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“You have been an inspiration to work with and what I have learnt most from you is to always put the patients and family first….. with people like you the quality of care will improve and I will watch with great hope and anticipation. Good luck..”

Dr F,
Former NHS colleague  
September 2020

“Dear Donna 

It was lovely to finally meet you! Heartfelt thanks from us both for today. Your empathy and understanding really helped us. 

Best wishes”

Mr and Mrs A,
September 2020

“We appreciate all you are doing here for us as your work load is no doubt immense.

It was lovely to meet you on Monday

Thanks again for all you are doing”

Mr E,
September 2020

“Thank you for listening and understanding. It is very much appreciated- artwork courtesy of my 4 year old.”

Ms W,
May 2020

“It’s people like you Donna – that make the world a better place”

J S, 
February 2020

“Dear Donna, I hope that you have enjoyed your visit to Newham the day before and thank you for taking time to talk to me. The colleagues and I were very impressed by your words of encouragement and inspiration.”

Midwife N,
January 2020

“As always, thank you so much for all your help, patience, support and kind words.”

Mrs W

“It’s such a difficult thing to go through, even all this time on for me. I’m so thankful to you all for everything that you are doing.”

Mrs B

“I thank you again for taking the time out to help me and my family, to bring the full scale of events to account and it means a great deal that you are there for us.”

Mrs S

“The work you do is so encouraging and inspirational, I hope you get all the support you need to keep up this important work.”

S K, 
January 2020

“As always, thank you so much for all your help, patience, support and kind words.”

Mrs W

“I thank you again for taking the time out to help me and my family, to bring the full scale of events to account and it means a great deal that you are there for us.”

Mrs S

“Keep up the excellent work.”

Mrs M

“Please can I thank you personally for the voice you have given to those involved with Shrewsbury and Telford who previously do not appear to have had one.

NHS colleague
December 2019

“I have just heard that you are leading  the  maternity enquiry at Telford and I can think of no one more suitable. Not only are you very highly thought of professionally, but you have always shown integrity in all that you undertake. Many families will owe you a great deal for your sensitive, thorough and transparent work.

Former colleague
December 2019

“I cannot think of a better person to ensure that  family voices will be  listened to, heard  and acted upon in the maternity review you are leading at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

Former colleague Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
December 2019

“It is reassuring to know that our case is being looked into by so many professionals. I also appreciate just how much bigger the review has gotten for you since you opened it. You and your team are doing such an important and valuable job in helping all of the devastated families.

Mr H,
December 2019

“Donna thank you so much, you have given me so much support and I just want to say thank you very much I will never forget the help you have given me even just by listening to me, it all helps and I just want you to know I will never forget you for the help and support.

Ms J
November 2019

“I know my secretary has been in touch with you recently regarding the work of Orving Community Watch. We held our October tea party on the 30th and the proceeds of our raffle are enclosed for your work in the Chichester area with the homeless.

A, Chichester
October 2019

” On World Homeless Day, God bless you for the work that you do.

Anonymous donor, Chichester
October 2019

“To all at the Four Streets team, with many thanks for all you have done for me over the past year, with love and affection you all will be in my thoughts and in my heart.

Anonymous, Chichester
October 2019

“The enclosed cheque for Four Streets comes from the Slindon village harvest supper. I hope the project continues to go from strength to strength, and well done for all your school visits and talks recently!

R, Chichester
October 2019

“It was a pleasure to see you recently when you visited the maternity service here in Cornwall. I hope you enjoyed your visit and seeing the work we are doing for our women and families. The team and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your very generous donation of the lovely bedding for our bereavement suite. It was a shame you were not able to see this lovely facility for yourself but glad we could show you our remembrance tree and our wonderful counselling room. With kind regards.

Head of Midwifery, Royal Cornwall Hospitals
October 2019

“I had the pleasure of meeting you earlier this year. At the end of our conversation you had requested that I keep you updated on my progress during my final my months of the course. I have since completed the direct entry midwifery programme. At the beginning of October I commenced working as a pre-registration midwife. As my pin is now active, I will be employed as a band 5 midwife. I hope this message finds you well and I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your encouragement when I met you.

Newly registered midwife ‘H’
October 2019

“Just wanted to say thank you for all your help so far. I saw my doctor last week and I’ve been referred to another trust for a check over to see what’s going on. I couldn’t have done anything without you. Thank you once again.

