NHS in Leeds celebrates the women behind the Covid-19 vaccination programme for International Women’s Day 2022  

To mark International Women’s Day tomorrow (Tuesday 8 March 2022), the NHS in Leeds is celebrating some of the incredible women playing a key role in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Since the rollout of covid vaccinations began, more than 1.6 million vaccinations have been administered across Leeds to help protect residents in the fight against Covid-19.

Sam Prince, Dawn Bailey, Emma Williams, Sarah Forbes, Penny McSorley and Dawn Regan are six inspiring women who have been integral to the running of the programme in Leeds, with the support of their wider teams and colleagues.

Sam Prince, Senior Responsible Officer for the vaccination programme in Leeds, said: “As the lead for the vaccination programme, it is my role to manage, oversee and facilitate the roll out of Covid-19 vaccinations across all of our different communities to ensure everyone is offered the chance to be vaccinated.

“For me, International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the remarkable contributions and achievements women have and continue to make to society. I feel a huge sense of gratitude to work alongside such brilliant motivational women in the NHS and the wider health and care sector who inspire me every day.”

Dawn Bailey, Chief Officer for Public Health at Leeds City Council, said: “I provide leadership to the Leeds Covid vaccine programme, working with communities to ensure that we do not leave anyone behind. It is with immense pride that I work as part of #TeamLeeds to do all we can to increase accessibility, convenience and confidence for all communities in Leeds, particularly for those people where services are not as accessible.

“International Women’s Day is a day that reminds me of all that women have achieved together, acknowledging and honouring the importance of women and the contributions that we make each day to society. I am reminded of the inspirational women in my life, my mother, my daughter and my wonderful work colleagues. I am also reminded of the immense struggles of many women across the globe, thinking particularly today of those brave and strong women in Ukraine.

“I will continue to play my part in working towards a world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality.”

Emma Williams is one of the Lead Nurses of the vaccination programme in Leeds and has been a part of the programme since the early days of opening the vaccination site at Elland Road. Emma’s background is as part of the Leeds Schools Immunisation Programme and her commitment and dedication to the role is often commented on.

Dr Sarah Forbes, GP and Associate Medical Director at NHS Leeds CCG, said: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the NHS has faced significant pressures and challenges. Whilst caring for patients with Covid-19, health and care staff have also worked tirelessly to ensure patients have had continued access to high quality care across GP practices, hospitals and other healthcare settings.

“In my role within the vaccination programme, I have helped to deliver vaccines from the surgery including during weekend clinics to help ensure we are protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day and reflect on the past two years, I feel proud and privileged to work alongside strong inspiring women in leadership across the Leeds health and care system.”

Penny McSorley, Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Leeds CCG and Director of Nursing for the Covid 19 Vaccination service, said: “My role in the vaccination programme is to ensure that we deliver the best quality care and experience for people when they visit for vaccination. This means making sure that vaccination services are safe, clean, well-staffed and offering adjustments for people that need it. We have always tried to ensure that we put people and the populations we serve at the heart of what we do. With our motto of ‘leaving no one behind’, all partners are working together to ensure that the vaccine is taken into the communities in most need.

“I helped set up the original hospital hub for vaccines at the Thackray Medical Museum and since then we have opened a Community Mass Vaccination Centre at Elland Road, community vaccination satellite hubs in the city, developed a roving vaccination bus service, taken pop up vaccination offers all over the city and worked closely with Primary Care Networks and community pharmacists.

“I am very proud of what we have achieved with the programme. I work with many amazing nurses and strong female leaders who support each other and make me proud to be a woman in healthcare on this International Women’s Day.”

Dawn Regan, Nurse Manager for the Leeds Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “I joined the Leeds Covid-19 vaccination team as a Nurse Manager on International Women’s Day last year where my role was to manage and lead mass vaccinations for residents of Leeds from two of our main sites. A year on, I have supported with the development of satellite hubs, pop-up vaccination sites and taking the vaccine out to the people of Leeds to ensure nobody is left behind.

“My role continues to evolve and the programme has provided me with opportunities in areas that ordinarily as a nurse I would not have thought possible.

