Appointment of Non-Executive Members to the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing and Midwifery

Date published: 08 March 2023

The Department of Health has announced the appointment of eight Non-Executive Members to the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for Nursing & Midwifery (NIPEC).

DoH Public Appointments

The appointments of Dr Katrin Lehmann, Registrant Member; Dr Gary Mitchell, Registrant Member; Ms Sharon McRoberts, Registrant Member; Dr Nirmala Bhogal, Lay Member; and Mrs Ciara Scannell, Lay Member commenced on 1 February 2023 and will end on a date not later than 31 January 2027.  The appointments of Ms Eilidh McGregor, Registrant Member; Dr Janine Stockdale, Registrant Member; and Mx Amit Bhagwat, Lay Member commenced on 13 February 2023 and will end on a date not later than 12 February 2027.

The Non-Executive Member positions are not remunerated and require a time commitment of 20 days per year.

These appointments are made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

NIPEC supports the development of nurses and midwives by promoting high standards of practice, education and professional development as well as providing advice and guidance on best practice and matters relating to nursing and midwifery. The NIPEC Council comprises a Non-Executive Chair, a Chief Executive and not more than 14 Non-Executive Members appointed by the Department (60% registered nurses/midwives and 40% not registered).

Notes to editors: 

  1. Dr Katrin Lehmann is the Consultant Nurse CAMHS & Emotional Wellbeing in the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust with extensive experience working in child & adolescent mental health services as a clinician and team lead. She initially qualified as a paediatric nurse and gained further knowledge and experience in mental health. Katrin is a Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) registered clinical nurse specialist mental health and independent non-medical prescriber. She recently completed the Advanced Practice MSc in Mental Health across the Lifespan. Katrin is also an academic, completing a Public Health Agency NI funded clinical research study for her PhD in 2020. Katrin has published a number of papers in relation to autism and gender variance.
  2. Dr Gary Mitchell is a registered nurse and a senior lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's University Belfast (QUB).  He is passionate about nurse education and is the current year one lead for the undergraduate Professional Nursing (BSc) course Pathway Lead for the Specialist Practice in Older People's Nursing Programme at postgraduate level. Gary has significant clinical and academic expertise in the care of older people.  He presently chairs the Royal College of Nursing’s Older People Forum, a group that represents more than 12,000 nurses and support staff providing care to older people in the United Kingdom. Gary holds the title of QN (Queen's Nurse) and is an editorial board member with BMC Geriatrics, BMC Nursing and the Journal of Advanced Nursing. He is also a member of the NICE Clinical Guideline Committee for CG103: Delirium: Prevention, Diagnosis and Management.
  3. Ms Sharon McRoberts is passionate about nursing and is proud to have nursed for 43 years, within Northern Ireland Health & Social Care. Formerly Assistant Director of Nursing: Regulation, Workforce, Education, Learning and Development, South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust, retiring from the Trust in July 2022. Sharon has significant experience of leading and working at regional and national level, contributing to significant changes, through influencing, constructive challenge and has a proven track record of managing change, working in partnerships with stakeholders. Sharon completed her MBA in 2004, holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Health & Social Care in 2003, ILM Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring, 2011, also completing a range of leadership courses, the last in 2019, the Proteus Leadership Course.
  4. Dr Nirmala Bhogal has worked in business, scientific and regulatory roles since 2002. Nirmala established her own consultancy practice in 2007 that supports new business ventures and is currently a Director within a NI-based company. Prior to this, she has engaged with the European Commission and UK parliament, industry working groups and public bodies to advocate safer clinical trials and medicines, humane medical testing and education and training of scientists. She has considerable experience of collaborative working and strategic planning. Nirmala is looking forward to being part of the NIPEC council bringing her cross-sector experience to her role working with NIPEC and the Department of Health.
  5. Mrs Ciara Scannell is an experienced Chartered Certified Accountant and Financial professional who specialises in finance function effectiveness, with a focus on improvement and accurate financial reporting, risk and control, corporate governance and management information. Ciara has worked in a broad range of companies from private practice, dentistry, government to most recently financial services. In her over 17 years post qualification, Ciara has developed a deep strategic and operational understanding of finance functions. She has also developed a deep understanding of the functional capability of various accounting solutions with a view to providing accurate statutory financial and meaningful management information to support the business functions. Ciara is also currently a Trustee for the local charity PIPS NI.
  6. Mx Amit Bhagwat came to live in Britain in 2001. Working in new and evolving fields of technology, management & governance, Amit has looked at professions and professionalism from a Public Protection-Interest-Accountability-Value angle rather than from “professional protectionism/minimalism” standpoints. Amit has also served as a board member of the Professional Associations Research Network and overall brings cumulatively over 4 decades of board background, plus work leading public scrutiny efforts and scrutiny committees (e.g., audit). Amit currently holds one other public appointment as a Non-Executive Member on the board of the DAERA’s Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC). This position is unremunerated with a time commitment of 18 days per year.
  7. Dr Janine Stockdale is a Senior Lecturer and Lead Midwife for Education at Queen’s University Belfast. After completing her doctorate in 2007 (funded by the Research and Development Office NI), Janine continued to develop her unique expertise in motivational learning design. Since then, she has held different roles including that of the Research Fellow for the Royal College of Midwifery, Board Director of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, Simulation Lead for Midwifery and Academic Practice Lead for Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast. As well as being recently appointed the Lead Midwife for Education within the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Janine currently co-leads the Education and Practice Research Simulation Group. This has enabled her to drive forward her passion for technology-supported learning, including video-based and virtual reality education.
  8. Ms Eilidh McGregor is currently Paediatric Nurse Consultant at the Public Health Agency responsible for paediatric nursing across the Northern Ireland region. Eilidh brings with her a wealth of experience, working in several disciplines in both district general hospitals and tertiary centres.  Her main clinical background was in emergency care before moving into a managerial role, specialising in improving processes and systems to ensure high standards of care delivery at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Trust (GSTT). During the COVID pandemic, Eilidh resumed her nursing duties, taking up the Matron role in the Paediatric General Medical and HDU areas at GSTT. She is looking forward to bringing her diverse experience to the NIPEC Council and supporting the development of standards and best practice across the nursing and midwifery profession.
  9. Appointments to NIPEC are made with the approval of the Department of Health.
  10. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published.  All appointees have declared that they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years. 
  11. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by e-mail

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  13. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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