Ms H
October 2019

“Well thank goodness for you and Four Streets Project – there seems to be more and more people in need on the streets of Chichester now…..thank you so much for your prompt reply

D S, Chichester
October 2019

“Just to say a huge thank you for visiting our maternity unit at SMH today. The staff and women in our care really enjoyed talking to you. Looking forward to seeing you back and this time at QCCH.

Deputy Divisional Director of Nursing & Midwifery, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
September 2019

” I’m honestly so grateful to you for everything you’re doing. It means so much to be heard finally, and to be getting the help I’ve been asking for, for years. Thank you.

Ms P
August 2019

“Thank you for taking the time to visit us and for the lovely praise, I will share this with my teams who I know will feel the same. We look forward to seeing you again in later in the year.

Head of Midwifery and Assistant Director of Nursing, South West England NHS Trust
June 2019

“Thank you very much for your very generous donation of vouchers for a restaurant and beauty salon in Chichester. They were won by people who definitely appreciated them. We think we made at least £1500 which is a very helpful sum for our 12th century church. On behalf of the events planning team, once again thank you for your generosity.

M, Local 12th Century Church Fundraising Team
June 2019

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for all you are doing, we are so incredibly grateful. Thank you also for being so lovely and allowing me to tell my story in such an informal way. I was so nervous leading up to the meeting but you made me feel so relaxed and able to talk, thank you.

June 2019

” Thank you so much for Friday’s talk. I spoke to some of the children at break today to ask them about it, and they were positively raving and had clearly been fully engaged in all that you had to say. What an impact you have made! It sounds as though it was a wonderful morning, and I am delighted that you were able to come.

Head Teacher, Local school in Chichester
June 2019

“What an encouraging and refreshing talk by @DOckendenLtd today at our Midwifery Conference! As a student of 6 weeks my attention and interest was truly captured… You had me at ‘Hello my name is Donna’ #midwiferystudent #conference #UWL #midwives #NMC

@juliet_larson, University of West London
May 2019

“Great speech, thank you!

@Gina88_123, University of West London
May 2019

” Thank you so much for coming to our midwifery conference today and giving such a positive presentation

HS, University of West London
May 2019

” Perfectly pitched, such an inspirational and positive presentation

Course Leader, University of West London
May 2019

” My night angels – thank you for your amazing support

Ms J – supported on the streets by The Four Streets Project
March 2019

” I have found that you have been a fantastic lead and point of contact

Ms M, Shropshire
March 2019

” Thanks for your support as ever!

Ms K, Shropshire
March 2019

“We really appreciate the honest feedback and the thorough way in which you have organised the review. It is impressive and has showed how independent it is.

A family member, Shropshire
March 2019

“I have faith that your team will do a top-quality unbiased job

Ms A
March 2019

” It was a pleasure to meet you and to see how you are racing around the country talking to ‘real’ midwives. We have seen your wonderful tweets that you were so quick to produce. A joy to read and to spread the word. Thank you for your kind words. The midwives loved them. Hope to meet you again somewhere.

Birth Centre Lead. Midwife J
February 2019

” Thank you to you all, even when I shouted at you I was glad you came. It gave structure to my evenings knowing you would always come and reminded me I was worth something not worthless. You were my lifeline.

Ms M – supported by the Four Streets
Now in housing and no longer on the streets
February 2019

“Once again Donna, many, many thanks, you have helped mend my broken heart

Mrs S
February 2019

“Thanks so much for everything you are doing on behalf of me and so many others, I really do appreciate it.

Ms P
January 2019

“I’m very humbled by all the hard work and dedication you have shown, I’m feeling a lot at peace, emotional and happy all at the same time

Mrs S
January 2019

” I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your relentless work in exposing the unacceptable care and treatment that vulnerable people with Dementia endured on the Dementia assessment ward  Tawel Fan, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd,  BCUHB. Your first report published in June 2015 was the catalyst to the review of the Governance arrangements that were in place at the time of the Tawel Fan scandal and up to the early part of 2018. Your Governance review highlighted a lack of governance and major system failures that permeated throughout Older People’s Mental Health Services in North Wales.

My family and I will always be grateful for your genuine kindness, support, honesty and objectivity throughout a very difficult time. Your resilience and determination in the search for the evidenced truth is commendable.

It remains to be seen if BCUHB will make any significant progress in improving the care and treatment of people with Dementia and the wider services of Older People’s Mental Health Services following your Governance Review, but there is some comfort to be had in that these services are no longer under the radar but are now under a very bright spotlight. For that, I also thank you.