“I feel fortunate in that I have had strong female role models in my life, none more so than my incredibly supportive mum and as a mother of three wonderful daughters myself, it is also very important to me to continue to be positive, courageous and hopefully inspire them along with other women generally.”


Notes for editors

Biography for Sam Prince – Senior Responsible Officer for the vaccination programme in Leeds:

After a short stint in the private sector, Sam started her NHS career in 1989 in Harrogate and worked in community, mental health and learning disability services.

She moved to Leeds in 1994 and has worked in a variety of operational, planning and business development roles. Sam was Managing Director of NHS Leeds Community Healthcare from July 2009 to April 2011 when she led the organisation’s transition to NHS Trust status.

Sam is passionate about making local services more accountable to local people, with significant experience of involving service users, carers and the public in developing and delivering services. Sam is committed to the delivery of cost effective, preventative and responsive community services in Leeds.

Biography and image for Dawn Bailey  – Chief Officer for Public Health, Leeds City Council:
Dawn Bailey is a Chief Officer in Public Health with a passion for reducing health inequalities. An experienced public health specialist and registered general nurse, Dawn has worked across a wide range of public health and clinical roles in the NHS and Local Authority over the past 30 years. With system leadership and partnership working as a core skill, Dawn has led a wide range of public health programmes, most recently providing public health leadership to the Covid response in Leeds.

Biography for Emma Williams  – Lead Nurse, Covid-19 vaccination clinics:
Emma Williams is one of the Lead Nurses on the vaccination programme in Leeds and has been a part of the programme since the early days of opening the vaccination site at Elland Road. Emma’s background is as part of the Leeds Schools Immunisation Programme and her commitment and dedication to the role is often commented on.

Biography for Dr Sarah Forbes – GP and Associate Medical Director at NHS Leeds CCG:
Dr Sarah Forbes grew up in Leeds before moving to Newcastle to study medicine. After graduating, she decided to return to her roots and has been a GP at Oakwood Lane Medical Practice for the past 10 years. Sarah is passionate about reducing health inequalities and improving quality of care.

Sarah joined the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in 2013 as Clinical Lead for Cancer, aiming to improve access to prompt diagnosis and treatment, whilst raising awareness of screening and early cancer symptoms. In 2018, she started as Associate Medical Director and took on a wider portfolio. Sarah is passionate about bringing people together from across the Leeds health and care system to get the best quality of care for the people of Leeds.

Sarah is currently Acting Medical Director of NHS Leeds CCG. She is particularly interested in ensuring there is strong clinical leadership across the Leeds system. She developed a scheme called ‘Take a Colleague to Work’ which enables clinicians to walk in each other’s shoes and understand a wider part of the system. Sarah is also interested in coaching and mentoring other clinical leaders.

Biography for Penny McSorley – Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Leeds CCG and Director of Nursing for the Covid 19 Vaccination service:
Penny McSorley is an experienced nurse leader and has worked in a variety of roles since she qualified as nurse in Leeds in 1994. She is currently the Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Leeds CCG but also provides support to the Covid 19 vaccination programme in Leeds as Director of Nursing.

She has previously held roles within Leeds Teaching Hospitals including Head of Nursing roles in Abdominal Medicine and Surgery, and Trauma and Related services. In her current role she is responsible for assurance on the quality of commissioned services across Leeds, including acute hospital services, community, mental health, primary care, private providers and nursing homes. Her role is varied and sees her working with many providers, local authority colleagues, third sector and regulators to ensure that quality services are being delivered to people in Leeds. Penny is passionate about nursing leadership and building strong professional voices, which evidence has shown can improve the quality of care and deliver better outcomes for people.

Penny has a Masters in Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care and has recently completed the Nye Bevan Executive leadership programme at the NHS Leadership Academy. Penny is a busy mum to two teenagers and step mum to two others. She lives in Leeds and enjoys football, exercising and singing in a local choir.

Biography and image for Dawn Regan – Nurse Manager for the Leeds Covid-19 vaccination programme:
Dawn Regan is currently a Nurse Manager for the Leeds Covid-19 vaccination programme. Dawn has worked in nursing for nearly 25 years and her background is predominantly in short stay elective surgery, with a special interest in women’s services and Gynaecology. Dawn along with other colleagues worked along the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust Adult Critical Care during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020/early 2021.