Why I became a Governor

Mary Lewis

Mary Lewis, Dartmouth

Following my retirement, I felt the need to continue to be involved in something worthwhile, where I could really make a difference. Having enjoyed a career in management in private healthcare and the legal sector, the opportunity to become a Governor of my local NHS Trust was very attractive to me. Importantly, I also felt that I had the time to commit to it.

Having submitted my personal resume and application to the Trust, I became a Governor in April 2016 for the South Hams region. I was given a thorough induction to the new role, through a ‘Governwell’ training day, which covered much of the information I initially needed to get me started.

During the first year, I admit I had a steep learning curve and had to learn a great deal about the Trust and the workings of the NHS in general. Most of us are aware funding for the NHS is under pressure, but as a Governor I have truly come to understand the difficult task the Executive Team and the hospital staff have in meeting quality and financial targets.

The Trust became an Integrated Care Organisation in October 2015 and introduced their new model of care. To do this, several public consultation meetings were held by the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (with Trust representatives present). As a Governor I attended many of those meetings representing my locality, to ensure the views of the South Hams residents were represented and had a voice in the discussions.

We obtain our constituent’s views by attending local Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) at local GP surgeries (held every 2-3 months), constituency meetings (four per year) and also through general discussions.

These views are then expressed to the Board of Directors through Council of Governors’ meetings and Board-to-Council meetings. Although Governors are not required to attend all Board meetings, the monthly update on operational and strategic matters kept me informed about the progress of the Trust.

So as you can see my first two years as a Foundation Trust Governor have been busy, informative and very enjoyable. However and not at least of all, I have made new friends and felt part of a team again.

Would I recommend it? Definitely.

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