The RCN South East board meets three times each year. Board meetings are comprised of two parts: one confidential session and one open session. 

Any RCN South East member is able to observe the open session by emailing your request to: You can also request board meeting minutes or to contact a board member. The next meeting takes place on 23 September. The meeting dates for 2022 are: 10th February, 26th May and 15 September.

All RCN meetings are currently held virtually.

The board members have to disclose any interests: South East Board Register of Interests

The main points from the June Board meeting:

  • Scottish nursing staff were recently offered a 4% pay increase, but RCN work is ongoing to achieve a better pay outcome for our members.  
  • Our inclusion network is moving forward with its plans and is looking for new members. Contact Cyzel on Twitter: @RCNSEFusion
  • The RCN is keen to know about any safe staffing incidents and issues so that they can support members and engage with employers as needed. Members are asked to advise RCND or their local Officer contacts. 

Your South East Board

Jeremy Benton (Council Member)

Jeremy qualified in 2004 and has worked in a number of settings including Flight Nursing, Critical Care and High Dependency Units in the NHS and independent sector in the UK and overseas. He has been involved with the RCN since he was a nursing student and has been a student steward, a workplace steward, staffside chair and branch chair. 
South East Board Chair Ged Swinton

Ged Swinton (Board Chair)

Ged has been in nursing since 1990, having qualified as an RGN in 1993 he has worked in a variety of sectors including nursing homes and the independent sector. The majority of his career has been spent in acute/critical care within the NHS.
He is currently working as a trainee ACP at University Hospital Southampton. Ged has been a Vice Chair of his local staff side alongside being a steward and branch chair in the RCN since 2013 and a Board member since 2016. Ged is passionate about supporting nurses and ensuring that governance is accountable and transparent to members. 
South East Board Member Jess Sainsbury

Jessica Sainsbury (Vice Chair)

Jess is a dual field Adult and Mental Health Nurse with a passion for continuing professional development and enhancing the knowledge and experiences of the whole nursing family. Alongside being Vice Chair, she’s currently co-lead of the RCN Newly Registered Nurses Network and is a member of the Nursing Now Challengers' Committee. Jess has encouraged collaborative working across many groups, forums, and branches within the RCN and beyond, challenging hierarchy and ways of working.
Jess is currently on secondment at the Florence Nightingale Foundation as a Research and Policy Assistant which will lead to stronger representation, advocacy and empowerment for Student Nurses, Midwives and AHPs across the whole region following the success of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Student Nurse Council. You can find Jess on Twitter @JessLSainsbury and Instagram @NHSJess.

Modupe Akin-Areola (Board Member)

Modupe has been a qualified Mental Nurse for around 30 years. She started her nursing career in Neuro Psychiatric Hospital in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria, and has been working in Southern Health NHS  Foundation Trust for the last 15 years. During this time she has gained invaluable knowledge and professional experience handling forensic patients and adult psychiatry.
She has been an active member of the RCN since she started working in the NHS. She is an RCN Learning Rep, and regularly promotes and supports staff with their learning needs. She has participated actively in joint conferences, organised teaching sessions and revalidation. She has been a member of the South East Board since 2016. Her hobbies include travelling, reading and listening to music.

Tammy Bourgaize South East Board Member

Tammy Bourgaize (Board Member)

Tammy is a registered Adult Nurse and has served on the South East Board for approximately 18 months. During the first year of this she was Vice Chair of the RCN Guernsey branch and was part of a local working group of nurses who were instrumental in organising a campaign for equal pay of equal value when compared to local government pay scales. As a result Tammy was invited to present on member engagement at RCN HQ in 2019. Tammy is a Practice Development Lead for the Surgical Wards in Guernsey, Channel Islands and leads on the Preceptorship programme. It is through this role that she has contact with a variety of nursing staff from different areas and bands and she uses this opportunity to listen to member voices.
South East Ex Officio Professional Nursing Committee Mary Codling

Mary Codling (Ex Officio Professional Nursing Committee)

