimination, harassment, victimisation, and detriments for whistleblowing. A fight she describes as a win for all global majority staff in the NHS experiencing discrimination.

Michelle’s lecture is entitled, ‘Healing the Scars: Community Nursing in Liverpool amidst the Legacy of Slavery and Discrimination’.


The QNI recognises the necessity of excellent leadership at a strategic level in the delivery of nursing care in the community. For this reason, last year we created The William Rathbone X Annual Award for Excellence in the Executive Nurse Leadership of Community Nursing Services. The Award is named in memory of an outstanding former member of the QNI’s Council, William Rathbone X, and has been generously funded by his family.

The Award gives national recognition of the impact of strategic nursing leadership in the delivery of excellent community nursing services. Further information about the award can be found here. Please note – this event is by invitation only. 

The nominees for 2024 are:

  • Carolyn Bell, Prospect Hospice, Swindon
  • Helen Dobson, Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Paula Hull, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Kim O’Keeffe, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Suzanne Mumford, Care UK
  • Paula Simpson, Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dawn Slater, Livewell Southwest CIC Social Enterprise, Plymouth

Carolyn Bell

Director of Patient Services, Prospect Hospice, Wroughton, Swindon

Since joining in 2019, Carolyn has created a number of innovative and visionary approaches for Prospect demonstrating excellent strategic nursing leadership. During Covid she adopted innovative approaches including training family members/carers to deliver subcutaneous injections for symptom relief empowering families, reducing distress and hospital admissions. She also created a devoted psychotherapy/spirituality role increasing emotional, psychological and spiritual support for patients/families, upskilling staff through education.

Carolyn actively builds strong relationships with the media and local authorities, keenly sharing updates and communication both internally and externally. She has the ability to bring teams and organisations together for a better more meaningful result ultimately for the patient. Carolyn’s exceptional leadership has demonstrably improved patient care, staff satisfaction and Prospect’s reputation as a centre of excellence. Her commitment to continuous improvement, staff development and knowledge sharing has a lasting impact on the hospice, the wider community, and fundamentally, on the lives of patients.

MNDA’s (Motor Neurone Disease Association’s) Head of Regional Services & Partnerships said: “Right from the start Carolyn saw the huge potential of Prospect and MNDA joining forces to develop a desperately needed, new, gold standard service for people with and affected by MND in Swindon. Carolyn’s commitment to collaboration, innovation and to delivering the best gives such great energy to our partnership. Always positive and solution focused, with Carolyn’s leadership on board we now look forward to the future with great confidence.”

Helen Dobson

Chief Nurse, The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

Helen became Chief Nurse at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust in 2017. At that time, the Trust faced several challenges and Helen’s leadership has been instrumental in changing and improving the culture within the Trust for the benefit of our patients. Significant work has been undertaken to improve attrition of the nursing and midwifery workforce leading to a 50% reduction in our leaver rates. This has been achieved by using evidence-based practice, engagement with nursing and midwifery staff and a Quality Improvement approach.

To support a programme of continued improvement and learning, Helen has developed a Quality Improvement team. Helen leads the Trust’s Quality agenda with the Medial Director and has led on implementation of a revised clinical governance structure, focusing on improvements in patient safety, patient experience and clinical effectiveness. In her role as Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Helen has supported improvements in healthcare associated infections.

In the community, Helen has led across a number of areas including: Virtual Wards – this has a focus on step up and frailty care with 86% of patients avoiding a hospital admission who would have previously required admission. End of Life Care – a focus on person centred care and the introduction of ReSPECT. Pressure Ulcers – reduction of avoidable harm from pressure ulcers using a quality improvement approach, using PSIRF as a theme for improvement. Achieving the 2-hour Community Response Target. Helen is a leader who supports staff and patients to promote equality, diversity and address health inequalities.

Paula Hull

Chief Nurse, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Paula shows excellent strategic nursing leadership through role modelling and her compassionate approach to deliver the best possible health care for patients, their carers, and their families. Paula has always felt that community nursing sits at the forefront of healthcare, alongside primary care. This approach thrived in the challenges of the pandemic and enabled her clinicians to work tirelessly together to keep people safe and their needs met during a unique period in the history of the NHS.

Paula has always been at the forefront of clinical services with her uniform on ready to be working alongside staff, providing care for patients in times of extreme difficulty. She has not only supported staff’s resilience but has herself being directly involved in ensuring that patients have access to the services when they most need them, and her clinical credibility remains a huge part of what Paula offers. She has helped others to understand the art of the possible in caring for people in their own homes. She has described and shown how expert clinicians provide care to some of the most challenged patients with significant needs.

Another key part of Paula’s approach to her clinical teams is in supporting their personal development. She has supported the development of clinical pathways in the community relating to frailty, providing the best opportunities to patients in their own homes avoiding unnecessary admission to hospitals. She has always championed nurses in the community to try to raise their profile and show the breadth of expertise they have. Paula continues to break down barriers between services to create an environment where we work together for the patient, making healthcare simpler and easier to navigate, through strong multi-disciplinary care.