Mrs J, North Wales
January 2019


Congratulations on everything you are doing, the lives you are improving every day. It’s such an honour to know you

V, mother of baby G
December 2018


I’m constantly in awe of the way you deal with the families with such compassion and kindness.

Mrs L
December 2018


I’m pleased to confirm that an agreement has been reached between all the parties. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the assistance throughout, the client is very grateful for your expert support of her sons case.

Principal Lawyer
November 2018


Thank you for an absolutely fabulous day look forward to planning your next visit.

A senior midwife; following a shadowing visit with Donna Ockenden
November 2018


Donna, thank you very much for all your hard work with a very difficult case. I really believe that this will make a significant difference to the family and couldn’t have got here without your valued work often at short notice, it is very much appreciated.

October 2018


Mr and Mrs B specifically wish me to pass on their thanks to you and feel that your report together with the report of the obstetrician has given them the answers to the questions which they were desperate to have.

October 2018


Hi Donna, I think you might be our #1 supporter – thank you so much for all of the sharing and awareness raising you do for us and baby loss in general. We really appreciate it.

A Babyloss charity, London
August 2018


A thank you note from the family of a recent BCUHB service user in Older Persons Mental Health

August 2018

Read the note


Donna I have every confidence in you. I await your report and will read it in the knowledge you have done the right thing for everyone living in the BCUHB area.

Contributor to the Ockenden review of governance
August 2018


We thought it was an excellent session, it was moving, motivating and we learnt a lot – we were so pleased to attend along with 25 other staff members.

Feedback from a presentation on current day maternity services
August 2018


I’ve heard so many good things about what you have found and put in the report and can’t thank you enough for your hard work in compiling the whole thing. Lets hope people listen and take note.

Mr R, Wales
August 2018


I would like to thank you so very much for your very thorough Review of Governance at BCUHB.  Thank you for including  X’s  Complaint in your Report, I hope it impacts on people in a ‘how could they do it!’ kind of way.

I’m not surprised at the quantity of problems you found and it is very satisfying to have confirmation of what I, and other carers, came across in our journey through the mire, which is BCUHB.

I’m so very grateful for all your help in navigating my way though my complaint and for your understanding care throughout the process. 

Carer feedback on Ockenden report
July 2018


I look forward to working with you again very soon. I have always found you to be very approachable and efficient. Your advice has always been sound and its always a pleasure working with experts like yourselves who are able to provide balanced and credible views.

July 2018


Can I again thank you for all of your very hard work, and I and many of the other families respect you more than you will realise, and I really hope that the huge effort you have put into your report pays off. I’m still going to carry on fighting for justice for my mother and it’s what all the families caught up in this whole affair deserve, and I do look forward to reading your report as there is one thing it will be and that is truthful.

Family member, Mr D.
July 2018


Congratulations and thanks for your report. I agree with everything you have said and it must have taken a mind boggling amount of work to include so much detail. I hope this will be a turning point for the people of North Wales, that openness and honesty is a matter of course, and that in time we will get the standard of service we deserve, which seems to be standard in most other parts of the country.

Mrs A.
July 2018


Donna, you were inspirational!

Miss D at Tawel Fan report launch
July 2018


Donna, thank you so much again for all your very kind help to date in this case. The mediation was very hard fought but the family are very pleased with the result. I think in all the circumstances this is a very good result and I thank you for all the assistance in the case throughout.

Feedback from instructing solicitor in the case of baby X where Donna was expert midwife
June 2018


Thank you for all your support on twitter and always! It’s much appreciated

Neonatal safety campaigner
May 2018


The work you and Four Streets do is brilliant, it makes me feel so uplifted, even when everything else is going wrong

Female M, Four Streets recipient
April 2018


Thank you Donna, and please say thank you to your Four Streets team for supporting me at what was the darkest time in my life. I’m in a better place now, but I will never forget your kindness and support, you do such amazing work

Female A, Former Four Streets recipient
April 2018


Donna, and the guys who you work alongside in Four Streets are awesome, you all do so much for people like myself: those in a bad place. There were three of us when you started up Four Streets and we will never forget us receiving hot food on your plates. All three of us have now moved on, I want to say a massive thank you.

Male J, Former Four Streets recipient.
April 2018
PS: We still have your plates!


So glad we found you to help us with our work on Maternity!

CCG Chief Officer – London
March 2018


With thanks to Donna for all your passion, drive and leadership

Maternity Team, London
January 2018


Donna, You are the embodiment of kindness, you have been, and continue to be, so helpful and understanding during this truly awful time in my life. What has happened during the last 10 years isn’t something I would wish anyone else to go through. Thank you, and thank you again for all your help and kindness

Mrs I
January 2018


We are so grateful that we are being listened to, for your understanding and your willingness to follow things up.

