Carol Kefford, former Clinical Director and Chief Nurse at Nuffield Health, and current Chief Nursing Executive at HCA Healthcare UK, has been awarded an OBE for services to nursing in The King’s New Year Honours List 2023.
An Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) is awarded to an individual for having a major national and local impact in their chosen area. In her OBE award, Carol’s nursing leadership achievements across the independent and military sectors have been highlighted. At Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, Carol was Clinical Director and Chief Nurse (2014-2021). Under her tenure, she achieved the following:
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, Carol led the clinical response of Nuffield Health’s network of hospitals across the UK who have treated over 500,000 NHS patients and provided staff, facilities, and equipment to NHS trusts across the UK. Her military experience of organisation was at the fore as Nuffield Health’s nursing and clinical teams learned new skills and experiences, working closely with NHS colleagues.
- She redefined Nuffield Health’s quality framework and its organisational understanding of evolving clinical excellence. Under her tenure as Clinical Director, Nuffield Health has introduced a range of training initiatives that have facilitated individual progression and achievement and supported Nuffield Health’s workforce goals. This activity in turn has contributed towards the broader workforce economy with increased numbers of skilled clinical workers (many of whom go on to leave and take up posts in the NHS, in the military or across the independent hospital sector).
- Carol introduced the ‘Confident Start’ programme in 2016. This preceptorship programme draws on a vast range of theory and skills to help individual’s develop clinical skills and confidence. It was deemed ‘good practice’ and successfully accredited by the Royal College of Nursing in 2018 and most recently was awarded ‘Preceptorship Programme of the Year’ by the Nursing Times Workforce Awards in both 2021 and 2020.
- Nuffield Health was the first independent hospital group with a hospital achieving an ‘outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Two more hospitals followed (making three in total) and to date, Nuffield Health is the only UK-wide independent hospital provider to have all hospitals rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by UK regulators*.
- Since joining HCA Healthcare UK, Carol has led a team of 10 Chief Nursing Officers, 1,700 nursing professionals and nearly 1,000 allied health professionals (AHPs) across HCA’s network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics. Carol leads HCA’s nursing and AHP strategy.
- During the first year of the pandemic, HCA Healthcare UK treated over 14,000 time-critical, complex NHS patients. HCA also made available over 800 beds, 38 theatres and 1,600 nurses and healthcare professionals to the NHS, as well as providing hundreds of pieces of vital equipment, including ventilators, anaesthetic machines and haemofiltration units to NHS partners to support their intensive care capacity.
Carol currently balances her executive role at HCA Healthcare UK (she joined in October 2021 from Nuffield Health) alongside her non-executive appointment in the Armed Forces where she serves as Colonel Commandant of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. She represents the Corps (around 4000 serving and veteran army nurses) at a senior level in the British Army. She was appointed in 2017 as a role model and because of her experience and continuing professional position in nursing. Her role includes mentoring senior nurses in the army, visiting military medical units, supporting army nurses and healthcare assistants stationed in the UK and internationally, and she is a Trustee of the Regimental charity, The QARANC Association.
Carol is a Florence Nightingale Foundation Senior Leadership Scholar and now follows her passion for developing future nurse leaders as a mentor for The Foundation and supporting the leadership team.
Carol said: “I am truly humbled to be awarded an OBE. I have loved being a nurse and nursing leader in the military, NHS and across the independent hospital sector. It was a particular pleasure to work so closely with our NHS colleagues throughout the pandemic. I’m lucky to have worked with so many talented nurses, clinicians and healthcare leaders who have guided, mentored and supported me so that I could give my best to our patients and the profession that has given me so much.”