Suzanne Mumford

Head of Nursing, Care, & Dementia Care, Quality & Governance, Care UK

Suzanne Mumford QN is the Head of Nursing, Care and Dementia for Care UK. She works with colleagues to create and implement impactful, person-centred strategies to ensure the highest standards of care for more than 9,000 residents across over 156 homes.

Since taking up her role in 2019, Suzanne been at the forefront of crucial care innovations, including the introduction of a Resident Wellbeing Assessment Tool during the pandemic, the reduction in usage of antipsychotic drugs for residents living with dementia, and the creation of an annual census of residents’ common medical conditions which has led to a wide range of training packages for colleagues.

Suzanne’s passion for nursing has seen the creation of a new academy – the Seacole Academy – to enhance their training and development and has contributed to an award-winning audiology intervention with the QNI and Tympa Health, which led to the identification and treatment of reversible hearing loss for residents. In addition to her role at Care UK, Suzanne plays a role in shaping the national conversation around dementia as a trustee for Dementia Community.

Paula Simpson

Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust

Paula is a compassionate, courageous nurse leader who has worked within Community Services for more than 30 years. Passionate about providing high-quality, person-centred care, with unwavering commitment to reducing health inequalities, she is focussed on maximising outcomes for patients’ experiences. These principles are embedded throughout Wirral Community Health & Care NHS FT thanks to Paula’s strategic nursing leadership, her support for staff and an absolute determination to provide high-quality, compassionate, personalised care.

Paula has been an active participant of the core Community Nursing National Plan Steering group. This has provided valuable staff development opportunities for aspiring and current nurse leaders, whilst ensuring local services benefit from transferability of key national initiatives. In addition, Paula has influenced the strategic development of bespoke digital dashboards within the Trust’s Information Gateway system. Paula’s strategic influence can also be evidenced by the development and implementation of the Trust’s five-year Quality Strategy, and the principles of ‘one person, one plan’ that Paula has advocated.

As Chief Nurse, Paula is the Executive lead and Registered Manager for regulatory compliance, including the CQC. Paula’s leadership helps to embed transparent, compassionate care throughout community nursing services. Paula is passionate about staff engagement and always ensures that the voice of nurses is present during board discussions. Paula has been instrumental in delivering our achievements through strong, visible, exemplary executive nurse leadership across the organisation.

Dawn Slater

Director of People and Professionalism (Director of Nursing), Livewell Southwest CIC Social Enterprise

Dawn Slater holds the responsibility of the Director of Nursing across LSW. Dawn’s focus on community nursing has been key to supporting the national agenda, including urgent and emergency care support and Primary Care. This means community nurses have more acute diagnostic skills, IV administration and non-medical prescribing. Dawn has worked hard to attract people into nursing, also focussing on retention. Dawn has led the organisation to focus on growing our own staff and developed the support we give to professionals to take the next step in their career. This has helped the organisation to attain an excellent low attrition rate.

Last year Dawn developed a pilot programme for school leavers in Plymouth, holding engagement sessions with students, parents and teachers; Dawn strongly believes we can develop and teach clinical skills to people with the right values. One cohort focused on young people who have been ‘lost’ due to the effect of Covid on their education. Dawn has also led the development of nurses on the Band 5 to 6 programme alongside operational managers. This is a competency-based programme ensuring nurses are ready to take on the responsibility of a B6 role. Community teams also now have staff with the District Nurse Specialist Practice Qualification embedded within them.

Dawn supports the use of digital technology, for example imaging of leg wounds. This has led to a significant improvement in wound healing rates. Community staff have been able to demonstrate not just a reduction in healing time but greater patient satisfaction too. This has then freed up capacity within DN teams. Dawn has shown great leadership in all developments across LSW and has been willing to share the great practice she has led across Devon, working with the ICB nurse leadership. Dawn has also chaired the Devon Nursing Associate group since its inception in 2017. Dawn sees the art of the possible in many areas and maintains professional standards in all she leads and does.

Kim O’Keeffe

Chief Nursing Officer, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Kim has the role of Chief Nursing Officer for the acute and community and mental health Trusts. This has been invaluable in ensuring high quality outcomes for patients, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This winter, Kim demonstrated her strategic system leadership by leading the implementation of a dynamic clinical risk assessment for urgent and emergency care that helped our system and providers focus on areas with the greatest presenting risk. She is also a strong leader in developing alternatives to acute conveyance, implementing a care home support team, and rolling out virtual wards. An example of this is how young people who are detained under the Mental Health Act in our CAMHs in-patient unit no longer have to be driven 20 miles to the general hospital for naso-gastric tube feeding but now walk accompanied to a co-located community hospital ward. This sharing of skills and experience between nurses has brought countless benefits to young people as they continue their recovery journey.

Kim identified key themes for our NMAHP research strategy and partnered with the Southwest Clinical School in Cornwall to deliver this. These themes included aligning research with public need, releasing research potential, and developing future research leaders. Kim has been pivotal in the development of the School, collaborating between our Trusts and the University of Plymouth. Kim has also successfully introduced an accreditation programme into the community hospitals, which uses improvement methodology to deliver measurable assurance of quality and safety of care. The programme called ASPIRE has seen continued improvements across the community hospital wards.



Event details

Date and time

10 May 2024


London South Bank University

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