Mrs B, North Wales
December 2017


Thanks for all your unending concern and empathy Donna, and for all your endeavours on my behalf

Mrs M, North Wales
November 2017


Further to the publication of the report: Gathering feedback from families following the death of their baby – A resource to support professionals in maternity care by the London Clinical Networks NHS England Publications Gateway. Donna received the following two testimonials:

Thank you so much for including Gina in your dedication. I will always remember and appreciate your incredible support and protection through one of the most difficult times of my life. I wanted to let you know how touched I am by what you’ve done.

There’s still so much sadness, even after all this time but we are grateful for the generosity and love that you have shown us. You’re a very special lady Donna – and you’ve had such a deep impact on ours as well as so many other people’s lives. You must be very proud to have been instrumental in creating this resource and I truly appreciate you including Gina alongside the other babies.

‘V’ Mother of baby Gina
November 2017


I have spent a bit of time this evening googling the learning about the Maternity Bereavement Experience Measure Project, and I am so impressed and proud to know you! I obviously never met Gina, and I cannot begin to understand mum’s grief over having lost her first baby, but in the moments when we do talk about her, I can appreciate that the loss has never gone away. I know that mum has told you herself, but I’d also like to tell you that your dedication both to Gina in the report and to improving support for all mums and babies throughout your career really means the world to mum. I think knowing that Gina is remembered by you, and that through you has had an impact outside of her short life, is such an incredible gift.

‘Z’ Sister of baby Gina
November 2017


It was lovely to see you yesterday.  As we discussed, we are very proud that we have launched the Maternity Bereavement Experience Measure last week that coincides with Baby Loss Awareness week. Many thanks for your hard work in the London Clinical Network.  I am sure your wisdom and expertise will benefit many professionals across the UK for years to come.

Midwife F, Bereavement Specialist & MBRRACE-UK Lead Midwife
October 2017


I am writing to say thank you for the work that you have completed in respect of the Midwifery workforce.  The work we asked you to do was intended to provide us with some external assurance on the appropriate level of WTE of direct midwifery clinical care that should be declared in our birthrate plus analysis, (with some independent benchmarking).  Your work has helped us in our journey to understand our numbers and has also given us some good food for thought in respect of any wider work that we may embark upon relating to our midwifery workforce.

Your analysis has been discussed at our Executive Performance Review meeting and I am pleased to say that we have been able to confirm the midwifery workforce numbers going forward.   This exercise has removed any unnecessary uncertainty and has provided the organisation with the data upon which we could make our decision. Thank you once again Donna.

Chief Nurse, Kent
October 2017


I always enjoyed working with you and you have achieved so much for maternity in London. All the best for your onward journey and I hope that our paths will cross again

Consultant Obstetric Anaesthetist
October 2017


I have always been convinced that my inclusion on the SCLG might be in large part due to you not choosing ‘the usual suspects’. Whether this is true or not you have certainly always taken a leap of faith in both me and my ideas. I feel that your support has been instrumental in what I have achieved and the birth of the #MatExp movement. You have left a tremendous legacy which will benefit women and families across London

Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
October 2017


Thank you for a fantastic day at the NMC yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and will definitely be encouraging other students to come to the NMC

Sophie Martin, BSc Midwifery
September 2017


Donna has previously held the position of chair of the Parents and Friends of St Anthony’s Special School in Chichester and played a keen role in fundraising activities.

Read the testimonial


I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to you for your hard work and clinical leadership with the London Maternity Clinical Network, most especially in the recent publication of the maternity bereavement resource which, with its implementation, will provide great improvements in bereavement care for mothers, families and babies in future.

I wish you continued success in your future endeavours, and hope that our paths cross again.

Malti Varshney, Associate Director, Clinical Networks and Senate
NHS England (London Region)
September 2017


Thank you for today’s event, I thought it was brilliant and really enjoyed it

JS, North Wales
July 2017


Your input throughout our enquiry has been invaluable and first class

Detective Constable
Homicide and Major Enquiry Team


Thanking @DOckendenLtd once again for her time and for listening, will keep you in the loop

Sue Irlam
@froheulog via twitter
July 2017


After more than four years of successfully providing a passionate and ambitious midwifery perspective in her role as Co-Clinical Director for the London Maternity Clinical Network, I am sad to that Donna Ockenden will be stepping down as of June 2017. For me it has been a real delight to work with such a dedicated, energetic and fun person and has gone a long way to ensuring a genuinely multidisciplinary approach to improving London’s maternity services. She has undoubtedly been instrumental in helping to create a vision to improve the quality and experience of care across London. She has given great warmth in delivering this role, and helped partners to establish fantastic connections to improve outcomes for women, babies and their families. Donna had led the Network in establishing the Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Working group, and developed an expert panel to support investigations as well as a thematic review of deaths with an annual report and work plan for London. She leaves a wonderful legacy, ready to embrace the future as described in Better Births.

