The North West Regional Board

The Regional Board is the democratically-elected governing body of the RCN in the North West. The Board works with the Regional Director to set the RCN's regional strategic objectives and priorities, helps to advance and influence policy, and represents the interests of and influences on behalf of North West members. It also advances the RCN's aims and objectives, namely to:

  • promote the art and science of nursing and the better education and training of nurses and their efficiency in the profession of nursing
  • promote the advancement of nursing as a profession in all or any of its branches
  • promote the professional standing and interests of members of the nursing profession
  • assist nurses who, by reason of adversity, ill health or otherwise are in need of assistance of some nature.

The Board was established in April 2002 and meets four times a year.


The Regional Board comprises of 14 members who represent:

  • National seats - Council; and
  • Divisional seats - Manchester, Lancashire, Isle of Man, and Cheshire & Merseyside  

The three divisions are each allocated four seats.

Board and branch links

To help keep members and Activists up to date on the strategic work of both the Board and the region, each branch has a designated Board link member.  The link member plays an important role in helping to disseminate information to their designated branch and feeding back news and views from branch members to the Board.  

The Board link members are:-

  • Cheshire East branch - Jean Rogers
  • Cheshire West branch - Sheila Dunbar
  • Greater Liverpool and Knowsley branch - Suzanne Butler
  • Greater Manchester branch - Janet Marsden
  • Isle of Man branch - Verna Phillips
  • Lancashire East branch - Ali Richards
  • Lancashire West branch - Maggy Heaton
  • Manchester Central branch - Claire Chatterton

Next regional Board meeting

  •  24 August, 2015 at the RCN regional office, Chesham House, St George's Square, Bolton, BL1 2HB
  • 10 November, 2015 at the RCN regional office, Chesham House, St George's Square, Bolton, BL1 2HB

National seats

Council member: Mike Travis

Mike Travis

Mike has worked at Alder Hey Children's Hospital for over 30 years.  Concurrently, he has been an RCN member for the same length of time and, as an active member of the RCN, has held a number of key positions which include:

  • Steward (1980 to date)
  • Safety Representative (1980 to date)
  • Learning Representative (1999 to date)
  • A member of the Greater Liverpool and Knowsley Branch Executive (1980 to date)
  • North West Regional Board member (2003 to 2007 and 2011 to date)
  • North West region Council Member (1999 to 2007 and 2011 to date)
  • Chair of Membership, Representation and Diversity Committee (2003 to 2007)
  • RCN Membership and Representation Committee (2011 to date)
  • RCN Governance Committee (2011 to date)
  • NHS Staff Council (2002 to 2007)
  • Nursing Standard Editorial Board (1999 to 2008)
  • Chair of RCN UK Safety Representative Committee (1995 to 1999)
  • Represented the RCN at the International Congress of Nursing in 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2007.

Mike has also published, mostly on health sector employment relations and occupational health and safety, as well as being a commentator on the politics and economics of nursing care.

In his spare time Mike enjoys photography and is a dock officer on deep sea sailing ships.

Mike can be contacted by email at mike.travis@alderhey.nhs.uk

Health Practitioner Committee - Tom Palin  

Biographical details will appear here shortly 

Divisional seats - Manchester

Board Vice-Chair: Jean Rogers

Jean Rogers

Jean qualified as a Registered Nurse (RN) in 1988, from Salford NHS Trust. She has worked in a number of areas, including elective orthopaedics, acute trauma and ENT, rheumatology and endocrinology, acute medicine and acute rehabilitation. She undertook the orthopaedic course at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in 1991 where she was in the last group to undertake the twelve-month course, and in her spare time completed a Certificate of Higher Education. Following this Jean held the posts of Senior Staff Nurse, Junior Sister and Lecturer/Practitioner, and completed a BSc (Hons) in Nursing Practice.

Jean is Chair of the North West Orthopaedic and Trauma Forum and is a member of the Focus on Research into Orthopaedics Group (FROG), and the Trauma and Orthopaedic Nurse Educators (TONE). Her main interests lie in nurse education and the politics of nursing, and she takes an active role in both areas as a member of the Practice Educators special interest group and the RCN Education Forum.

Jean's current post is Practice Educator Facilitator for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, where she believes that she has the best of both worlds, educating the nurses of the future in the practice setting. She has undertaken the Practice Educators Masters module and is at the present time undertaking an MSc in Professional Development.

