Nurse who leads the way in compassionate care receives OBE

'Humbled': Oliver Shanley.
'Humbled': Oliver Shanley.

A man who followed in the footsteps of his mother and other relatives to become a nurse has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours for services to mental health and learning disabilities nursing.

Professor Oliver Shanley is a qualified nurse and deputy chief executive of Hertfordshire Partnership University Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services in Dacorum.

Mr Shanley, who started working in mental health services in 1987 and qualified as a nurse in 1990, feels humbled to be honoured.

“On a personal level, I am both shocked and delighted,” he said. “But more importantly I hope this will help to further break down barriers and raise the profile for mental health and learning disabilities. Frequently they take a back seat to physical health, often due to the stigma that still surrounds mental health today.”

The trust runs a variety of services in Hemel Hempstead for children and adolescents through to older people.

These include the inpatient Logandene unit in Bennetts End for older people, an acute day treatment unit, a child and family clinic at Hemel Hempstead Hospital’s Verulam Wing and a wellbeing service.

In October 2015, the Nursing Times named Mr Shanley as one of the year’s most inspirational nursing leaders across the UK and, in his capacity as quality and safety lead for the trust, he helped the organisation achieve a ‘good’ rating in its recent Care Quality Commission inspection.

Mr Shanley, who in 2014 was appointed as a visiting professor to the University of Hertfordshire, said: “I am very proud to be a nurse, having come from a long line of nurses in my family. It has to be said that any ability I have is down to the wonderful people that have supported me throughout my career, both family and colleagues across the NHS. The people I am privileged to work with are exceptional individuals who work tirelessly to support and care for the people we serve.”

He has carried out ground-breaking work in determining safer staffing standards in learning disability services by leading the National Safe Staffing in Learning Disability Nursing group.

Trust chief executive Tom Cahill said: “I am delighted for Oliver.

“This is an award he thoroughly deserves.

“To maintain his enthusiasm and passion for mental health and learning disability services after nearly 30 years is fantastic. He leads by example, motivating staff to provide compassionate care of the highest standard.”