Meet the team

Our board, consisting of both Executive and Non-Executive Directors, constitutes the governing body of Accelerate. The Board is responsible for overseeing Accelerate’s assets and resources and for making sure good management practices are embedded across the organisation.

Peter Lock – Chair

Peter Lock, Chair, Accelerate CIC

Peter became the Chair of Accelerate in March 2023, having served as a Non-Executive Director on the Board for the prior 2 years.

Peter has worked in healthcare as an executive for over 17 years, as well as having financial services, utilities and consultancy experience. In addition he has significant Non-Executive Director experience working with independent co-owned social enterprises, delivering high quality, innovative community healthcare services, in partnership with the NHS. He also sits on the Board, as a Non-Executive Director, for BD Group, a property and facilities management company.

He currently runs a consultancy business, predominately working with financial services and healthcare clients. Prior to this Peter worked for the global healthcare company, Bupa, for over 14 years, where he held various executive positions, in commercial, business development and operational roles.

Peter is passionate about people, customer and patient centricity, innovation and helping organisations grow.

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.

Alpana Malde – Acting CEO & Commercial Director

Alpana Malde, Commercial Director, Accelerate CIC

Alpana joined Accelerate as Commercial Director in July 2022. She brings a wealth of commercial and financial expertise to the Accelerate Strategic Leadership team. She has worked in commercial and not for profit organisations, and since 2004 has been part of leadership teams in two hospices. She was responsible for negotiations with the NHS and also for the financial strategy in these roles.

Alpana says , “ I am very excited to join Accelerate at a crucial juncture. I hope my commercial skills will support Accelerate to secure its position as the leading provider of complex wound and lymphoedema care in North East London and beyond.”

Caitriona O’Neill – Director of Clinical Services & Lymphoedema

Caitriona O'Neill

Caitriona joined the Team in 2008 as the new Lymphoedema Service was launching for Tower Hamlets. At this point the clinical service sat within the Primary Care Trust. Caitriona is one of the remaining members of the Accelerate team that spun out of the NHS in 2011 when it became a social enterprise.

Caitirona trained as a Registered General Nurse at Waterford Regional Hospital in the 1990’s prior to moving to London to pursue a career in palliative care.  Palliative care for many years was a great passion and out of this she developed a keen interest in Lymphoedema and particularly around the lack of service provision and variation with a keen desire to address this inequity.

A key area of Caitriona’s work within Accelerate over the years has been the development of access to other boroughs within North East London where previously there no provision for Lymphoedema. Caitriona is a proud trustee for the British Lymphology Society since 2016 which has allowed for collaboration and joint working with external colleges and she is also a member of the pan London Lymphoedema Practice Group.

Karen Staines – Director of Research & Wound Care

Karen Staines, Director of Research and Wound Care, Accelerate

Karen joined Accelerate in January 2017 and brought with her a wealth of over 40 years nursing experience including orthopaedic and community nursing before moving into specialist practice in 2008.

After qualifying as a Lymphoedema Specialist and setting up a service in Mid Essex, she then completed her BSc in Tissue Viability taking a joint lead role as a Tissue Viability Nurse in Southwest Essex.

Prior to joining Accelerate Karen spent 4 years working in industry as a clinical specialist with L & R where she was able to utilise both her lymphoedema and tissue viability skills in supporting services throughout the Southeast through clinical support and education.

In November 2022 Karen was honoured to be awarded the ‘Queens Nurse’ title having demonstrated a high level of commitment to patient care and nursing practice within the community. She continues to serve the local community and beyond whilst supporting education in wound care and enabling access for community patients to take part in clinical trials.

Karen has spoken nationally, published and has completed training videos for both staff and patients to view within her field of expertise of wound management and lower limb ulceration.

Karen’s passion for innovation in practice has taken her into leading on Research and Development in Wound Care at 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.

Rizk Saade – Vice Chair & Non-Executive Director

Rizk is the Vice Chair of the Board and the Chairman of the Remuneration Committee. He brings years of experience in private investments, investment banking and management consulting across the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Rizk was most recently a Vice President within the Mergers & Acquisitions team at HSBC in London where he advised companies on acquiring and selling assets, raising debt and equity, and pursuing growth opportunities. Prior to that, he was a strategy and management consultant.

Mr. Saade has experience starting and running a number of successful businesses in the UK and is a Vice Chair and Trustee at The Philological Foundation, a London-based educational charity where he leads investment activities.

Fran Davies – Non-Executive Director

Fran Davies, Non-Executive Director, Accelerate

Fran Davies joined the Accelerate CIC Board in April 2023. She trained as a Registered Nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital School of Nursing following which she qualified as Registered Midwife. Fran’s clinical career has included experience across primary, secondary, and tertiary care as a District Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist in breast cancer and as a clinical and operational manager in various Trusts in London. Whilst a Breast Care Nurse she managed early stage lymphoedema of the arm for the patient in her caseload.

Fran also spent two years within the charitable sector managing a large community workforce delivering end of life care. Most recently she has worked with the London Region of NHS Improvement as a Quality Improvement Director.

Fran also serves as a Non-Executive Director at CSH Surrey, a community based healthcare social enterprise, that is employee owned. Fran chairs the People Committee and also sits on the Quality Committee.

In 2016 Fran, along with seven colleagues from her training school, set out to establish a Livery Company for Nurses. She served as Master of the Company from October 2020 until May 2022.

Fran is passionate about excellent clinical care and ensuring that patients and their carers receive high quality and safe care.

Will Evans – Non-Executive Director

Will designs and runs sustainable social businesses and helps others to do likewise. He is an expert in strategy design and balancing growth, financial sustainability, and impact. He is a firm believer that all organisations should contribute positively to the communities that support them and works with a wide range of them to define and deliver on purpose.

He is a founding director of Ignition Brewery, a not-for-profit brewery that employs people with learning disabilities and showcases their talents in making great beer. Ignition is a sustainable business that pays the London Living Wage and is expanding nationally to further its core purpose of creating meaningful jobs for people with learning disabilities. More beer, more jobs.

Dr Devaki Bhatta – Non-Executive Director

Devaki is an experienced healthcare innovation professional with entrepreneurial leadership experience in Board-level positions within multidisciplinary SME environments, bridging the interface of industry, academia and government.

She is currently cofounder of a digital health start-up developing remote mobility monitoring solutions for healthy ageing and is passionate about digital transformation of health and social care to reduced entrenched health inequalities.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a member of the Institute of Engineering Technology’s Innovation and Emerging Technologies Policy panel and was formerly Senior Business Mentor on InnovateUK’s Women in Innovation programme. She has a 1st class honours BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London and a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge.

Diane Hayes – Membership Representative

Diane attends our board meetings on behalf of our membership.