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

Meet the Team

Jo James - Forum Chair

Consultant Nurse, Dementia and Delirium

Jo works at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. She has been involved in local and national initiatives to improve care of patients living with dementia in hospital.

Jo's particular areas of interest are hearing the voice of people with dementia, supporting marginalised groups who live with dementia, nutrition and hydration and creativity in acute settings. Jo has had many publications in journals and books and regularly presents at national and international conferences. She is currently co-authoring a book on creativity in acute hospitals.

Sarah Winfield-Davies

Team Lead, North Devon Care Homes Team

Sarah qualified as a nurse in 1992 and has spent most of her nursing career working in the community setting within North Devon. Currently, Sarah is the Team Lead in The Care Homes Team, an innovative team of nurses and therapists providing support, education and training to staff in care homes within North Devon. The Care Homes Team has gained both regional and national recognition with their proactive, partnership approach working with the independent care sector.

Sarah is committed to the delivery of high quality, person-centred care for older people and actively supports NICE as an Expert Advisor in order to review and influence related clinical practice guidance.

Sarah's commitment to high standards of person-centred care have gained her recognition as a Queens Nurse, more recently she was awarded the Queens Nursing Long Service Award, given to nurses who have committed to 21 years of nursing in the Community setting.

Sarah is an active member of the RCN as an Older People's Forum and Devon Branch Committee member along with being an accredited Learning Rep.

Paul TM Smith


Paul has been a director for much of the last 25 years. During this time Paul also consulted in the NHS and runs his own consulting concern. He is a registered nurse (RMN, CPN) with 38 years of continuous, revalidated registered practice.

He has achieved professional and academic qualifications in psychiatric nursing, community psychiatric nursing, dementia studies, dementia care, nurse education, psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, clinical and indirect hypnosis, project management and is also a master practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming.

In the last few years Paul has been involved in national research and standards-setting. He has high industry recognition and trust and is known for his innovative work in dementia and older person's mental health. Paul was greatly honoured to be a visiting research fellow (2008 - 2010) at the Green Templeton College, University of Oxford.

Jemma James

Staff Nurse, Acute Older People's Medicine

Jemma is a newly qualified Staff Nurse who’s worked with older people for most of her life including in the community, care homes and hospitals. She’s passionate about older people’s care and is on a mission to promote the benefits of older people’s nursing. Jemma has particular interests in the representation of Older Peoples’ Nursing in Nursing education, improving access to health and social care and challenging prejudice and poor work cultures. She’s been involved in grassroots and mainstream Nursing campaigning since her student days and has campaigned on a number of Nursing and Older Peoples’ issues. Jemma lives and works in the North East and has a black and white (very noisy) cat called Poppy.

Sandra Blades

Befriending Coordinator: Age UK Teesside

Sandra is a registered nurse with experience of working with the elderly, end of life and palliative care in care homes and community settings. Sandra is currently working as the Befriending Coordinator for Age UK Teesside and is responsible for befriending services in the Redcar and Cleveland area.

Sandra's interest is in supporting end of life care in care homes through an evidence-based approach across the country. This was the foundation of her Master's study in 2016 when she received a Florence Nightingale Foundation Scholarship to visit and undertake a study of the aged care facilities in Australia.

Greta Alleyne

Clinical Nurse Specialist Older People Learning and Development lead

Greta is an SPA CQC Registered Nurse with significant clinical and academic experience in nursing policy and management. She combines working as a specialist nurse and learning and development lead providing support education and training to staff.

She is a member and trustee of the Institute of Ageing and Health (IAH) West Midlands, a dementia friendly champion, and member of the RCN learning representative committee, representing the West Midlands region. Greta is passionate about older people and people living with dementia.

Gary Mitchell

Lecturer (Education), School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen's University Belfast

Gary is a lecturer at Queen's University Belfast. He is a registered nurse with significant clinical and academic experience in nursing education, care homes, dementia care, frailty, delirium, palliative care, oncology, evidence-based care and qualitative research methods.

Gary has published a book, written over 40 peer-reviewed articles in healthcare journals and presented at a range of international conferences. Gary is also a non-executive director of Age NI, a dementia-friendly community champion for the Alzheimer's Society, and was named as Nurse of the Year by the British Journal of Nursing in 2016.

Maritess Murdoch

Quality Assurance Nurse, Care Homes

Maritess is currently working with North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group providing quality assurance, support and guidance to care homes for older people.  She has recently completed her Master in Science in Global Issues in Gerontology and Ageing at University of Stirling. Her master's dissertation examined the implementation of a frailty screening tool in care homes using the behaviour change wheel framework with emphasis on co-production with older people, families and care staff. 

Maritess is an advocate for improving the care, lives and representation of older people. She has a passion  for ensuring that strategies and interventions are designed and delivered with older people at the centre and that there is involvement from families and friends within their communities. 

Maritess is originally from the Philippines and came to the UK in 1999. She has an extensive experience working within the community, both as a District Nurse and a community matron. Maritess is a qualified specialist practitioner in district nursing and an independent nurse prescriber.   


Professional Lead: Dawne Garrett

Follow the forum on Twitter: @RCNOPF

Page last updated - 09/02/2021