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RCN Council

RCN Council members

The people who make up the RCN's governing body

Use this page to find out more information about the members of RCN Council.

17 Council members
9 English regions 
4 UK countries
Anne Marie Rafferty

Professor Anne Marie Rafferty CBE FRCN, President

Anne Marie is an academic whose research provides evidence to support safe staffing policy. She is Professor of Nursing Policy at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care at King’s College London. Anne Marie was named one of the 70 most influential nurses in 70 years of the NHS. She was made a Fellow of the RCN in 2002 and awarded the CBE for services to health care in 2008.

Yvonne Coghill

Yvonne Coghill CBE FRCN, Deputy President

Yvonne is Director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard at NHS England. Having trained as a mental health nurse, she has worked in management and strategic posts for over thirty years, leading major national projects. She has given lectures and keynotes in the UK and overseas. In 2018 she was awarded the CBE and was also made a Fellow of the RCN.

Sue Warner

Sue Warner, West Midlands, Chair of RCN Council

Sue has been a nurse and manager in the NHS for nearly 40 years. She worked in orthopaedics, gynaecology and paediatrics before becoming a district nurse, and currently works as a health visitor. Sue has been involved with her local branch since 2001, and was elected to the West Midlands Board in 2003. In 2015 she was elected for a second term of office on RCN Council and was elected Chair of RCN Council in January 2019.

Richard Jones

Richard Jones MBE, Wales, Vice Chair of RCN Council

Richard has been Vice Chair of RCN Council since January 2018. He has over 40 years’ experience in nursing and nursing education. Between 1990 and 2010 (when he retired) he worked for RCN Wales, latterly as the Deputy Director and Head of Employment Relations, with responsibility for introducing Agenda for Change into the NHS in Wales. He works sessionally as an external clinical reviewer inspecting NHS hospitals across Wales. He is currently Vice Chair of the RCN Wales Board and President of the Cwm Taf branch.

Dave Dawes

Dave Dawes, North West, Honorary Treasurer

Dave has over 25 years’ experience in hospital and community care in both the NHS and in the independent sector. He has been an accredited RCN steward since 1992 and first became a member of the RCN North West Board, which he now chairs, in 2002. From 2003 to 2005 Dave served on the RCN Agenda Committee, and he is the public relations officer for his local branch. He is a visiting lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University and is Director of Community Health Innovation in Manchester. Dave is the RCN Honorary Treasurer and Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee.

Janice Waters, Eastern

Janice joined the RCN upon qualifying in 1981 and is an RCN learning representative. She has extensive experience of NHS, independent and educational healthcare settings and now specialises in safeguarding children and adults at risk. Janice has an MSc in Advanced Practice: Safeguarding Children and is in the final stages of a Professional Doctorate of Advanced Healthcare Practice at Cardiff University. Janice was elected to Council in October 2018.

Dee Sissons

Dee Sissons, East Midlands

Dee has experience spanning four decades across the acute, commissioning and charity sector. She has recently taken up the position of Chief Executive Officer at Rainbows Children’s Hospice, having previously been Executive Director of Nursing for Marie Curie for four years. Whilst at Marie Curie, Dee worked with the RCN to support the development of internal policies around competences for medicines management, and national policy on end of life care. She is currently working towards a professional doctorate.

Cynthia Davis

Cynthia Davis, London

Cynthia has been a nurse and midwife for over 30 years. She has strategic experience as a Deputy Director of Nursing, winning an award for her Trust for building capacity and organisational improvement. She is now a senior lecturer in mentorship and practice education. She is a member of the Chief Nursing Officer BME advisory group and is a judge for the Nursing Times Awards. Cynthia has been a member of the RCN London Board since 2015.

Trevor Peel

Trevor Peel, Northern

Trevor qualified as a nurse in 1973, worked in health services until 1987, then joined RCN staff for 12 years. His career then covered posts in the Cabinet Office and as a prison governor. Trevor served previously on RCN Council and also in a number of charity trustee positions. From 2013 – 2015 he has represented the RCN on the National Pensioners Convention executive committee. In 2015 Trevor was elected to the RCN Northern Board.

Ann Marie O

Ann Marie O'Neill

Ann Marie has 40 years’ nursing experience and has been an RCN activist for over 20 years. Since 2016 she has been the Trade Union Secretary for the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. She was voted onto the RCN Northern Ireland Board in 2001 and served on RCN Council 2005 – 2013, during which time she also held office as Vice Chair of Council and Northern Ireland Board Chair.

Geoff Earl

Geoff Earl, Scotland

Geoff has worked as a community mental health nurse for the Lothian Health Board since 2004. He has been an RCN Steward since 2000, and has been involved with the RCN Scotland Board since he was a student nurse. Geoff was a member of the RCN Agenda Committee 2011 – 2015, and has served on the RCN International Committee since 2014. He was honoured with the RCN Award of Merit in 2013.

Dr Heather Mercer

Dr Heather Mercer, South East

Heather has experience in both the higher education sector, and with national charities for cancer care and older people. Heather has completed a PhD which examined the political, professional and policy drivers in health and social care. She is a local Councillor in West Sussex, and has been involved with the RCN for over 25 years through the Education Forum, and the South East Board.

Geoffrey Walker

Geoffrey Walker OBE, South West

Geoffrey is a matron with a background in critical care and cardiology. He has developed an award-winning nurse-led unit and has been recognised with an OBE and the British Journal of Nursing’s Nurse of the Year Award. An active RCN Steward he is also Chair of the RCN’s Dorset branch. He has been an elected member of the National Council of the Red Cross and is Honorary Vice-President of the Florence Nightingale Foundation.

Carol Popplestone

Carol Popplestone, Yorkshire & The Humber

Carol has been a registered nurse since 1978. She works as a clinical nurse specialist for Macmillan developing and providing a nurse-led service for patients with urological cancers. Carol is an accredited RCN steward and has been a member of the RCN Stewards Committee since 2013. In the past Carol has been a member of the RCN Yorkshire and the Humber Board.

Evan Keir

Evan Keir, Nursing Support Worker

Evan is a Health Care Support Worker in mental health in NHS Dumfries and Galloway. He was accredited as an RCN Safety Representative in 2016 and more recently as a Steward. Evan is a trustee of two charities within the Scout movement.

Amy Fancourt

Amy Fancourt, Student

Amy has a background as a Health Care Assistant in mental health and as a community carer and is currently studying for an MSc in Adult and Mental Health Nursing at City University, London. She is part of the Council of Deans’ 150 Future Leaders of Healthcare programme. She has volunteered with the Norwich Soup Movement, with refugees in Calais, and in Cambodia and Uganda.

BJ Waltho

BJ Waltho, Chair of Congress (Non-voting member of Council)

BJ is Associate Director of Operations at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She was first elected onto the RCN Agenda Committee in 2011, subsequently serving two terms as Vice Chair of Congress before being elected as Chair of Congress in 2018. She chaired the RCN Dorset branch 2007 – 2017. She was given the RCN Award of Merit in 2005 for work she had done as Chair of the Outpatients Nurses Forum.

Contact RCN Council

As an RCN member, you are encouraged to contact Council with any queries you have.

To contact RCN Council, email Your email will be directed to the appropriate Council member(s).