Meet the Assist RA
Steering committee


Assist RA is informed by a steering committee of expert rheumatology specialist nurses and complemented by a consultant Rheumatologist and uniquely, an RA patient. They have worked together to develop an individualised and accessible training initiative to empower all specialist nurses working with people with RA. The patient is at the heart of everything we do.  

Rachel Ochiel
Lead Research Nurse 

Rachel has led the Rheumatology clinical trials unit at the Royal Free Hospital since 2006 where she has overall responsibility for all research work conducted in the department. Her role allows her to ensure that patients continue to receive high quality care while they participate in trials. 

Lynda Bailey
Lead Rheumatology Nurse 

Lynda leads a team of Rheumatology nurses including Clinical Nurse Specialists and the nursing workforce within the Rheumatology day case unit and outpatient setting. Her interests lie in RA Targeted Therapies with a passion for patient experience, a core component of the Assist RA programme. 

Deborah Bond
Rheumatology Nurse Manager

Debbie Bond is a Rheumatology Nurse Manager and Biologics Lead at the Royal United Hospitals Bath with experience and publications in the treatment and management of patients with Rheumatology 

Katy Pieris
Affiliate patient

Katy is a RA patient and affiliate member of our ASSIST RA steering committee. She volunteers for NRAS and has had an active role in supporting fellow patients during the pandemic this year. Listen to her story in our first ‘Joint discussions in RA’ podcast: Discussions with a patient

Barbara Douglas     
Clinical Nurse Manager    

With more than 27 years rheumatology experience, Barbara's role as a Clinical Nurse Manager and Advanced Nurse Practitioner allows her to support strategic planning of rheumatology from a nursing perspective to equip nurses with the necessary skills and confidence to work with the MDT to ensure that patients are always at the heart of the decision-making process.     

Alison Kent
Rheumatology Specialist Nurse 

Both an experienced nurse and patient, Alison is passionate about the use of communication, health coaching, shared decision-making and goal setting - all of which are core components of the Assist RA programme.     

David Walker
Consultant Rheumatologist

David, an affiliate member of our ASSIST RA steering committtee, believes we need to optimise communication with our parents. His research interest lie in outcomes and education and has presented abstracts at the annual BSR meeting since 1983

Ruth Slack 
Senior Rheumatology nurse 

Ruth leads the rheumatology nursing team at West Suffolk Hospital. During her 25+ years of Rheumatology nursing, Ruth has chaired nurse educational meetings, spoken at national and international rheumatology events and chaired the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Rheumatology Forum from 2013-2015

Sandra Robinson
Senior Nurse Researcher 

Assist RA chair, Sandra, is passionate about the programme because it provides nurses with the opportunity to come together, share learnings and best practice and acquire the necessary skills and confidence to support gold-standard management of rheumatology patients

UK-RA-NA-202202-00009  | Date of preparation March 2023