Kay Fawcett OBE

Kay Fawcett OBE receiving her honorary degree (HonDUniv)
Credit: Ede & Ravenscroft


Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, honoured guests and graduands, it gives me great pleasure to be presenting today Kay Fawcett OBE, for the award of Honorary Doctor of the University.

Kay has had a long and distinguished career in nursing in the Midlands. Qualifying through the Warwickshire School of Nursing in 1980, she has enjoyed a 37-year career in the NHS. She started in front-line nursing where her focus was on emergency care, and later moved into education and management. She held the role of Executive Director of Nursing at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust between 2005 and 2008, and then Executive Chief Nurse at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust until 2013. However, Kay is being honoured today as much for her career since leaving the NHS as for her contribution to it.

In 2013, Kay left her executive role in Birmingham and set up as an independent advisor. She has since pursued a portfolio career and made a major contribution to the transformation of the support worker workforce.

In 2014, Kay led the development of the Care Certificate for Health Education England. The Care Certificate was developed following the review of health and social care support workers by Baroness Camilla Cavendish in 2013. It is an identified set of standards that health and social care workers adhere to in their daily working life. The Care Certificate provides structured and consistent learning that ensures care workers have the same introductory skills, knowledge and behaviours to provide compassionate, safe, quality care and support. To achieve agreement across both health and social care sectors, prior to the current integration agenda, to establish what comprises fundamental care and to develop a programme which is robust and meaningful was really quite some achievement.

Kay then began work on the development of the apprenticeship standards for support workers and assistant practitioners. At a time when the apprenticeship agenda was poorly understood, engagement with employers was patchy and the need to develop consistency was being questioned, Kay made a significant contribution to this agenda. Kay worked with employers across the country (including in Derby) to gain agreement on the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected by staff for these roles. Again, this required a lot of tenacity and negotiation. The apprenticeship standards were finally agreed in 2015/16 and have since been used by the University in the development of our Assistant Practitioner Higher Apprenticeship programme.

Kay’s influence continued to be felt in healthcare as she moved into the trailblazer group of employers for the development of the nursing degree apprenticeship. Her experience with other trailblazers was invaluable in pushing this apprenticeship standard forward. Kay’s common sense and pragmatism managed to drive this development forward when it had previously faltered. We are delighted that the University now offers a Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship programme.

Kay was awarded an OBE in 2014 for her services to nursing. Her influence will long be felt by the University, employers and, most importantly, our students who are now able to access higher education in this sector. Kay has recently come full circle and returned to health care services in Derbyshire as non-executive director at Derbyshire Community Health Services.

Chancellor, in recognition of her achievements in the provision of Health & Social Care education and her impact on the healthcare workforce, we are delighted to award Kay Fawcett the honorary degree of Doctor of the University.

[November 2018]