I thank Donna her for the huge contribution that she has made to improving maternity services in London. I for one will miss her enormously.

Professor Donald Peebles
Co-Clinical Director Maternity Clinical Network NHS England (London Region)
July 2017

Read more Testimonials further to Donna’s departure from the role of Co-Clinical Director for the London Maternity Clinical Network.


It was a pleasure to have you attend the Heads of Midwifery Advisory Group meeting which allowed us to showcase our past achievements and current projects

Read the letter

Deb Jackson, Chair of HoMAG
May 2017


Donna, thank you for all your help over the past many months and for undertaking this very comprehensive investigation.’

Chief Nurse, A London NHS Trust
May 2017


We would just like to convey our thanks to yourself and the two clinicians in your team who spent the time to listen to us today and we would just like to thank you for the professional way you dealt with us. Every member of your team has always treated us with complete respect and handled us with care, we would not have come today if this was done without you being there.

Mr J, North Wales
May 2017


Just a brief note to say thank you for today.  Mum felt she was really listened to as well as understood, although dad didn’t really know or understand why he was there, I thought it was important that he was there.  I also found out that there is a group that dad can join, so I am going to investigate that.

Daughter of H and S – North Wales
May 2017


Dear Donna
A huge thank you to you once again for giving so generously of your time to participate in last Wednesdays careers event. It really was very kind of you to rally support and to provide one of the series of talks too. As you know I am wholly dependent on the goodwill and enthusiasm of my career experts so thank you for all you do to support!’

With best wishes

Mrs Sammy Davies, Head of Careers
Portsmouth High School for Girls
February 2017


Lovely email from @DOckendenLtd @nmcnews ..thanks for making me feel valued as a #midwife and that my opinions matter in unsettling times 🙂

Melanie Ambrose
@MelAmbrosia via Twitter
February 2017


Donna, thanks for all of your help with this case which has of course been both lengthy and complex.

Detective Inspector
Homicide and Major Enquiry Team (HMET)
March 2017


Donna Ockenden was appointed by City and Hackney CCG to provide independent Midwifery support and expertise to a ‘deep dive’ process into a local Maternity Unit where there had been a number of concerns regarding safety. Donna was initially appointed in December 2014 but continued supporting both the CCG and the Maternity service on an ongoing, flexible and as required basis until the Spring of 2016. Throughout her time supporting the CCG Donna could always be relied upon for wise and sensible advice. She clearly has extensive knowledge, skills and competency   in providing effective and high quality Maternity leadership and she bought great ideas and challenge to help us monitor and develop local services which were absolutely invaluable. This was very evident from day 1 of her work with the CCG.  The service provided by Donna Ockenden was highly professional from start to completion. I would have no hesitation in recommending Donna Ockenden to other CCGs or NHS bodies or Trusts requiring a similar piece of work.

Paul Haigh, Chief Officer
February 2017


We appreciate the passion and commitment from you for this area of work and the relationships that have been formed over a number of years. Your leadership and co – working with Donald has helped significantly the development of the Maternity Clinical Network. Again we thank you for your contribution to developing some excellent work that has already taken place in the Maternity Clinical Network

Strategic Clinical Network Lead
NHS England
February 2017


On behalf of the whole team at Kate’s Home Nursing I am writing to thank you for your support of our annual carol concert. Our final total was over £13,000.

Read more

Nicky Noorani
January 2017


A massive thank you Donna for facilitating the Paediatric STP workshop excellently. The turnout was fab and the networking and buzz in the room was brilliant. We got to some of the tricky issues but the best thing was – we got everyone talking. Well done, I really appreciated your style and expertise.

Angela Murphy, Deputy Director Strategy & Partnerships
North East Hampshire & Farnham CCG
January 2017


As part of Donna’s charity work she is the Chair of the Parents and Friends of St Anthony’s School, and is delighted to support their fundraising activities.

Read more


As co chair of the London SCN, Donna Ockenden jointly hosted a learning and sharing event on Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in September 2016.