Janet Marsden

Janet has been a nurse for more than 15 years, in the field of ophthalmics. Janet Marsden, North West regional board member

Although she is now an academic, running a post-graduate programme within Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), she still works as a clinician on a regular basis. She was Chair of the Ophthalmic Nursing Forum for eight years, completing her term of office last year. She also served on the National Forum Co-ordinating Committee.

Janet currently chairs a multi-professional group which looks at issues around continuing professional development (CPD). This group has recently published a position statement - the widest ranging piece of work yet undertaken by the RCN with other AHPs. She writes in the areas of ophthalmic care, advanced practice in nursing, and emergency care.

She is also a member of the Department of Health's eye services steering group. Janet is also Vice-Chair of a local research ethics committee. Janet is passionate about nursing and the impact of what we do on the people we work with and care for. 

Claire Chatterton

Chatterton-Claire_optClaire Chatterton is a Staff Tutor in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University (OU), and is based in the OU's North West Regional Centre in Manchester. She also works as a programme tutor on the OU's Pre-registration in Nursing programme, supporting a group of students sponsored by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Claire trained as a general nurse at the London Hospital and as a mental health nurse at Littlemore and the Warneford Hospitals in Oxford. After a career in clinical practice, she became a lecturer practitioner at Oxford Brookes University, and then went into full-time nurse education as a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Brighton. She moved to the North West in 2004 to undertake a full time PhD at the University of Salford, where she also taught as a graduate Teaching Assistant.

David DawesDave Dawes

Dave has been a founding member of four social enterprises over the last eight years. He is the first nurse to be elected to the Board of Social Enterprise UK and the first social entrepreneur to be elected to RCN Council. He was one of the youngest Chief Executives in the NHS and has held a number of management posts in health authorities and NHS Trusts, and has also been published extensively in nursing and management journals.

He is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on social entrepreneurship, e-learning and leadership, and also sits on the boards of Social Enterprise UK, Unlimited Potential, Togetherworks and PrepOnline and the Leadership Succession Committee of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing.

He has an MA in Managing Healthcare, a degree in Mathematics and Post-graduate diplomas in Health Economics and Healthcare Management.

Karen Lister

Karen has been nursing for 28 years and trained at Kings College Hospital in the mid-80s. Having qualified, she returned to her roots to work at Manchester Royal Infirmary.Karen Lister

After getting married and having a family, she worked at a nursing home for the elderly every Saturday night, until her youngest started school. She then got a job working at a local hospital on the orthopaedic trauma ward. While there, she passed the Orthopaedic Trauma and Rheumatology course.

In 2000, Karen moved to the outpatient department, where she worked in the plaster room, eventually going on to get national qualifications as a plaster technician.

She joined the RCN on her first day as a student nurse in London. She remained interested and attended local branch meetings.

When Karen returned to Manchester, she found herself becoming interested in manual handling and safety for both patients and colleagues. When she moved to outpatients, a friend took her to the local branch meeting where she was persuaded to become Branch Secretary.

Following that, she became a Safety Rep, and was recently elected to the Regional Board, where she now hopes to repay members' faith in her by representing them to the best of her ability.

Julie Gregory

Biographical details will appear here shortly 

Divisional seats - Lancashire and the Isle of Man

Ali HandscombAli Richards

Ali is a Project Leader for major service change at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. She continues to work as an independent consultant on small consultancy projects and is an active mentor and coach. She is a former Director and founder of the European Nursing Leadership Foundation.

At the NHS Leadership Centre, Ali was the National Programme Manager for Leading Empowered Organisations (LEO) and the RCN Clinical Leadership programme. She was responsible for facilitating networks of trainers and programme administrators across the country, and ensuring that over 34,000 nurses attended the programme.

During the 1990s as the Regional HIV/AIDS Counsellor for the North West, Ali worked to bring services for over 80 patients with haemophilia and HIV/AIDS together across primary and secondary care. She ensured that the interface between community services and the hospital was effective and efficient, and promoted inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary working at all levels.

Maggy HeatonMaggie Heaton

Maggy qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1996. Her postgraduate nursing career has included both degree and diploma study.

With a view to translating theory into clinical practice, she has nursed in both the hospital and the community settings, and is currently employed as a District Nurse. Her particular interest is Gold Standard Frameworks as they are applied to the dying patient.

