Meet our research team


Dr Christine English

Chair and Member of Board of Trustees

Dr Christine English is Chair of the Board of Trustees with a special interest in research. Christine is currently an Associate Lecturer at Northumbria University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her main research interests are child and family perspectives on care and quality improvement in care.

As a leader and innovator in the field of children, young people and family nursing, she has held senior positions across the North East within clinical practice, education and research. Her last full time role was as Subject Head, Nursing, Midwifery and Health at Northumbria University. Previous roles have included: Director of Student Engagement/Experience; Faculty Director of Outreach/ Widening Participation; Programme Director; Senior Matron (Child and Teenage Oncology Service); Ward Sister, Staff Nurse.

Christine continues to publish, network and collaborate within children, young people and family nursing. She has a keen interest in improving care through research and education and is co-author of Paediatric musculoskeletal matters, a website for nurses which has been endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing.

She is also a founder and Executive Committee member of the International Family Nursing Association (IFNA UK & Ireland Chapter). IFNA is a global network of nurses who promote family nursing through research, education and practice. Christine is currently taking a lead role in growing the chapter's membership.


Dr Felicity Dewhurst

Honorary Consultant and Academic Clinical Lecturer

Felicity Dewhurst is an Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Oswald’s Hospice and an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer in the Population Health Sciences Institute at Newcastle University.

Felicity’s research interests include promoting equity in palliative care particularly in relation to frailty, multimorbidity, non-malignant disease and ethnic minority groups. She is passionate about trying to improve care through education and service modification.

Her postgraduate qualifications include an original research MD and a Masters’ in Health Professions Education. She has received research grants from NIHR, the Dunhill Foundation and the Royal College of Physicians, and research prizes from both Marie Curie and the British Geriatric Society. Felicity has previously been a Co-Chair of North East Palliative Registrars Research Alliance (NEPRRA) and is now a supporting consultant.


Simon Gordon

Director of Strategy and Development

Simon has a successful history of service delivery and development across complex health care organisations spanning three decades. He became Director of Strategy & Development at the hospice in 2016.

Simon is also the joint project lead for the Northern Palliative Care Partnership, Vice Chair of the Northern Palliative Care Research Group and is the strategic lead for Hospices North East.

Previously, Simon has been chief executive of a visual impairment charity, director of a healthcare consultancy and a senior projects manager of a national healthcare charity. He has co-written service specifications which have been adapted as best practice with both the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners and Nursing, whilst also developing both primary and secondary care strategies for clinical commissioning groups and acute trusts across England.


Laura Barrett

Bereavement Support Worker - Digital Developments

In September 2020, Laura took on a brand new role at the Hospice as Bereavement Support Worker with a focus on Digital Developments. Laura has worked at St Oswald’s Hospice since 2017 when she joined the organisation as a Senior Fundraiser and would now, in her own words, “find it hard to leave”.

Laura delivers our Grief, Loss and Bereavement training programme to organisations to help them manage bereavement in the workplace and support staff back to work following a death. Her role involves developing and overseeing partnerships with other charities and businesses with a focus on improving access to bereavement support, best practice and suicide prevention.

Laura also provides one to one bereavement support and is a training facilitator for Hospice UK, delivering training sessions for the Compassionate Employers training programme.