Wendy Matthews, OBE, PhD, RN, RM, BSc (Hons)

Born in Rochford Essex and brought up in Hockley, I began my student nurse training at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge in 1981, as I wanted to work in an environment where I could help others and make a real difference.

After qualifying as a nurse, my passion for partnership working with patients took me into midwifery. I became a midwife, worked in various hospitals and in 1997 became the Director of Women and Children Services.

In 2012, I was appointed as the Director of Midwifery at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. This is one of the largest maternity units in the country delivering 10,000 babies annually. Within three years, my team had transformed the service, taking it from a being in special measures to a ‘Good’ rating with the Care Quality Commission. During this time, I also led a reconfiguration of the service’s community boundaries, working with commissioners and neighboring providers, opened a co-located midwifery birth centre and reconfigured inpatient maternity services onto one hospital site.

In 2015, I was approached to gain experience as the Interim Chief Nurse at the Trust and later appointed to Deputy Chief Nurse, a job I performed in addition to the position as Director of Midwifery and lead for patient experience and engagement. Part of the role included me leading on End of Life and improvements for palliative patients before and after death.

Passionate about excellent patient care and experience, I was awarded the Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholarship in April 2017. This provided me with the opportunity to experience internationally the power and impact of patient experience and outcomes.

Being appointed onto the London Clinical Senate gave me a voice in shaping health services across London. With the implementation of Local Maternity Systems (LMS), I became the co-chair of the East London LMS and Senior Responsible Office for maternity workstream in the Sustainable Transformation Partnership in East London.

I was awarded an OBE for services to nursing and midwifery at Buckingham Palace in May 2018, in recognition of my leadership in making huge improvements to the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust’s maternity department.

In 2018, I joined Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, Broomfield Hospital as the Director of Nursing providing expert leadership to nursing and midwifery. This gave me an opportunity to lead on improvements in patients experience; an area I feel so passionate about and to ensure that patients at their most vulnerable have a voice in their care and treatments.

I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London in recognition for my services to nursing and midwifery in 2019.

Being on the front line during the first wave of Covid-19 focused my attentions on the importance of the whole healthcare system working collegiately to make rapid improvements for staff and patients in such a period of uncertainty. This inspired me to move to a Regional role where I could make a difference across East of England and I was successful in being appointed the Director for Nursing and Chief Midwife for East of England in May 2020.

Having experience first-hand my father’s palliative care journey and eventual passing, I see the absolute necessity to continue to raise the profile of Havens Hospices to ensure that patients and their loved ones experience outstanding personal care. I hope my expertise will add meaningful value to the charity.