Welcoming Debbie McGugan, our new Northern Ireland Board Chair

27 Nov 2023

Debbie McGugan is the new Chair of the BDA’s Northern Ireland Board. We wanted to congratulate Debbie and find out more about her and her plans for the role.

Debbie graduated from the University of Ulster as a dietitian in 2000. She commenced her dietetic career in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, England, before returning home to Northern Ireland to take up post in Whiteabbey Hospital, Northern Health and Social Services Trust (NHSCT).

She has held various dietetic positions within Health and Social Care NI, but her interests and majority of HSC dietetic experience has occurred within the community setting. Early in her career, Debbie had the opportunity to work within specialist multi-professional teams and develop HSC dietetic roles within newly funded positions. In 2003, Debbie also began working part-time as a freelance dietitian and has continued to work in private practice over the past 20 years. This has added valuable breadth to her dietetic practice. Debbie currently works in community rehab, providing specialist care or older people within NHSCT.

Debbie is enthusiastic about quality improvement and remains passionate about multidisciplinary working. In June 2023, she graduated from the Institute for Health’s Basic Certificate in Quality and Safety, as part of the Health Trusts Safety Quality North programme.

Debbie volunteered as treasurer of the BDA NI Branch early in her career, which she views as a valuable experience. She has four children and in 2023 felt it was the right time to start volunteering again. She initially joined the NI BDA Board committee in February 2023. This insight into the Board’s work led to her move to chairperson, where she hopes her experiences, combined with her energy and enthusiasm, will help her to contribute positively to the work of the Board.

During her term of office, Debbie will work collaboratively with her board committee colleagues and would like to influence the following:

  1. Along with our NI Branch committee, promoting and encouraging a more visible representation of our NI members on BDA group committees, with a particular focus on getting greater involvement from support staff members.
  2. Parity of pay and terms and conditions for our Northern Irish workforce.
  3. Debbie is also keen to make 2024 the year of ‘celebrating our NI members’!

We look forward to seeing the work of the NI Board progress.



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