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New year’s honours list 2023: nurses’ achievements recognised

After a year dominated by COVID-19, workforce pressures and historic strike action, nurses are rewarded for their continued work and commitment

After a year dominated by COVID-19, workforce pressures and historic strike action, nurses are rewarded for their continued work and commitment

Nurses have been recognised in the new year’s honours list for their continued work and commitment during a year dominated by high demand, workforce pressures and historic strike action.

Nurses working in sexual health, on the COVID-19 vaccination programme, in social care, mental health and those who have worked their way up to become chief executives of hospitals are among those receiving honours.

RCN Nurse of the Year who defied opposition

RCN Nurse of the Year 2021

After a year dominated by COVID-19, workforce pressures and historic strike action, nurses are rewarded for their continued work and commitment

Some of the nurses named in new year’s honours list, from left to right: Karen Howell, Nicola Bailey, Jennifer Hall, Deborah Sturdy and Michael Dickson
Some of the nurses named in the new year’s honours list, from left to right: Karen Howell, Nicola Bailey, Jennifer Hall, Deborah Sturdy and Michael Dickson

Nurses have been recognised in the new year’s honours list for their continued work and commitment during a year dominated by high demand, workforce pressures and historic strike action.

Nurses working in sexual health, on the COVID-19 vaccination programme, in social care, mental health and those who have worked their way up to become chief executives of hospitals are among those receiving honours.

RCN Nurse of the Year who defied opposition

Former RCN Nurse of the Year 2021 Nicola Bailey receives an OBE for services to healthcare
RCN Nurse of the Year 2021 Nicola Bailey receives an OBE for services to healthcare

Among them is former RCN Nurse of the Year 2021 Nicola Bailey, who defied opposition to provide early medical abortions to women in Northern Ireland.

Ms Bailey, a sexual health services nurse manager at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust receives an OBE for services to healthcare.

She set up the Rose Clinic, an early medical abortion service for women up to the tenth week of pregnancy, when COVID-19 struck – with lockdown rules preventing women from travelling to England to access care.

‘It is a great honour to receive this award and to be recognised for doing something that I feel passionately about.

‘I'm delighted that it showcases what nursing does as a profession and the difference we make to the lives of the people we care for,’ she said.

Delivered COVID-19 vaccine programme despite ongoing challenges

Jennifer Hall receives an OBE for services to the NHS
Jennifer Hall receives an OBE for services to the NHS

A host of other nurses and nursing leaders have been recognised for their efforts despite ongoing challenges facing the profession, including pay disputes, strikes and staffing issues.

NHS England’s director of nursing and clinical delivery for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, Jennifer Hall, receives an OBE for services to the NHS, particularly for her work during the pandemic.

Chief executive of the Shetland and Orkney Islands NHS Board Michael Dickson receives an OBE for services to healthcare during COVID-19. Mr Dickson is a qualified nurse with clinical experience in oncology and haematology.

He has worked in both the NHS and independent sectors, and said being a nurse has guided him throughout his career.

Michael Dickson receives an OBE for services to healthcare during COVID
Michael Dickson receives an OBE for services to healthcare during COVID

‘I still count myself incredibly lucky to be a nurse, not a day goes by where I don’t use the skills and experience I’ve gained over the years, he said.

‘During the pandemic we were all making really tough sacrifices. It genuinely speaks to the values that we have as nurses, which is about putting the people that we care for first and ensuring we’re making decisions that have their best interests at heart.’

Humbled by support to profession that has given so much

Former clinical director and chief nurse at Nuffield Health Carol Kefford receives an OBE for services to nursing. Ms Kefford is now the current chief nursing executive at HCA Healthcare UK.

Carol Kefford receives an OBE for services to nursing
Carol Kefford receives an OBE for services to nursing

Ms Kefford led Nuffield Health’s clinical response to COVID-19 across its network of hospitals.

‘I am truly humbled to be awarded an OBE. I have loved being a nurse and nursing leader in the military, NHS and across the independent hospital sector.

‘It was a particular pleasure to work so closely with our NHS colleagues throughout the pandemic,’ she said.

‘I’m lucky to have worked with so many talented nurses, clinicians and healthcare leaders who have guided, mentored and supported me so that I could give my best to our patients and the profession that has given me so much.’

