2018 Conference Speakers


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Meet some of the confirmed conference speakers. Learn more about each speaker by clicking on their photo.

  • Paul Burstow
    Paul Burstow
    President of the Telecare Services Association, Former Minister of State for Care Service

    The Telecare Services Association (TSA) is the industry body for technology enabled care (TEC) services, representing over 350 organisations including health and social care commissioners, digital health businesses, telecare and telehealth providers, housing associations, emergency services, academics, charities and government bodies.

  • Ray James CBE
    Ray James CBE
    National Director, Learning Disability. NHS England.

    Ray brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from a career in local government to his new role leading NHS England’s work to transform care for people with a learning disability and their families/carers.

    He has served as Executive Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care at Enfield Council for over a decade and is a Past President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). Ray was awarded a CBE for services to Adult Social Care in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

    His Local Government career began in 1984 as a Scale 1 Clerical Officer and after working in three other London boroughs he joined Enfield in 1991 where he was appointed as Director in 2006 .  Enfield is a multi-award winning North London Council, its growing reputation for adult social care reflected in national recognition in respect of safeguarding, independent living, community involvement and transition amongst other issues.  Ray has always championed the insight and expertise of people with lived experience and their families.  He has consistently sought greater recognition for the front line care and support workforce.

    He has held a number of roles within ADASS including Chair of the London Region, National Lead for the Regions and President. His background in Commissioning has led to extensive work on national policy issues in this area.

    Ray was born and raised in the East End of London, his family and Irish Ancestry are very important to him. Ray’s studies have included dual professional qualifications and a Masters in Leadership.

  • David McDonald
    David McDonald
    Campaigner for Disabled People in Society

    David is a disabled person and a campaigner for the inclusion of disabled people in our society.

    For a quarter of a century, since been disabled and his days with Rights Now, he has been instrumental in changing disabled people’s lives for the better, working with politicians, professionals and other people, disabled and non-disabled alike, and he continues to do so.

    Currently, David is Chairperson of The Omnibus Partnership, a grassroots organisation, established by, managed by and consisting of disabled people, who work together for the betterment of all disabled people. In addition, he is Chairperson of Northern Ireland’s Independent Living Fund Stakeholders’ Group and the Financial Director of the Department for Infrastructure’s Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee.

    A qualified and experienced educator, both in disability awareness and equality and in bioethics, he has delivered training in the former to occupational therapy students at the University of Ulster and local Trust occupational therapy practitioners.

    David as a disabled person for half his adult lifetime has used powered wheelchairs and a range of other aids and adaptations, including a range of environmental control systems and voice activated technologies. Together, they play their significant part in enabling David to participate in and contribute to our society and our world; and to live his life.

  • Sam Sly
    Sam Sly
    Regulation, Health and Social Care consultant, Enough is Enough Time4Change and Director of I'm Out of Here Ltd

    Sam  is a registered social worker with over 25 years of extensive experience working as a field worker, commissioner, regulator and support provider.

    She was part of the Change Team seconded in to transform services in Cornwall UK, after a big NHS scandal, and led on the closure of NHS campus provision in Bournemouth.

    Sam has an MSc in the regulation of health & social care. Sam has provided consultancy for In Control, NHS England, National Development Team for inclusion, numerous Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authorities and support providers nationally. She has been employed as a regulator for the Care Quality Commission, as well as working as a social worker, a support provider owner at Beyond Limits in Plymouth, and in commissioning.

    Sam has extensive knowledge and skills in the provision of Life Planning, and provision of community based services for people who others have labelled 'challenging'. Sam joined with Nic Crosby to set up a campaign called #IAMchallengingbehaviour in 2017.

  • Dr Brian Hoare
    Dr Brian Hoare
    Occupational Therapist, Director & Principal Teacher, CP Teaching

    Dr Brian Hoare has been a clinical occupational therapist at Monash Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia for over 18 years. He completed a PhD in 2010 at La Trobe University and undertook an invited post-doctoral fellowship at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden in 2011. Dr Hoare continues to work in an occupational therapy clinical leadership role at Monash Children’s Hospital, Melbourne and in private practice. He holds Senior Research Fellowship positions within the Department of Pediatrics, Monash University and the Department of Community and Clinical Allied Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne. In 2017, Dr Hoare was awarded a Career Development Grant by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.


    Dr Hoare’s contribution to the field of cerebral palsy research provides evidence of high quality, translational research. His PhD program included two Cochrane systematic reviews and a randomised controlled trial. His current research focus includes understanding the influence of cognition on bimanual performance, identifying the key ingredients of evidence-based upper limb therapy, and the effect of wrist hand orthoses for children with cerebral palsy. Since 2012, Dr Hoare has provided 50 instructional courses to over 900 clinicians across 8 countries. The aim of these courses, along with development of the CPtoys™ mobile application, is to facilitate implementation of research findings into clinical service provision for children with cerebral palsy.

