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Scotland Speakers



We are pleased to announce the following speaker faculty for Nursing in Practice Scotland 2018.

Keynote: Tommy Whitelaw, Campaigner and UK Lead, Dementia Carer Voices

For five years Tommy Whitelaw was a full-time carer for his late mother Joan who had Vascular Dementia, and in 2011 Tommy undertook a walk around Scotland’s towns and cities to collect hundreds of life story letters detailing the experiences of individuals caring for a loved one living with dementia.

Since then, he has engaged with thousands of carers through his ‘Tommy on Tour’ blog and as UK Project Engagement Lead with the Health and Social Care Alliance’s Dementia Carer Voices Project, conducting frequent talks to health and social care professionals and carer organisations across Scotland, to raise awareness of the impact of dementia on families and the importance of empowering carers in carrying out their difficult but vital role.

Tommy’s passion for his work and the Dementia Carer Voices Project has not gone unnoticed. He was the winner of the ‘Age Scotland Jess Barrow Award’ in 2013; Finalist Campaigner of the year 2013 for ‘The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards’, won the NHSGGC Chairman’s Ambassador Award 2013 and in 2015, Tommy was awarded the ‘British Citizen’s Medal for Services to Healthcare’ in recognition of his work to raise awareness of dementia and promote a fuller understanding of the carer journey. 

Most recently, Tommy has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Kate Granger awards 2016 and received an Honorary Master of the Open University for Health, Social Care, Education and Policy making influence.

Chair: Rhona Aikman, Practice Nurse, Gourock Medical Practice and Nursing in Practice Advisory Board

Rhona Aikman is a practice nurse in Gourock on the west coast of Scotland. Her main areas of interest are diabetes and travel health, and she loves the variety of work in general practice. Rhona managed to combine her nursing skills with travel while volunteering in Namibia and Peru. When she retires she would like to work for a year or so with VSO. In her free time, she is involved with the Simon Community, a charity working with homeless people in Glasgow.

Chair: Moira Dowden, Scottish Practice Nurses Association

Moira is a Practice Nurse based in a small rural practice in Dumfries and Galloway and represents the area on the Scottish Practice Nurses Association committee.

Chair: Dave Munday, Lead Professional Officer, Unite the Union, Health Visitor and Nurse

Dave is a registered nurse and health visitor, working for Unite the union in the Health Sector. He leads on mental health including leading support to the Mental Health Nurses Association. He also sits on the editorial board for the Mental Health Nursing journal.

Before taking up this national role with Unite, he worked in the North West both in the NHS and local authority. Roles included posts in commissioning, professional leadership and on the ‘front line’.

You can follow Dave on Twitter @davidamunday and see some of his thoughts on his blog

Margaret Armitage (RGN), Senior Medical Affairs Specialist, ConvaTec

Margaret gained her RGN at the School of Nursing Victoria Infirmary and RSCN at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, both in Glasgow. Following 2 years staffing experience, she entered the heady world of community nursing; first working in the treatment room then following DN training, at Gorbals and then Govanhill Health Centre as a District Nurse. 17 years later she moved to the west of the city and took up the post of Vascular Liaison Nurse Specialist, with responsibility for leg ulcer management city wide. In 2013 she took early retirement from the NHS and now works with ConvaTec as part of the Medical Affairs Team covering Scotland. Generic wound care education is a focus of this post.

George Benson, Nurse Team Leader – Acute Addiction Liaison, Greater Glasgow Acute Hospitals

George Benson qualified as a registered general nurse in 1994 and worked in gastroenterology, haemodialysis and acute medicine before moving to addictions.

In 2008, George was given the opportunity to manage and develop the acute addiction liaison Service in Glasgow. As the lead for the acute addiction liaison service he was part of a multidisciplinary team that developed and implemented two influential guidelines to support acute hospital staff and patients in the treatment of problematic alcohol and drug use.  He has recently developed a risk stratification tool as part of a professional doctorate programme for use in the ED for the purpose of discharging people into community alcohol teams for a home assisted detoxification from alcohol.

