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 six-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 Hopkins

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

Commercial, Business & Operations Director

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.

Ina Farrelly

Director: Centre of Excellence and Innovation & Lead: Gait and Biomechanics

Ina began working with the Accelerate team (then part of Tower Hamlets PCT) in 1998 whilst both she and the team were part of the NHS. Ina’s specialism is biomechanics. Before formally joining Accelerate CIC in 2015, she worked in the NHS, developing a biomechanics team and a footwear service. She trained as a podiatrist in her native New Zealand and after working in a multidisciplinary sports clinic treating athletes, children and high risk patients in the two regional hospitals, she worked in Singapore and Hong Kong. Here she was part of the original group of podiatrists who worked with the Department of Health to establish national standards for the podiatry profession. Ina particularly enjoys being involved in innovating care for individuals with biomechanical issues affecting their wounds.

Caitriona O’Neill

Director: Community Hub & Clinical Lead: 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: Education & Research &
Clinical Lead: 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.