Nicola is one of the Directors for Healthwatch Bucks. We wanted to find out what she does as a director, and what she enjoys about it.
How long have you been a Director for Healthwatch Bucks?
I have been a Director of Healthwatch Bucks since 2016. I was appointed to the Board through a panel interview process. As a Board member I attend quarterly Board meetings and contribute to the planning and strategy meetings. I also sit on the Risk and Governance Committee for HW Bucks.
What do Directors do for Healthwatch Bucks?
Being a Director of HW Bucks allows me to contribute to the strategy of the organisation. I ensure that it can focus on listening to the public’s views and shares them with those in power. All to make local health and adult social care services better.
With scarce resources, of both time and funding, I’m proud that the Healthwatch Bucks is able to do so much. But it is an ongoing challenge for the board to decide where to focus time and energy. I work with the CEO, the broader Healthwatch Bucks employees and volunteers) and the other members of the Board. Together, we listen to the issues being raised through the Voices that Healthwatch gathers and take note of other feedback from many different sources. We try to ensure that our work and reports are focused on our priorities in the health and social care sector.
As a portfolio non-executive director, I also attend many board meetings. However, the Healthwatch meetings are held in public, which is different to most other board meetings. Our accountability to the public in carrying out the duties for Healthwatch are very much on show. A joy of these meetings is that we are able to travel to all parts of the county and we hold the meetings in a different town each quarter. Recent meetings have been at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Wycombe Wanderers Stadium and Beaconsfield Town Hall. The public are welcome to attend and whilst we don’t get large crowds attending, we do get a number of people who are able to raise local health and social care issues with us. That again reminds us of what and where we should perhaps focus our efforts going forward.
What do you like about being a Director?
The Director role is unpaid, and at times it can be intensive – but certainly not always. As a Director, I do try to be available to the CEO as need and provide support and independent views as she strives to run the organisation. My rewards come from other areas. Such as working with Board members with such diverse and successful careers in health and social care behind them. They allow me to learn and be part of a united, collaborative team working towards a common goal.
I also enjoy putting my business skills to use to ensure every vulnerable person can be heard. The reports that Healthwatch Bucks produce often remind me of this effort. Whether they be the Dignity in Care reports on life in care homes, or the results of Enter and View reports into GP surgeries or hospital pharmacies. The Board decides on the focus of these reports though our annual strategy reviews. Their follow-up and the implementation of many suggestions is testament that what we do at Healthwatch Bucks is making a real difference to our community.
Published on 30 Oct, 2018 (updated 15 Jan, 2019)