  • Dr Duncan Pentland, D Health Soc Sci, MSc OT
    Dr Duncan Pentland, D Health Soc Sci, MSc OT
    RCOT Research and Development Board Vice-Chair; Lecturer, Division of Occupational and Arts Therapies, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

    Duncan is a Lecturer at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. After retraining as an occupational therapist  Duncan worked in stroke and orthopaedics before completing his  doctorate with the thesis ‘Realising evidence based practice: a systemic investigation of core knowledge processes in mental health.’ He currently teaches across all levels of occupational therapy education with special focuses on critical decision making, and the development and evaluation of occupational therapy practice. His research and practice development work focuses on people living with neurological conditions, primarily developing methods and capacity to improve and evaluate the outcomes of complex interventions. Duncan is also interested in the value of data science for contemporary practice.

  • Dr Nick Pollard
    Dr Nick Pollard
    Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Sheffield Hallam University

    Nick Pollard teaches occupational therapy students at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He is team leader and research coordinator for occupational therapy, and deputy research theme lead for long term conditions. Most of his teaching concerns social contexts for occupational therapy and community based interventions; he is on the placement team and also teaches research methods and interprofessional modules.

    His MA explored internal migration and mental health; his MSc explored occupations in creative writing groups, and his PhD the political implied in occupational therapy. He has written and presented extensively on community based rehabilitation and on critical explorations of occupational therapy.

  • Chris Pointon
    Chris Pointon
    Co-founder of the #Hellomynameis campaign

    Chris Pointon is a healthcare campaigner and husband of Kate Granger, the geriatrician, author and NHS patient who sadly passed away in July 2016 due to a rare form of incurable cancer. Kate led the “Hello my name is…” campaign, which drew on her own encounters as a patient following the time in August 2013 she was admitted to hospital and she noticed that many of the staff looking after her didn’t introduce themselves before delivering care. Encouraged by Chris to “stop whinging and do something” after discussing it with him, she did exactly this, and ended up becoming the face of a compassionate care campaign that changed the world.

Conference debate speakers

  • Dora O’Loan
    Dora O’Loan

    Dora O’Loan

    Dora is RCOT Northern Ireland Board Chairman.  She works in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust as Head Of Service for Primary Mental Health Services, which includes Addictions services, Mental Health Services, Well Mind Hubs, CBT and Trauma Services and Condition Management Programmes.

  • Jenny Preston
    Jenny Preston

    Dr Jenny Preston MBE, PhD, BSc (Hons), DipCOT,  Consultant Occupational Therapist and Clinical Lead Neurological Rehabilitation

    Jenny Preston is an occupational therapist with more than 30 years clinical experience in the field of neurological rehabilitation.  Jenny is currently Clinical Lead for Neurological Rehabilitation in NHS Ayrshire & Arran with key responsibilities for the strategic leadership of the service.  This includes creating a vision incorporating patients, carers and service providers to develop and evaluate person-centred models of care.  Jenny’s practice is firmly rooted within a biopsychosocial model recognising the wider aspects of neurological disability and appreciative of the challenges from a holistic perspective.  Jenny is current Chair of the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section Neurological Practice and author and editor of “Occupational Therapy and Neurological Conditions” (2016).  Jenny is a clinical academic with publications related to aspects of management of neurological disability.  Jenny was appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours List for services to the occupational therapy profession and neurological rehabilitation.

  • Professor Diane L Cox
    Professor Diane L Cox

    Professor Diane L Cox PhD, MSc, Dip COT, CertLTHE, FRCOT

    Diane role at the University of Cumbria is to coordinate the strategic development of research and scholarship across the university, and manage the administration and quality of the post graduate research student experience. She has been working at the University of Cumbria (formerly St. Martin’s College) since 2000. She is currently involved in a NIHR Programme grant project “SCENE: Improving quality of life and health outcomes of patients with psychosis through a new structured intervention for expanding social networks” RP-PG-0615-10004 with Queen Mary’s London – 1st April 2017 to 1st September 2022. She currently oversees four PhD students who are occupational therapists. In January 2014 she was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, the highest honour the Royal College can bestow on one of its professional members. In June 2017 she delivered the Dr Elizabeth Casson Memorial Lecture at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference.

  • Dr Anne Johnson
    Dr Anne Johnson

    Dr Anne Johnson, PhD, MA, Dip COT, RNMH, FETC, AFHEA

    Anne is Consultant Occupational Therapist and Joint Clinical Lead of the Bath Centre for Fatigue Services.  She is also a Macmillan Professional and a Senior Lecturer at UWE. Anne specialises in long term conditions management with a particular interest in fatigue - in terms of CFS/ME and cancer related fatigue.