About Us

Kids’ Health Matters CIC was founded in 2008 by Katie Barnes along with Diane Scott as a way to bring together the innovative professionals working in new roles and new ways to deliver care for children.  These, of course, were the first Advanced Paediatric Nurse Practitioners or as we like to call them ‘APNPs’.  Over the years we have supported APNPs as they develop their role and their skills within the UK National Health Service.

APNPs still hold a special place in our heart, but the KHM family and mission has certainly grown.  We are now leading the education and training for advanced clinical practice in paediatrics, neonates, and midwifery, collaborating in the development of UK child health policy and contributing to service redesign and improved models of children’s health care across the UK.  Meet our incredible team leading this work below.

We are proud to be a community interest company (CIC).  A CIC is a special type of non-profit company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders.  Every day we strive to better the advanced practice community in order to make the world a healthier place for our children.

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Our Beliefs and Values Underpin Everything We Do


Laugh - A - Lot

it's infectious and also helps soften the bumps and bruises of innovation and challenge

"Get your beliefs right and everything else will follow."
Katie Barnes
KHM Founder

Keep Going

while you may not be there (yet), chances are you are closer than you were yesterday


Everybody Counts

'a person is a person, no matter how small' (Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who)


Be Kind

the smallest act of kindness is more valuable than the grandest of intentions; apply liberally and often


Be Brave

nothing worth having comes easy; outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens

Meet the Team

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Our Founder

 Katie Barnes is an advanced paediatric nurse practitioner (APNP) originally from the USA, with over 25 years of experience, nationally and internationally, across the NHS, academia and health care policy circles. She has a track record of innovation, children’s service redesign, advanced practice education and paediatric clinical practice excellence. 

Her passion for the improvement of health care for children and young people through advanced practice education, advocacy and new model’s of health care delivery led her to create KHM.  

Katie edited the first paediatric advanced practice text in the UK and developed the first (exclusively) paediatric MSc advanced practice programme.  Her service re-design projects are often at the forefront of innovation and excellence – in 2013 her team won Clinical Team of the Year (Children) at the General Practice Awards and they were also a finalist for two additional Health Services Journal (HSJ) awards.

Her work in developing and implementing paediatric advanced practice in the UK earned her a place as a finalist in the 2012 Nurse of the Year Awards and then in 2014 she was honoured by the Columbia University School of Nursing Alumni Association with their Award for a Distinguished Career in Nursing Education, Practice and Health Care Policy.

She is currently building a paediatric advanced practice workforce in the Northwest and working with Health Education England to develop the curriculum that will underpin these new roles .  Her clinical practice as an APNP is based in the Emergency Department at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust.

Katie does all this while holding down the fort in her Liverpool home where she lives with husband, three children and lively Patterdale terrier. 

The Team

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Cheryl Clarke is the lead of our Acute Paediatric route for Advanced Paediatric Practitioners.  She started paediatric nursing back in 1996 as a member of the first Project 2000 cohort in the North East of England.  From Teesside to Liverpool, she has worked in acute, high dependency and intensive care environments and always kept clinical education at the forefront.  In 2005 she joined LJMU to deliver the Paediatric High Dependency module and it was there she met Katie.  She earned her MSc in Nursing and a PG Cert in Higher Education and in 2009 began teaching on the LJMU APNP MSc.  She was part of that programme for four years before returning to full time clinical work as an APNP in Alder Hey’s high dependency unit.

She couldn’t have been happier to join the KHM team in 2017 to lead the MSc acute paediatric route.  She loves sharing her knowledge and skills in the classroom and clinical setting and hopes to pass on her passion for the role.  Between clincal shifts and teaching sessions, Cheryl loves to take her children to visit the lovely Welsh sheep and cows that live next door.

Sue O’Neill is a Neonatal Nurse Consultant and lead of our Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (ANNP) route. She started her nursing career in Paediatrics but quickly found her passion for neonatal nursing and has been working at Liverpool Women’s Hospital since 1995. She qualified as an ANNP from Southhampton University in 2001 and has loved working as an ANNP on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit since then. Over the last 17 years she has seen many changes in advanced practice and she counts herself lucky to be surrounded by a team of great, likeminded people who value the contribution ANNPs make to this extremely vulnerable population and their families. Sue was appointed to the role of neonatal nurse consultant in 2016 and she now leads a team of 20 ANNPs.

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She has been involved in ANNP training throughout her career and was thrilled to be part of the KHM team delivering the ANNP course, which is a first of its kind. She is immensely proud of what the team has achieved so far and will continue to achieve in the years ahead building a very bright future in advanced practice in neonatal and paediatric care.

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Andrew Loughlin is an experienced Paediatric Nurse with a background in acute and ambulatory paediatrics. For the last 7 years he has been working as an Advanced Practitioner within a District General paediatric team. He joined the KHM crew in 2018 to use all that experience with the team on the Ambulatory Paediatric Route.

Sarah Williams is an American Registered Nurse who moved to Liverpool in 2015, joined the KHM team and has never looked back! She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she received a BSc (Hons) in Nursing and Spanish. Over the years she has worked as a research assistant in a biomolecular laboratory, Lieutenant Junior Grade Officer in the United States Public Health Service, and staff nurse in a spinal cord injury centre. When she’s not out in the park with her husband, daughter, and dog, you’ll find her with a laptop in hand leading our digital education and strategy!

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Joel Gytenbeek left his home in Canada to travel the world on a bicycle and ended up settling in Liverpool in 2014. He comes from a technical background in television broadcasting, graduating from British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2006 and then working in national live studio news as a graphics operator. Since then he has worked and travelled extensively including bicycling from Vancouver to Guatemala, hitch-hiking from Guatemala to the Canadian Arctic and walking with a donkey across Morocco. Between travels he has worked in many positions including real estate photographer, administrative assistant at a botanical garden, yurt manufacturing, food service and AV technician at Liverpool John Moores University.

Alan Gillies was Professor of Information Management at UCLAN from 1994 to 2010, where he developed pioneering online programmes at FdSc, BSc and MSc level for NHS professionals, which were accredited by the NHS and adopted as models for pan European curriculum development projects. These days he enjoys a portfolio career with roles as Honorary Professor of Information Management and Managing Director at AGLC Ltd, as well as Doctor Honoris Causa University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.


Before joining the Kids Health Matters team, Rachael Gillies spent several years at the University of Exeter. Having graduated with a BA Theology, she was elected as President of the Students’ Guild where she fulfilled her life long dream of meeting David Tennant. Never one to turn down a challenge, Rachael has spent time in the USA and Brazil volunteering with children and has also set up a shop and social enterprise focused upon improving body image among young people. Now our resident creative guru, Rachael is also a freelance illustrator, or professional doodler. She is a shoe obsessed, proud Northerner and frequently fueled by coffee.