Mary has worked in the NHS since qualifying. Over the years Mary has trained and worked as an Epilepsy Nurse Specialist, Independent Nurse Prescriber, Best Interest Assessor, and an Associate Lecturer.  Mary has also conducted several research projects in practice, carried out audits that facilitated changes in service delivery, as well as publishing several papers, and developed national training and clinical resources. Mary works in her current role as Primary Health Care Lead for Learning Disabilities and acts as an advisor for several other organisations on areas such as epilepsy, learning disabilities and best interests. She has also been a peer reviewer for NIHR. Mary is the South East representative for the RCN Professional Nursing Committee and is also a Queens Nurse.
South East Board Member Andrew Haydon

Andrew Haydon (Board Member)

South East Board Member Lorraine Hicking-Woodison

Lorraine Hicking-Woodison (Board Member)

Lorraine is an Assistant Practitioner and Health Care Support Worker (HCSW) training lead. She currently delivers a level 3 training programme for HCSWs in Kent and Medway GP practices. She is passionate about her work and believes that HCSWs play an extremely valuable role in teams and that their learning and development is very important.  She has been an active member of the RCN since 2009. She is committed to raising the profile of NSWs. She has campaigned for the regulation of HCSWs and has served on various RCN committees including Nursing Support and Forum Governance Group. She also currently represents nursing support on the RCNi  Editorial Advisory Board. She has a special interest in health promotion and part of her role as an Assistant Practitioner focuses on helping patients with their weight management. 

Liz Jeremiah

Liz Jeremiah (Ex Officio Trade Union Committee)

South East Board Member Abi Lawal

Olufemi 'Abi' Lawal (Board Member)

Abi, as she is fondly called, is a frontline nurse of over 30 years. She is currently a Ward Manager on a General Medical Ward with specialty in the Care of Older Persons at Frimley Park Hospital. She is a qualified Midwife and Adult Nurse, and has worked in different specialties including Maternity, Haemodialysis, Acute Medicine and Rheumatology. Abi obtained an MSc in Learning and Teaching for Professional Practice and she is a registered teacher on the NMC register. A Practice Supervisor/Assessor for learners in clinical practice, she was also an associate lecturer at the Oxford Brookes University.  Abi has been a member of the RCN for over 20 years and was recently elected into the Board role.
Abi led the 'DRINK UP' initiative, a campaign aimed at improving hydration in older persons. In her spare time Abi enjoys cooking, reading, watching films. She is a devout Christian who enjoys teaching children in Sunday School.

Adam Mapp, South East Board Member

Adam Mapp (Board Member)

Adam is currently a Charge Nurse on a General Medical Ward in Margate, having worked there since he qualified in 2017.
Adam represents RCN members by acting as a Safety Representative, the Chair of the East Kent branch, and as a member of the South East Regional Board.

South East Board Member Kenny McNeil

Kenny McNeil (Board Member)

South East Board Member Heather Mercer

Heather Mercer (Board Member)

South East Board Member Claire Shields

Claire Shields (Board Member)

Claire has been nursing for four decades, in roles as diverse as Sister in acute medical wards to Matron in a care home.
When the pandemic hit, she had just retired but came back to work and has for the last year been a Clinical Case Manager for track and trace, and is hoping to start in a vaccination centre any day now. As well as her nursing role she is an RCN steward and Chair of Hampshire branch, and when not working she is very family orientated with a large and growing family.
She sees her role as bringing the members' voice forward at a national level and using every opportunity to make their working lives better, especially in terms of pay and safe staffing. 
She is currently in her second term as a South East board member. 
South East Board Member Ali Upton

Ali Upton (Board Member)

Ali has worked in the NHS for 34 years, currently as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner. She has been an accredited Health & Safety representative for 10 years, holding the South East seat on the RCN UK Safety Representatives Committee since 2013. and has just started a two-year term of office as Chair. She is passionate about the Health & Wellbeing of the workforce and is keen to empower members to access the offers within both the RCN and the organisations they work within. Ali received the RCN Award of Merit in 2019 for her role in passing legislation to improve Health & Safety for all NHS employees. Her Congress item on assaults on clinical staff set in motion work by the RCN, Police Federation and supportive MPs to extend the scope of the Emergency Workers Bill which was granted Royal Assent in 2018. Ali is a keen walker and frequently walks long distances to raise money for a local charity.

Page last updated - 13/09/2021