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

Meet the Team

Ed Freshwater

Ed Freshwater


Community Mental Health Nursing
Birmingham's Perinatal Mental Health Service

Ed started working in mental health as an HCA in 2009, first in forensic community and then medium-secure settings. Following qualification he changed tack, currently facilitating therapeutic groups for Birmingham's Perinatal Mental Health Service. During his  time at university he was class rep for three years, and represented the student voice on the committee of RCN South Birmingham branch, attended Congress and presented at conferences on subjects including diet and spirituality in mental health. He has written a regular column for the British Journal of Nursing, and is an avid fan of social media to improve nursing. He is passionate about protecting and empowering those most marginalised by mental illness, and championing the role of the mental health nurse as part of holistic, multi-disciplinary care.

Claire Carson

Clair Carson

Assistant Director of Operations Mental Health
Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust

Clair is an experienced, current PhD student, master’s degree educated, senior nurse and manager with effective leadership skills and a proven track record of achievement and change in a wide variety of settings and services.  Qualifying as a Registered General Nurse in 1987 she went on to complete her RMN in 1992. Her current Doctorate studies are focussed on the management of the high risk service user in a crisis.  Clair is a strong advocate  for service user centered services and a champion of the service user, carer and staff voice in equal measures. Clair has had a wide ranging career to date and is widely respected for the work undertaken in the development of mental health services, especially within the acute service line, acute adult wards, A and E liaison as well as HTT teams and Crisis Services such as RAID.

Clair is constantly accessing ways in which to personal develop including a recent trip to New Zealand on a research scholarship with the Florence Nightingale Foundation researching the management of the service user in a crisis.

Clair is keen on conveying a national strategic vision to a reality within local service lines. Most recently this has included the implementation of the Triangle of care principles and safer staffing levels within her own Trust footprint.

Clair hopes her time on the Mental Health Forum will aid her own development as well as afford opportunities to be able to aid the development of others, both from a staffing perspective but for organisations, service users and carers as well.

Becky Hoskins

Becky Hoskins

Deputy Ward Manager and Physical Health Lead,
Secure & Complex Care, 
Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust

Becky has worked in healthcare in a variety of learning disability, mental health, substance misuse, and forensic settings for over 14 years and currently works in Birmingham in a medium secure male forensic unit.  She has also taught undergraduate nursing students as a visiting lecturer on the subjects of physical health in mental health and clinical risk assessment and management.

She has been involved with the RCN in a number of roles over the past 6 years.  This has included working with her Local Branch (South Birmingham) organising & running Local Learning Events, the role of Branch Treasurer as well as being involved in Local and National Campaigns, and speaking at Congress on a number of items. She is also Vice Chair of the West Midlands Regional Board and an active Learning Representative.

Especially focused on providing a holistic person centered approach to care addressing both mental and physical health needs, Becky actively promotes the health & well being of patient care to colleagues and patients as well as looking after mental health needs.

Becky is very passionate about working to remove the stigma attached to Mental Illness and to campaign for better nurse education around mental health, and the impact of mental illness on the wider health & social care context, as part of national nurse education.

Ellie Gordon

Ellie Gordon

Manager, Continuing Healthcare Team
Nursing Directorate in NHS England 

Ellie started her nursing career when Project 2000 was the latest development in Nurse training, designed to create nurses who questioned more and had a greater evidence base to their practice. Her experience still shapes her practice today, however it wasn’t the increased evidence base that has shaped her, as much as the mentors she learned so much from and the patients who very kindly allowed her to learn from their experiences.

Since that time she has worked in a variety of areas of clinical practice ranging from Medium secure psychiatric care, to police cells and community drug and alcohol services. Through to working as a commissioner in a PCT and currently working in the Nursing Directorate in NHS England with the Learning Disability programme. 

Throughout all these roles she has always kept the belief that for her to be credible as a nurse, leader, manager, commissioner and clinical lead, she has to keep talking and working with patients. Although she continues to learn and develop through evidence base, policy, contact with colleagues and stakeholders, the people she constantly learns from are the patients and their families. They constantly remind her why there is always more that they can do to help, and higher standards is what's needed to strive to achieve, to reduce and remove inequality in health care and ensure parity of esteem.

So by continuing to work in clinical practice, she has been able to add another dimension to her work in NHS England, one which can use the experience of working on the frontline and patient stories to continue to enhance policy development and in turn patient care. 

Gillian Burgoyne

Gillian Burgoyne

 Senior Mental Health In Reach Nurse HMP Warren Hill, Suffolk

 Gillian Burgoyne joined the Royal College of Nursing in November 1981, and has been a member ever since. Further training included the CPN Diploma course, an Advanced Diploma in Counselling, BSc Specialist Nursing Practice, and MSc in Advanced Nursing. 

Gillian's clinical interest in nursing people experiencing life threatening Eating Disorders, developed from a chance encounter on her first placement in training: this, at a time where the behavioural model for treatment for Eating Disorders was the norm, and patient involvement in their own care and recovery, was noticeably absent, as was the feminist narrative on these complex illnesses. She was appointed Clinical Lead for developing and implementing the Suffolk Community Eating Disorder Treatment service, addressing the needs of young people moving to adult services, their families, schools and peers and the wider community.

She has worked in multi- agency Mental Health Teams in Community Drug and Alcohol services, and Senior Nurse posts on In Patient treatment units and Day Hospital Treatment programmes in the private sector. Her interest in the legal, political and ethical aspects of mental health nursing continues to underpin her practice.
Currently, Gillian works in the unpredictable, often challenging, yet rewarding Prison environment. Her daily experience sharply focuses on professional standards, and highlights the pressing need for the development of an updated mental health nursing narrative in our society. 

Laura Daukintis

Bio to come

Stuart McKenzie

Stuart has been an activist in the RCN since joining as a Student Nurse in 1997. He has been An RMN since 2001 upon completion of his BSC (Hon) at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.  He has worked across multiple settings, including Maximum Secure and Low Secure Forensic services, Crisis Intervention Services and Community Mental Health.  As a Clinical Nurse Manager he has developed Forensic Services and Rehabilitation Services in NHS Ayrshire and Arran and is at present Senior Manger for Integrated Community Mental health Services in North Ayrshire. 
Stuart has held multiple elected positions within the RCN and was most recently a member of Council and Chair of RCN Congress from 2014 until 2018 having been Vice Chair and a member of the Agenda Committee in the preceding seven years.  He has been a Steward, Branch Chair and Member of RCN Scotland Board where he represented Forums. 


RCN Professional Lead for Mental Health, Catherine Gamble

Page last updated - 29/11/2019