Read attendee comments here


I am very happy that we have been able to reach an amicable agreement with the Defendant in this claim.

My client is very happy to have been able to finally conclude this matter and obtain compensation for the pain and suffering she experienced.  

I wanted to thank you for all of your assistance with this claim. Your helpful advice allowed us to point out to the Defendant that their Defence was flawed and it would not have been possible to reach settlement without your input.

Emma Beeson
Associate, Clinical Negligence
Penningtons Manches LLP


After many complaints were made to Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board (BCUHB) about the treatment of patients on Tawel Fan Ward, North Wales, Ms Donna Ockenden was engaged by BCUHB to investigate whether or not the level of complaints wasjustified. It would be fair to say that most of the carers of these patients were highly sceptical of any investigation instigated by BCUHB. The scepticism proved to be unwarranted and Ms Ockenden carried out a highly professional, independent investigation and gained the trust and respect of all the carers in the group. This took a huge amount of tact and diplomacy as the outcomes for some of the loved ones was, to say the least, totally distressing for many of the carers.

Family of patient
July 2016


I wanted to thank you very much, for a stimulating session at the recent Clinical Senate Forum. I thought it was extremely interesting and enjoyable.

The breadth and content of the presentations given were testament to the contribution that the Strategic Clinical Network is making, and the leadership it provides, in setting the ambition for better maternity care across London and providing practical support and guidance to facilitate delivery.

Dr Andy Mitchell, Regional Medical Director
NHS England (London Region)


Thank you for all your help during the criminal investigation relating to a Gynaecologist who had been struck off by the GMC and has since been convicted of six serious offences. Your involvement was very much appreciated.

Detective Constable
London Metropolitan Police


Thank you again for coming in and doing excellent work for us. It was very helpful. Hope to work with you again soon.

Chief Nurse – South of England Trust


Congratulations on such a successful meeting and workshop yesterday. I thought it was a tremendous reflection on the work you have enabled and led in the last two years and although there is plenty to do I had confidence that we have a great group of leaders to do it with.

Consultant Obstetrician – South West London NHS Trust


Your work has really informed our engagement strategy Donna and we have assigned one of the managers to lead on improvement in the division. We also have a new Director in place. Thank you.

A manager from a Southern England NHS Trust


Thank you so much for all that you did to support our School Careers Event last week. It was so good of you to give your time and I am most grateful to you. It was also terribly kind of you to rally your ‘Women in Business’ colleagues and am so thrilled at the dynamic they added to the evening.

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support.

Mrs D


Thank you so much for all your help and support during our pregnancy. The Foetal Medicine Unit at NHS Trust was amazing

J is doing brilliantly and is being monitored by the NHS Trust who are happy with his progress so far. His operation will be next summer all being well. He weighs over 11lb already and is trying to lift his head and wriggle around.

Parents of Baby J


Thank you for taking the time to come into our service, we all very much appreciate all your efforts in trying to make Housekeeping a better place to work, feedback was listened to and all the recommendations including new equipment is in place.

Staff at NHS Trust on the South Coast


Donna is a motivational leader, who creates vision, and puts in place the infrastructure to deliver. She is forward thinking, strategic, has excellent networking skills, celebrates successes and is very supportive. Exemplary in improving the image of maternity within the Trust both in London and nationwide and cares about Women’s individual experiences.

Donna is an outstanding communicator and her strength lies in her power of communication and interaction with key players within the Trust and national bodies to ensure the voice of midwifery is always heard.
A natural leader who has exceptionally strong leadership skills and uses a variety of methods getting a team to recognise the vision often under very challenging and difficult constraints within the NHS environment. Her leadership is recognised nationally by her peers who have elected her on to a board and also as a chair to national networks.

Donna takes a very important ambassador role within this important service. We were impressed at how often she sets up events to ensure that what is going on in maternity services is known to a wider group of people. By sharing work carried out in maternity services Donna has influenced other areas of the Trust to undertake similar work.

Donna has impressed us in how she communicated her vision for Maternity services with senior Trust Management.

Feedback from Managers, Direct Reports and Peers within the Trusts:
South London Maternity Services


During November and December 2014, 22 of the 51 wards providing mental health care for older people in Wales have been reviewed by teams made up of senior older people’s mental health nurses, pharmacists and occupational therapists drawn from the majority of health boards in Wales. Medical input was also provided during some of the spot checks.
These teams were led by professionals involved in earlier spot checks, which took place in the summer of 2014 following the publication of the Trusted to Care report. Thanks have been placed on record for the review teams for their hard work and expert advice; this includes Donna Ockenden.

