Ron Newall tells us about why he volunteers for Healthwatch Bucks.
I recently went to the Outpatients Department at Amersham Hospital, as part of an “Enter and View” project. These projects are being led by manager Helen Smith, and cover the three main hospitals in Bucks. Other members of our team were Janice Campbell and Liz Baker.
We spoke to patients before and after their appointments, to get their views of their experience. This provides us with much more valuable input than asking patients to complete a formal survey. It also makes them aware of Healthwatch Bucks and what we do.
As a member of the Healthwatch Bucks Advisory Panel, I am empowered to use my many years’ experience of patient and public involvement and as a former medical scientist. It’s also wonderful working with the other Panel members who have their own expertise in other areas of health and social care. Together, we help to choose suitable projects and then advise on them so they can reach their desired outcomes. We learn so much from each other and work with Healthwatch staff as a team.
I have been involved in projects looking at Pharmacy services in the community and in hospital. This made me more aware of issues with medicines affecting patients and carers. But also provided Healthwatch with valuable data to base our conclusions and recommendations on.
Just like other volunteers, I have represented Healthwatch Bucks on several committees and working groups. This includes committees running pharmacy services in both the community and in hospitals throughout Bucks, and my Local Area Forum (run by Bucks County Council).
I think we volunteers are lucky to be well looked after by Healthwatch Bucks. We have enjoyed an invitation for high-tea and a visit to a local open garden. And we have a Christmas party coming up!
I was lucky enough to have attended the service at Westminster Abbey in July to celebrate 70 years of the NHS. This was thanks to being nominated by Thalia to represent Healthwatch Bucks as a volunteer. I got to go into the Healthwatch England hat as one of only 10 allocated places. It was a special day.
I can thoroughly recommend becoming a volunteer, if you have the experience and the interest.
Will you join us?