Gordon Brown, Consultant Nurse, ADHD Direct Ltd

Having survived a two year posting to a mission hospital in rural Zimbabwe, Anne Connolly returned to General Practice in inner-city Bradford in 1990, where she has helped develop a leading-edge teaching practice. A pioneer of the GPwSI cadre, she led the development of a Primary Care gynaecology clinic and a diagnostic and treatment hysteroscopy service which won a NICE Shared Learning Award in 2007.

Elaine Clark, Nurse Consultant, Mother & Baby Unit, West of Scotland

Elaine is currently a Nurse Consultant for Perinatal Mental Health at the West of Scotland Mother & Baby Unit, Glasgow, carrying out clinical work, mainly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She is a founding member, as well as previous chair, of Maternal Mental Health Scotland, and acts as clinical advisor to MMHS Change Agents.

She also works as a Royal College of Psychiatry reviewer for Perinatal Mental Health Quality Network and along with Dr Margaret Oats, developed the training programme for NHS England – New to Perinatal Mental Health, as well as being an honorary lecturer at the University of Glasgow and a Lead Nurse for the National Managed Clinical Network for Scotland.

Finally, Elaine is also a contributor to the Maternity research programme at Stirling University. She is a member of a research steering group on ‘Getting it Right for Mothers & Babies, closing the gaps in community perinatal mental health’ with the NSPCC.

Gail Dolan, Rheumatology Nurse Specialist, New Victoria ACH

Gail Dolan trained at UWS and graduated in 2002. She worked within general medical until Stobhill and GRI merged in 2011, and then went on to work for a year in medical HDU, moving onto Rheumatology/ general medical ward in GRI. In 2014, she was the first nurse to commence a Rheumatology CNS succession planning secondment between Stobhill and Gartnaval. She started at New Victoria in 2015, and her extended practice includes intra-articular joint injections and non-medical prescribing which has allowed a more holistic approach to patient care.  

Monica Fletcher OBE, Global Medical Expert, Research Fellow, Edinburgh University

Monica joined GSK as a the first nurse member of the Global Medical Expert team late 2017. After a long career as a respiratory primary care nurse, a clinical educator, researcher and patient advocate. She joined GSK after 17 years as CEO of Education for Health, (a global not for profit medical education organisation, specialising in respiratory disease) Monica has held many prestigious positions including most recently Chair of the European Lung Foundation (ELF) Chair and founder  of the UK Inhaler Group, Chair of the European Respiratory Nurses Association, member of the WHO’s Global Alliance Against Respiratory Disease.  Her clinical interests are asthma and COPD, in particular patient education and self- management, Implementation of guidelines and translation of research into clinical practice.  Monica is honoured with an OBE for services to nursing. She has also been awarded Fellowships by the Queen’s Nursing Institute and the European Respiratory Society.

She is currently a Research Fellow at Edinburgh University and Knowledge Exchange Lead for the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research.

Grant King, Lecturer in Nursing (Mental Health), University of Dundee

Mr. Grant King is a lecturer in nursing (mental health).  His clinical career focused on the mental health of children, young people and their families.   Grant’s career took him from NHS Lothian, to NHS Fife and finally to NHS Tayside.  He has also worked for the Scottish Government developing maternal and child health policy as well as working in the third sector for Action for Children.  Grant also has a particular clinical and academic interest in spiritual care delivery and was the lead for spiritual care in the mental health services in NHS Tayside as well as managing a team of healthcare chaplains.  He has post graduate qualifications in nursing, teaching and spiritual care.

Dr Sandra McConnell, Lead Consultant Palliative Medicine, Argowan Hospice

Dr Sandra McConnell graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1997 and became interested in Palliative Care during her medical rotation in Ayrshire, as she wanted to make patients feel better when everyone else thought ‘nothing can be done’. Consequently, after training in Lothian and Fife, she became a consultant in Palliative Medicine in 2009. Since then she has worked in Inverclyde, seeing palliative patients in the hospice, the hospital, in clinics and at home.