Written Statement from Welsh Government:
Programme of work of older people’s mental health wards in Welsh hospitals


On the opening of the Maternity Bereavement Suite: ‘I just want to say thank you for today and for all the support that you have given me since I was appointed in this role.
Today has been so special and one that I will remember for ever a real once in a career moment.

I just want to say that without your support and passion for bereavement we would not be where we are today, thank you.

Specialist Midwife Bereavement / Delivery Suite Midwife
South London Healthcare Trust


Thank you very much for taking the time this lunchtime to present the keynote address at the SE London launch event. We are very grateful to you.

I think that you setting the context and priorities of the London Network and detailing what you have achieved in a comparatively short space of time was inspiring for those present. Following this presentation there was an energy in the room which showed in the questions asked, and also later on in the small group discussions when those present really began to think about what our SE London network could potentially achieve.

Lead Commissioner for Maternity Services
South East London


I am very pleased to have been able to bring this claim to an amicable conclusion and that my client will now receive damages in settlement of her claim.

She is delighted to have seen matters through to a conclusion, as it meant a huge amount to her to have investigated the care she received during her pregnancy and why it was that circumstances caused her so much anxiety.

I wanted to thank you again for all of your assistance.

Alison Johnson
Senior Associate
Penningtons Manches LLP


We commissioned Donna following a CQC inspection which identified a number of areas requiring immediate improvement. Donna worked alongside us to quickly identify interventions and helped us connect through her extensive network with other experts to support our improvement process. Despite a difficult and challenging time, Donna was able to offer high support and high challenge to ensure we remained focus on key tasks and the overall improvement of the service for local women.

Chief Nurse


We engaged Donna to support us in developing our bid for a local maternity service. Donna gave us a unique insight into the ‘art of the possible’ in maternity care, actively encouraging us to think differently and providing the ‘voice of the midwife’ in our strategy development. Her passion and enthusiasm for developing maternity services is infectious, supported by her wealth of knowledge about what can be improved as a result of both large and small scale transformation. This gives Donna immediate credibility, enabling her to have a positive impact in any project. I would not hesitate to recommend Donna to provide support and advice in both operational and strategic developments.

Jane Rowland
Head of Business Development
Royal United Hospital NHS Trust – Bath


I worked closely with Donna Ockenden in my role as RCM Director for England whilst Donna was Chair of the England RCM Heads of Midwifery Group.

Donna has handed over to her successor a vibrant and politically astute England HOMs group that have grown in influence since she first became Chair. During her Chairmanship Donna encouraged the development of many Midwifery senior leaders and ensured that issues of importance and concern to England Heads of Midwifery were understood, debated and taken forward as required.

Jacque Gerrard
RCM Director of England
Royal College of Midwives – England


I have become familiar with the work of Ms Donna Ockenden during my time as Senior Vice President and President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. During that time she has had very senior leadership positions in the South London Healthcare NHS Trust. She is an outstanding leader, who seems to enjoy strong support from midwives, obstetricians and gynaecologists. She has had very senior leadership positions including Divisional Director, and appears to have undertaken these responsibilities with great skill. More recently, she has been working in an area that has undergone huge change and reconfiguration, and again this is something that she seems to have delivered with great skill.

A major driver is quality of care, and she has not hesitated to try and protect patients’ interests. If required, she is prepared to go to the top to ensure that patients receive the best quality of care. She is a very special person and it has been a great privilege to work with her.

Dr Anthony Falconer
Immediate Past President
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)
August 2013


I have known Donna since she moved to London as Director of Midwifery at South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT) in 2009. Donna was appointed at a time when the Trust had recently merged three hospital sites into one Trust becoming the Maternity Services with the highest number of births in London. Throughout the years I have seen Donna develop and communicate her vision for the delivery of maternity services in South London. Donna has an ability to engage and enthuse others by expressing her vision unambiguously and vigorously whilst reflecting the values and principles key to its delivery. Donna has a passion for high quality, safe midwifery practice and for developing her staff; she is a strategic thinker and is able to identify gaps in the system which need addressing. It has been a pleasure working with Donna over the years and I hope that London will continue to benefit from her considerable expertise.

Jess Read
LSA Midwifery Officer for London


The Royal College will benefit enormously from your wisdom, drive and passion for quality. You should be very proud of your achievements here. There has been a complete transformation in the maternity service since your arrival, and I have a profound understanding of your central, and inspiring leadership role in the transformation.