Maggy has been an RCN Steward since 2005. This experience gave her the opportunity to explore issues which affect colleagues in their working environments. She has represented members in the settlement of disputes, and has also participated in various forums where policies and procedures impacting on members are discussed.

She was recently nominated and duly elected to be a full-time RCN Rep, supported by a two-year secondment sanctioned by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust .

Maggy enjoys the experience of contributing, and bringing the view of a clinician, to the regional Board.

Verna Phillips

Verna trained, qualified and worked as an SRN and SCM at the Norfolk and Norwich hospitals. She worked with children with learning difficulties in Guernsey for seven years, and part-time at the Guernsey Cheshire Home. She has worked both in the NHS and private sector.Verna Phillips

She is a trauma and orthopaedic nurse with special interests in diabetes, pain control and wound care.

Verna became an Activist, and successfully helped reopen a cardiology ward at Gloucester Royal by lobbying MPs and County Council members and attending Scrutiny Committee meetings.

She strongly believes that the patient should always be at the centre of care and well-supported, knowledgeable caring nurses have a direct effect on good patient outcomes.

She was accredited as a Learning Rep in 2009, and sat on the South West Board for around 18 months before moving to the Isle of Man.

She is currently Branch Chair and a member of the North West Regional Board.

Ben Mott

Biographical details will appear here shortly 

Divisional seats - Cheshire and Merseyside

Suzanne Butlerbutler_suzanne

Suzanne's involvement with the RCN began during her first year of training, in 1999 at Edge Hill University, with training at Aintree Hospital. It was at this point that she first began campaigning for nursing issues. It was during this time that she attended what was to be the first of many conferences and subsequently became involved with the Association of Nursing Students (ANS). Where national campaigns have been launched which involve the lobbying of MPs she has always recognised the value of raising the issues personally. Since 2002, she has been an accredited RCN Steward and believes the skills she has built on and developed during this period are invaluable.

Suzanne is currently an Urgent Care Practitioner working in the area of Sefton. She considers it a privilege to hold a dual role in her nursing job, working as a sister in the community while also educating other staff and patients.

For the past six years, Suzanne has held the position of Vice-Chair of the local branch. She is a grassroots activist whose clinical and leadership skills are current. Suzanne has exceptional working knowledge of issues facing nurses and nursing at all levels, while also maintaining a passion to make a difference. She is friendly and approachable, with a keen interest in obtaining the best outcomes for members, which she has shown during many Rep cases.

Sheila DunbarSheila Dunbar

Sheila qualified as a nurse in 1979 having completed one of the first nursing degrees. She studied at St George’s in the mid 1970s, qualifying with a BSc (Honours) in Human Biology at the University of Surrey in 1978, and as a State Registered Nurse from St George’s in 1979.

She has worked with older people since 1981 when she returned to General Nursing on completion of Midwifery training. In 1982, Sheila commissioned a new continuing care ward for Older People in Edinburgh with the aim of changing care delivery in this setting, and challenged staff to be more person-centred in their approach.

This was followed by a move to Northwick Park and a role which was very like today's Matron role, completed with a year as an Acting Manager for the Directorate. In 1989, Sheila began to consider a move into education and worked as a Sister Preceptor at St Mary's School of Nursing and St Charles Hospital, London. St Mary's School of Nursing was a pilot site for 'Project 2000', which led to a GNC secondment, and teaching practice in Nottingham, where she qualified as a Nurse Tutor in 1991.

Sheila then began her move back north with a Nurse Tutor role in the West Midlands which involved teaching the first 'Project 2000' students and then a couple of years back in clinical practice as a Clinical Nurse Advisor in a unit which facilitated Rehabilitation for Older People in Leeds.

In 1996 Sheila moved to work at Liverpool John Moores University as a Senior Lecturer in Nursing Older People, a post she held until 2010. Sheila taught Research and Evidence-Based Practice and then Research Informed Practice. She was instrumental in introducing Problem-Based Learning as a learning and teaching method to the School of Health in 1997. During her time at John Moores, Sheila also held the role of Senior Lecturer Practitioner.

Sheila is currently working freelance as a nurse and also doing training for a nursing agency in the North, covering several branches from Liverpool to Sunderland.

She has been an RCN Activist since the early 1980s and has held roles including Steward and Learning Representative with various branches as she has moved about the country. Sheila is currently the Secretary of the RCN Cheshire West branch, and was elected to the Board at the end of 2012.