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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.

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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