Sunrise Senior Living UK and Gracewell Healthcare’s CEO Awarded MBE


Dr Natalie-Jane Macdonald has been awarded an MBE for services to Healthcare in the 2021 list of New Year’s Honours.

Natalie-Jane received the prestigious award in recognition of her successful 30-year career and for effectively leading Sunrise and Gracewell’s 46 care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the start of the pandemic, Natalie-Jane demonstrated her outstanding healthcare management skills by closing each of the organisation’s care homes in advance of official government guidelines. She also established a COVID-19 Task Force which drew on talent within the business from across various departments.

Through this Task Force, she implemented stringent Infection Prevention Control measures, which were in part influenced by her own medical background having worked in acute medicine and in clinical research at Glasgow University. Combined, Natalie-Jane’s leadership and proactive decision making protected the health and wellbeing of both residents and team members at Sunrise and Gracewell care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Honours Committee also sought to recognise how Natalie-Jane prioritised the emotional wellbeing of family members of residents. By introducing regular and transparent updates for relatives, she provided invaluable reassurances to family members regarding the safety of their loved ones and of the efforts the organisation was making to ensure their continued wellbeing. Internally, Natalie-Jane established frequent cross-department calls and was available at all times to provide outstanding support and leadership to colleagues across the business.  

Over Natalie-Jane’s esteemed 30-year career in the healthcare sector, she has provided an unparalleled commitment to the safety and prosperity of her colleagues and those she is responsible for. As a result of this, she has developed an enviable reputation as a competent, compassionate and highly effective leader within the sector.

As well as holding the position of UK CEO for Sunrise and Gracewell, Natalie-Jane is also Chairman of Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity and she became a Non-Executive Director at Riverstone Living in July 2020. She has also previously held non-executive roles at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and the Private Health Information Network.

Speaking of her MBE award, Natalie-Jane said:

“It is truly humbling to have received this prestigious award. Throughout my career I have approached all aspects of my work with professionalism, compassion and abiding dedication and it is wonderful to have now received this special recognition.

“With the support of fantastic colleagues, I am proud that Sunrise and Gracewell has met the immense challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, our efforts have ensured residents across all Sunrise and Gracewell care homes received the highest possible level of care, always placing their wellbeing and priorities at the heart of everything we do.”

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