Liz McIvor, Rheumatology Nurse Specialist, Stobhill ACH

Liz McIvor trained at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children Yorkhill, Glasgow.  She was a medical ward sister for several years prior to her appointment in 1997 to the role of first Rheumatology Nurse Specialist at Stobhill Hospital.  She has very much enjoyed this role and being involved in various health board groups promoting the role of the nurse specialist.  She is also involved with various patient groups and is a nurse advisor and is a tutor on the NRAS self management programme.  Her extended practice includes intra-articular joint injections and non-medical prescribing which has allowed a more holistic approach to patient care.   She was awarded an MSc in Rheumatology Nursing from Keele University in 2005.

Karen McMahon, Lecturer in Mental Health, University of the West of Scotland, Family Based Treatment Therapist

Karen McMahon has worked in the eating disorder field for 25 years. She trained as a mental health nurse and has undertaken postgraduate study at the Maudsley, Great Ormond Street, St Georges and the Centre for Research on Eating Disorders at Oxford. She is a Family Based Treatment therapist and supervisor having undertaken training with the Training Institute for child and adolescent Eating Disorders at Stanford University.

Karen is currently studying for a Clinical Doctorate at the University of Stirling and her research study is on the contribution that fathers make to family based treatment in child and adolescent eating disorders.

Sharon McMenemy, Psychological Therapist, St Johns Hospital

Sharon McMenemy was a Senior Charge Nurse at the MH Mother & Baby Unit, East of Scotland from 2006 to 2016. She then became Team Lead at Lothian Perinatal Community Mental Health team in 2016, and Treasurer for Maternal Mental Health Scotland in the same year, and is currently still in both posts. Sharon also works as a peer reviewer as a member of RCP CCQI network, and a Psychological Therapist in CBT at St Johns Hospital.

Barbara Page MBE, Independent Nurse Advisor in Dermatology, Honorary Chair, Scottish Dermatological Nursing Society

Barbara has worked in dermatology nursing for 30 years and 16 years of these were as a Specialist Nurse working in a liaison post which was pivotal in bridging the gap between primary and secondary care.  In 2014, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in recognition of work in this field. Recently retired from clinical work within NHS Fife, she continues in the field as a Dermatology Nurse Advisor, an Honorary Clinical Teacher, Dundee University School of Nursing & Health Sciences and Lecturer for NHS Education for Scotland.

Special areas of interest are Eczema, Psoriasis and the Psychological impact of Skin Disease. Barbara is Chair of the Psychodermatology sub group of the British Dermatological Nursing Group (BDNG) and represents BDNG as a committee member of Psychodermatology UK, a sub group of the British Association of Dermatology.

Currently an Honorary Member and Trustee of Primary Care Dermatology Society;  Founder & Honorary Chair of Scottish Dermatological Nursing Society;  Past Secretary & Board Member of International Skincare Nursing Group; past President of European Skin-care Nursing Network

She has also published widely and served on a wide range of Nursing Advisory Boards.

Professor  Hilary Pinnock, Professor of Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, Edinburgh University, Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, General Practitioner, Whitstable Medical Practice

Professor Hilary Pinnock is Professor of Primary Care Respiratory Medicine with the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, Allergy and Respiratory Research Group, University of Edinburgh, and a general practitioner in Whitstable, Kent.

Her research interests include the delivery of care within the ‘real-life’ primary care setting including implementing self-management for asthma, telehealthcare for respiratory disease, supporting people with COPD and depression to attend pulmonary rehabilitation, and supportive care for people with severe COPD.

She leads the education subgroup of the International Primary Care Respiratory Group, and chairs the primary care group of the European Respiratory Society.  She sits on the Guideline Development Group of the BTS/SIGN asthma guideline and is an associate editor of npj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine.

