Royal College of Nursing Representing nurses and nursing, promoting excellence in practice, shaping health policies

Meet the Team

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Sonia Wijesundare

Diabetes Forum Chair

Samantha Kelly

Samantha Kelly

Diabetes Service Lead (Merton) for Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust

The service is commissioned by Merton & Wandsworth CCG and Sam is leading on its Tier 3 (intermediate) service implementation. The service is providing multi-disciplinary team (Consultant, Diabetes Specialist Nurses (DSN), Dietitians, Podiatrist & Pharmacist)clinics for patients with Type 1 and 2 diabetes. Her service also provides face to face & virtual clinics within GP surgeries to enable upskilling and partnership working in Tiers 1 & 2 (primary care) for GP’s, Practice Nurses and Community Nurses. It also delivers structured group education (DESMOND & DAFNE) in a variety of settings across Merton.

Until 2016, Sam was previously The Diabetes Champion for Torbay & South Devon. The purpose of the role was to develop and provide a comprehensive community diabetes support service to patients, carers, GP’s, practice nurses and community nurses while promoting integrated service development between primary and secondary care. 

With experience in ward management, Care of the Older Person and General Medicine, Sam became a diabetes specialist nurse in 1996.  She went on to manage and develop a team of DSN’s at Torbay Hospital. She has obtained a Masters Degree in Diabetes and is an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

Charlotte Gordon

Charlotte Gordon

Senior Lecturer - Adult Nursing  

MSc (Clin Res), PG Cert. (Ed), FHEA, Adv. Dip (Nurs), RN, BSc (Hons)

Following an initial grounding in biological sciences, Charlotte has been a registered nurse since 2003, working clinically across intensive care settings and then moving to focus on the management and delivery of clinical trials within the NHS.  Charlotte has experience of working collaboratively across the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries both nationally and internationally in the 
development of novel therapeutics for people living with Diabetes. Working with the North East and Cumbria Diabetes Research Network and at the UKCRF Clinical Research Facility, Newcastle afforded the opportunity to contribute to the UK Islet Cell transplant programme, longitudinal Diabetes risk studies and also the development of immunotherapies for people with Diabetes. 

Currently in post as a senior lecturer in Adult Nursing at Northumbria University leading and providing high quality education and support to pre and post registration nursing students across a broad range of subject areas. Charlotte has also developed and leads the accredited prevention and management of Diabetes continuing professional development module, for post registration nurses at 
Northumbria University and acts within the department as a Diabetes educator, linking with a variety of pre and post registration nursing programmes. 

Charlotte actively researches and publishes within the Diabetes field and was awarded a Master of Clinical Research by the University of Newcastle in 2011.  Her qualitative research project explored risk, knowledge and educational approaches in the non-diabetic offspring of people with type II diabetes. Charlotte is now working at doctoral level to investigate the biopsychosocial impact of wearable technologies for people living with type 1 diabetes. Charlotte maintains close links with clinical practice and is responsive to educational needs, believing passionately that all nurses should have 
access to flexible, high quality educational resources for Diabetes education to enhance professional knowledge, deliver the highest standards of care and ensure patient safety."

Sarah Orme

Sarah Orme

Diabetes Service Manager and Clinical Lead,  Midlands Partnership NHS Trust
Sarah currently leads the community service both operationally and clinically across Staffordshire  The service provides multi-disciplinary clinics (Consultant, Diabetes Specialist Nurses, Dietitians, IAPT),for patients with Type 1(including pump, CGMS and Libre) and 2 diabetes. Her service also provides face to face & virtual clinics within GP surgeries to enable upskilling and partnership working for GP’s, Practice Nurses and Community Nurses. It also delivers structured education programme DESMOND and BERTIE.  
Following an interest in diabetes as a Practice Nurse, Sarah became a diabetes nurse 17 years ago, working within the private sector as well as primary and secondary care. She has been in employment with MPFT since 2008 and in her current post since 2013. As well as managing the service and staff Sarah supports pump clinics, and has a special interest in Type 1 Diabetes and the increasing use of Technology and is passionate about delivering professional education. 
Sarah qualified as an RGN (Adult DipHE) in 1997, attained a BSc (Hons) in Nursing Studies  in 2005, Independent / Supplementary nurse prescribing qualification in 2009 and completed her MSc in Health Science with a diabetes focus in 2019. She is an Executive Board Member for the NHS Diabetes Programme and a member of the Midlands Diabetes Interest Group. 

Paula Johnston

Paula Johnston

Lead inpatient diabetes nurse at the University Hospital Southampton

Paula Johnston leads a team of 4 inpatient DSN's, working in a multidisciplinary team alongside Consultants, SPR's, Pharmacist, podiatrists and Dietitians.

She has been working as a DSN for 9 years and was the project manager for the self-administration of insulin project.  Paula is also the genetic diabetes nurse for the Wessex region and has been undertaking this role for the past 3 years.

Paula is an independent prescriber and is currently working towards her MSc in Diabetes through Leicester University.

Prior to her role in diabetes, Paula was a ward sister on an adult admissions unit as well as having a role as a clinical practice educator, during which she obtained her post graduate certificate in education (PGCE).

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Ledwina K Mutandwa

Community Diabetes Nurse, Buckinghamshire NHS Trust

Ledwina has worked in her current role since 2007. Before that she was a district nurse and had also worked in an older people’s ward. She undertook her nurse training in Harare Hosptial, Zimbabwe before moving to London in 1992. She is an independent nurse prescriber and a Queen's Nurse.

Ledwina initiated a project at her trust on safe fasting during Ramadan. The project was well-received and was awarded first place at the staff awards ceremony.

She sees the forum as central to the communication, support and development of all of its members to improve care provided to people living with diabetes. She is able to offer knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm in order to improve care and commitment.

Email Ledwina

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Fiona Pullen

Diabetes Specialist Nurse

London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

Fiona has worked as a DSN in primary care, the community and secondary care for over 15 years. She currently delivers care to inpatients and outpatients. She specialises in Type 1 diabetes including insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring and supporting young adults as they move into adult services. She is also a visiting lecturer at a local university teaching post-graduate nurses.

Fiona has a special interest in education because knowledge and skills are foundational to empower people with diabetes to manage their condition successfully and to empower healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. Not all HCPs can be diabetes specialists but all must deliver increasingly complex diabetes care. She believes that it is essential that non-specialist nurses, associates and healthcare assistants have easy access to effective education to enable them to practice safely and competently.

Fiona’s MSc was funded by RCN Foundation bursaries which motivated her to continue her involvement with the RCN. As a member of the diabetes forum steering committee Fiona wants to support nursing professionals.

Helen Donovan


Professional Lead: Helen Donovan


Helen Donovan RCN Professional Lead for Public health, supports the RCN public health and diabetes forums, she has a wide sphere of influence; supporting members, promoting professional networks and sharing good practice. 

The professional lead role is across the UK and involves providing evidence for policy makers, commissioners and providers, influencing policy development.

Helen’s work particularly involves supporting nurses working in a variety of specialist public health roles but also the wider nursing workforce to embrace their public health contribution. She also maintains a senior lecturer position at the University of Hertfordshire and lectures independently on vaccination and public health. She also has a role with North London STP and Barnet CCG in supporting nursing workforce.

Page last updated - 17/11/2020