David meeting Ben Thomas (DoH) in Skegness

Dec 1976 started at Fulbourn Hospital near Cambridge and in Jan 1977 started my training as a registered mental nurse.  The old fashioned way, hands on patient care and qualified in 1980

1982 promoted to Charge Nurse and moved in to the community as a Community Psychiatric Nurse in Richmond, Surrey.

1984 moved to Grimsby join small local Community Psychiatric Nurse team and started to develop interest and skills in addictions and standards of care.

1989 became Clinical Nurse Specialist  setting up the Grimsby Addictions Unit.  Gained qualification in drug and alcohol nursing.

1993 went to US to study on a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship with aim of bringing revolutionary rehabilitation programme back to UK, but in December 1994 was made redundant by John Major’s government in March 1995 went to the Falkland Islands to set up their community mental health services .

1997 returned to UK and did locums for 24 months.  1999 the locum in London became substantive post and I continued development of Community Psychiatric Nursing services based in GP surgery.  Also started working with local police on training officers to recognise mental health issues.  During this period of my career I became Chair of the Royal College of Nursing Mental Health Practice Forum until 2006 and European Chair for three consecutive years.  Plus had a secondment to the Royal College of General Practitioners as the National Nurse Lead for their drugs programme.

2005 moved to Skegness as Clinical Lead and within 3 months was given managerial keys to Skegness Community Mental Health Team.

2012 finally retired from the NHS after 35 years.

Now providing independent clinical nursing advice.

Additional roles undertaken include:-

  • Northern Drug Services Child Care Group (working party Chair 1990-1991) (Secretary 1991-1995)
  • Member Health Advisory Service (1994-1995)
  • Member Royal College of General Practitioners NEAG (Drugs 2003-2005)
  • NMC Conduct and competency panelist (2000-2009)
  • Healthcare Commission Investigation Team Member – Chair (2004-2005)
  • Member of NICE GDG drug misuse detoxification (2006-2007)
  • Over saw a mental health nursing home (1984-1986)


  • Drug Misuse & Caring for Children 1991 (co-author)
  • The Role of the Nurse (co-author) in RCGP Guide to The Management of Substance Misuse in Primary Care.  (2005) (2013)

Areas of expertise include community mental health, standards of care, service development, addictions, personalised care.

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