Dr Chris Streather
CEO 2012
South London Healthcare NHS Trust


I worked closely with Donna Ockenden for a year very shortly after her appointment as the first non-medical Divisional Clinical Director of a large Women and Children’s Division. Upon her appointment it was very clear that there were a number of pressing problems requiring urgent intervention and resolution. As a result the Trust Board appointed me as Turnaround Director to work alongside Donna to modernise the Division. Our remit was to develop a plan to maximise financial efficiency whilst maintaining clinical safety and quality of care.

Donna was able to quickly energise and enthuse the nursing, midwifery, medical and administration teams to take responsibility for delivery of their services in a way that had not been seen in recent history. Donna built a new clinical leadership structure made up of some of the more newly appointed Consultants in a number of specialities. This replaced the previous ethos of appointments based on seniority of years. This led to a very visible increase in clinical engagements which I understand was used as a template across the entire Trust due to its effectiveness.

At the time of Donna’s appointment the Division was generating a significant financial loss primarily from its maternity services. Working in partnership with clinical colleagues Donna led the development of a number of key work streams including increases in clinical productivity, reduced costs, accessing additional PCT funding and increase clinical activity by repatriating local clinical work from other providers and stopping income leakage.

Governance processes were also redesigned ensuring that clinical governance and patient safety was integrated as part of ‘everyone’s everyday business’. Communication between clinical staff on the ground and the senior management team was made a daily priority with everyone in the Division feeling they had a vital role to play in the provision of high quality and safe patient care.

Philip Smith
The Red Clover Partnership Limited


As Director of the RCM England, Donna and I work in partnership to ensure that the national HOMS meetings and forums meet their objectives. This is to facilitate and support midwifery professional leaders working together, engaging and discussing major policy issues, developments and changes to maternity care and services across England. It is a forum that challenges, advises and influences policy makers as the forum generates discussions and formulates a consensus of opinion to advise key stakeholders such as the Department of Health, NHS England, HEE as well as Public Health England.

Donna who chairs the forum is key in ensuring that expert and senior midwives have a space and time to meet at least three times per year , to discuss matters related to Maternity care, maternity services and midwifery practice. The outcomes are used to inform the work of the RCM in England.

Key examples of discussions in recent months with HOMS have been around, reconfigurations of maternity and children’s services, the new NHS in England, Health Education England strategic intent and mandate, the recent Francis enquiry, Birth-rate plus, the vision for nursing and midwifery including the 6 C`s as well as the recent government environmental budget bids. All discussions have resulted in a consensus or action point to be taken up either by the RCM on the forums behalf or by Donna as the chair.

Outside of the forum Donna and I work together on issues such as International Day of the midwife where recently I visited South London Trust to be part of the launch of their “Call the midwife” campaign which is a unique professional way to encourage women to contact a midwife as early as possible for advice and support.

Jacque Gerrard
RCM Director for England
Royal College of Midwives – England


I first began working with Donna Ockenden in 2008 and was immediately bowled over by her energy, enthusiasm and positive attitude.

In the time I have known her, Donna is has achieved a phenomenal amount of success for the NHS and professional organisations she has been responsible for and involved with. She not only has an impressive instinct for identifying a problem, but is then highly focussed, diligent and ‘hands-on’ when getting to its root cause and resolving the issue.

Donna’s main strength is her combination of knowledge and experience with outstanding people skills. She has a natural empathy and understanding for staff, colleagues and those who have been in her care which has allowed her to gain great insight into a wide variety of professional situations, some of which have been extremely complex.

I would not hesitate to recommend Donna to any organisation looking for an experienced, intelligent and sympathetic expert to give them support and advice.

Robin Lander Brinkley BA (Hons) MAM ACIPR
Maxwell Communications


Royal College of Midwives

Testimonials from the Royal College of Midwives for Donna Ockenden.

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Portsmouth, 2003 – 2011

A selection of testimonials from Portsmouth Hospitals Trust for work carried out by Donna Ockenden between 2003 and 2011.

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Personal Testimonials, 1997 – 2010

A selection of thank you notes to Donna Ockenden from parents and colleagues 1997 – 2010

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Oman, 2001

Director General of Health Services and Superintendent of Nursing Services – June 2001.

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Oman, 2000

Testimonials from the Superintendent of Nursing Services, Ministry of Health for work carried out by Donna Ockenden during 2000 in the Sultanate of Oman.

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Futher Testimonials, 1996 – 2013

A selection of testimonials for Donna Ockenden covering 1996 to 2013.

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