‘Proud of the recognition of a lifetime’s work’

Karen Howell receives an OBE for services to healthcare
Karen Howell receives an OBE for services to healthcare

Wirral Community Health and Care Foundation Trust chief executive Karen Howell, who also receives an OBE for services to healthcare, started out as a nurse cadet while she was still at school.

In an NHS career spanning almost 45 years, Ms Howell has worked at local, regional and national level to lead large organisations, transform mental health services and support change in national policy.

‘It is such an honour to be recognised for my service to healthcare. This is recognition of a lifetime’s working. I joined the NHS at 15-years-old as a nurse cadet working on a Saturday morning.

‘I have been proud to dedicate my life to the NHS as a nurse and a manager, and I feel very privileged to have had such a wonderful career.’

‘Incredible work’ during extremely challenging time for the profession

Deborah Sturdy receives a CBE for services to social care
Deborah Sturdy receives a CBE for services to social care

Meanwhile, Welsh bank nurse Nancy Thomas, of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, receives a BEM for services to the NHS in Wales.

The Department for Health and Social Care’s chief nurse for adult social care, Deborah Sturdy receives a CBE for services to social care.

Other honours for nurses include MBEs for NHS England’s chief nurse for London, Elspeth Jane Clegg, and Whipps Cross University Hospital’s director of nursing Zebina Ratansi.

Incoming RCN president Sheila Sobrany said all the nurses recognised with awards demonstrate ‘the incredible work in what continues to be an extremely challenging time for the profession’.

The nurses named in the 2023 new year’s honours list

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Deborah Sturdy OBE, chief nurse for adult social care, Department for Health and Social Care. For services to social care.

Lesley Travill, chief executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and nurse by training. For services to the NHS.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Nicola Bailey, former RCN Nurse of the Year 2021. For services to Healthcare in Northern Ireland.

Jennifer Hall, director of nursing and clinical delivery, COVID-19 vaccination programme, NHS England and NHS Improvement. For services to the NHS, particularly during COVID-19.

Karen Howell, chief executive, Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, who started her career as a nurse at the trust. For services to healthcare.

Carol Kefford, chief nurse and clinical director, Nuffield Health. For services to nursing.

Michael Dickson, chief executive, Shetland and Orkney Islands NHS Board and nurse by background. For services to healthcare during COVID-19.

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Claire Bevan, chair audit committee, older people’s commissioner for Wales. For services to nursing and patient care.

April Brown
April Brown

April Brown, improvement director, intensive support, NHS England. For services to the NHS and to nursing.

Pauline Brown, advanced nurse practitioner. For services to healthcare in Scotland.

Elspeth Clegg, chief nurse for London, NHS England and NHS Improvement. For services to nursing and to the NHS.

Beverley Harden, deputy chief allied health professions officer, Health Education England. For services to healthcare.

Betsey Lau-Robinson, head of adult safeguarding and the Mental Health Capacity Act, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. For services to patient safeguarding.

Morag Liddell, senior charge nurse, neonatal unit, Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow. For services to paediatric and neonatal nursing.

Sonja McIlfatrick, Dean of the Ulster Doctoral College and professor of nursing and palliative Care, Ulster University. For services to higher education and public health.

Jennifer Nolan, founder and manager, Lawrence Home Nursing Team Limited. For services to end of life care.

Ruth Price, professor and co-lead, safeguarding health through Infection Prevention Research Group. For services to public health in Scotland during COVID-19.

Zebina Ratansi, director of nursing, Whipps Cross University Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust. For services to nursing leadership.

Rebecca Rose, co-founder, Life Lines and professor of critical care nursing, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care. For services to the the NHS during COVID-19.

Veronica Snow, national programme lead, End of Life Care Wales. For services to palliative care in Wales.

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)

June Lesley Lovell, psychiatric nurse manager. For services to mental health in North Wales.

Nancy Thomas, bank nurse, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. For services to the NHS in Wales.

Martyn James Davies, care home manager, Urmston Manor. For services to care home residents in Manchester.

Judith Gumbs
Judith Gumbs

Lynn Green, for services to emergency nursing in Northern Ireland.

Diplomatic service – Order of the British Empire (BEM)

Judith Gumbs, nurse and founder, Just Tender Care Senior Citizens Home, Anguilla. For services to senior citizens in Anguilla.

Royal Red Cross

Wing Commander Graham Percival



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