Dr Kevin Pollock, Lead Healthcare Scientist (Immunisation), Health Protection Scotland

Dr Pollock is the lead healthcare scientist for Immunisation within Health Protection Scotland. He is an Honorary Lecturer in Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow and a Trustee of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

Dr Blanca Poveda, Clinical Psychologist, Astley Ainslie Hospital

Dr Blanca Poveda trained as a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Edinburgh (2010-2013), specialising in the area of Older Adults. She has since worked as a Clinical Psychologist in the area of Neuropsychology with adults with mild to severe physical and neurological conditions in NHS Lothian, both on an inpatient and community basis. In addition to neuropsychological assessments of cognition, she specialises in delivering assessment and interventions for mood and anxiety disorders with this population, as well as coming to terms with the physical and neurological changes they are experiencing. She has experience of delivering CBT interventions in a one to one and group setting and is familiar with several different therapies in her work with individuals with neurological conditions, including Behavioural Activation, Motivational Interviewing, Compassion Focussed Training, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy. She has worked as a teaching fellow for Edinburgh University and has experience in working with the Adult ADHD team and delivering a coping skills group with this population.  She is currently HCPC registered and a member of the BPS and BPS Division of Neuropsychology.

Dr Iain Small, GPSI in Peterhead and Executive Committee Member, PCRS-UK

Dr Iain Small is a General Practitioner in Peterhead Aberdeenshire. He has a career long interest in Respiratory Medicine, which has seen him publish and present across a wide range of topics, from Children’s Asthma to palliative care in COPD.

He is a former Chair of the Primary Care Respiratory Society, and edits the society’s journal-Primary Care Respiratory Update. He is the clinical lead for NHS Grampian’s Respiratory Network and an Honourary Lecturer in the Department of Primary Care Aberdeen University.

Dr Small has, in the past, served as a Trustee of Asthma UK, an Associate Editor of Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, has Chaired the National Advisory Group (Respiratory) to the Scottish Government, as is the Curriculum Guardian (Respiratory) for the RCGP.


Anne Thomson, Lead Clinical Pharmacist, Prescribing, Glasgow City HSCP and Member, Scottish Antibiotic Prescribing Group

Anne has worked across all sectors of pharmacy during her career, settling in primary care, where she has been for the last 10 years.  In her current role, she leads the prescribing support team in the North East of Glasgow.  This involves working with patients, prescribers, and the wider health and social care team to optimise the safe, effective, and efficient use of medicines.  She is involved in antimicrobial stewardship both at local and national level, and is a member of the Scottish Antimicrobial Prescribing Group.   She has been involved in planning and delivering workstreams that support reductions in unnecessary antibiotic prescribing for a number of years, and in 2017 was the project manager for the update of the Scottish Reduction in Antibiotic Prescribing (ScRAP) educational toolkit. 

Debbie Voigt, Diabetes Specialist Nurse, NHS Tayside, Scotland

Debbie Voigt is a Diabetes Specialist Nurse in NHS Tayside, Dundee in Scotland. She had a background in Nursing and Midwifery, and Health Visiting before starting work as a DSN in 1999.
Debbie was National Clinical Advisor (DSN) for the development of Diabetes Think Check Act improvement programme led by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.  She currently represents the Scottish Diabetes Group and Scottish Government as National Clinical Diabetes Think Check Act Co-ordinator (DSN) supporting diabetes improvement across Scottish hospitals.
Debbie is an Honorary Teaching Fellow in the Centre for Medical Education in the University of Dundee and is involved in MSc programme with Kuwait Scotland ehealth innovation network.

Wendy Young, Outreach Nurse, Astley Ainslie Hospital

Dr Wendy Young qualified as a nurse in 1990; she then obtained a NBA diploma in professional studies in neurology nursing. Since qualifying she has worked in the neurosurgical theatres, interventional neurology and recovery room. She has been a staff Nurse ‎ in the neurosurgery wards and a latterly a neurosurgical Nurse practitioner.

‎Her current role is to review, assess and support patients who have had a brain injury from either trauma, infection or an anoxic injury in Lothian. She reviews the patients in the acute phase and then either following discharge from the acute hospital or through rehabilitation to discharge. She also maintains regular contact with patients and relatives following discharge, along with coordinating services both in the community and in the acute services if required to ensure patient care and safety is being delivered. Wendy is also a committee member of the Scottish Brain Injury forum (SHIF).

She currently runs the Brain detectives group which enables children who have a family member with an acquired brain injury to explore and understand the challenges faced by their relatives who have suffered an acquired brain injury through brain empathy games and play.