Meet the team

Our senior team lead and manage the day-to-day delivery and running of Accelerate. They provide the motivation and leadership that means we can deliver a world-class service and be the best in all that we do.

Made up of clinical and non-clinical experts, this five-strong team is responsible for the development and delivery of all future plans for Accelerate. It’s this team that also sets out the path of success for coming years.

Alison Hopkins

Executive Director – CEO

Alison is Accelerate CIC’s first CEO. She led the team’s Right to Request in 2011 resulting in the set-up of Accelerate CIC as an independent organisation, the best route to developing this specialist wound and lymphoedema care service for NHS patients. She has specialised in wound care since 1989 and has an MSc in Psychology and Health. She first joined Tower Hamlet’s District Nursing Service in 1986 setting up the leg ulcer service in 1989. As a Tissue Viability Nurse she was mentored by the late Professor Gerry Bennett, founder of the East London Wound Healing Centre. The British Journal of Nursing awarded Alison ‘Tissue Viability Nurse of the Year, 2013’. Alison oversees the smooth running of the organisation and its development as well as continuing to provide clinical care to patients. She also contributes to the development of the field, writing in academic journals and speaking at conferences.

Christine O’Connor

Executive Director – Commercial, Business & Operations

Christine joined Accelerate CIC in 2015 to head up operations and corporate services development. Christine has provided support to Accelerate as an external adviser since the decision to spin out in 2011. She brings with her a wealth of experience from her role as a Managing Partner in a GP Practice to Director of Clinical Commissioning in Redbridge. Christine has worked extensively in change management with the NHS and created one of the first clinical leadership programmes developed specifically for GPs.

Caitriona O’Neill

Director of Clinical Services & Clinical Lead for Lymphoedema

Caitriona joined the team in 2008 as the new Lymphoedema Service was launching for Tower Hamlets. In 2015 she led on developing the City and Hackney Lymphoedema Service. Catriona trained as a Registered General Nurse at Waterford Regional Hospital in the 1990s before moving to London to pursue a career in palliative care. Out of this developed a keen interest in lymphoedema and particularly around the lack of provision within the UK, and a desire to address this inequity. Catriona uses this passion to encourage East London boroughs that do not have a lymphoedema provision to access Accelerate CIC’s service.

Karen Staines

Director of Research &
Clinical Lead for Wound Care

Karen joined Accelerate in January 2017 with over 35 years of nursing experience including Orthopaedic Nursing and Community Nursing. In 2008 she moved in to specialist practice focusing Lymphoedema. Post completing her training and working as the Lymphoedema lead in Mid Essex, and before completing her Degree in Tissue Viability she took a joint lead role as a Tissue Viability Nurse in South West Essex. Over the past four years she has worked in industry as a Chronic Oedema Therapy Specialist with Activa Healthcare where she was able to utilise both her Lymphoedema and Tissue Viability Skills in supporting services throughout the South East through teaching and education.
Karen leads on education and service development within her Wound Care role in Accelerate.

Georgina Ritchie

Director of Education

Georgina has over 20 years of experience in clinical practice, teaching and learning. Georgina trained and served as a military nurse within the British Army, serving in mainland UK and on operational duties until 2004, when she moved to the NHS. Georgina has held roles within the NHS such as community staff nurse, district nursing sister and modern matron, before coming into education in 2010. Georgina spent ten years at The University of Central Lancashire, most recently leading The Family, Community and Public Health portfolio, and has focused specifically on developing education in community and district nursing, as well as leg ulcer and lower limb care and management, whilst always maintaining an active role in clinical practice.

Georgina is registered as a community specialist practitioner and V300 non-medical prescriber with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and holds a master’s degree in education (MEd). She is passionate about education as a foundation to support confident and competent clinical practice within the fields of tissue viability and lower limb care.