Dr Hasanen Al-Taiar: A man of many hats – and it’s all to support patients, public and colleagues

Oxford Health’s staff governor and consultant forensic psychiatrist keen to empower patients and address inequalities

Dr Hasanen Al-Taiar: A man of many hats – and it’s all to support patients, public and colleagues

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Hasanen Al-Taiar has been a governor for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust since May 2019, elected by staff in the Trust’s Specialised Services directorate.

“It has been a good, enriching experience both personally and professionally. I’ve had the opportunity to observe Board meetings and learn more about the Trust,” he says.

In addition to his Oxford Health roles as a doctor and governor, Hasanen has several other positions that are aligned with his interests. He is the divisional vice chair for the South East for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, an Associate Oxford University Medical Education Fellow and the Secretary of the British Arab Psychiatric Association (BAPA) as well as International Medical Graduate tutor. How does he fit it all in?

“It’s true I’ve got many hats!” he laughs.

“It’s one of the things I do in order to be resilient and to learn more about how the NHS works and to improve my leadership style. The aim of it all is to be able to support patients and public,” he says.

He particularly values the opportunity to work with other governors who bring in the patients and public’s voice.

“We work for our patients. This is a priority to me. I always want to empower my patients and convey their feedback, whether it is positive or negative. If it is positive, then well done everyone, but if it is negative, it is something we can learn from and prevent issues in the future.”

Since November 2020 Hasanen has been working at the Evenlode medium secure inpatient service which supports adult men with learning disabilities.

“I’m now doing more work with people with intellectual disability and autism. As a result, I’ve been working with my fellow governors to see how we can better empower this vulnerable group of people and address health inequalities also in the community,” he says.

He is also keen to promote equal opportunities for staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and has been encouraging colleagues to put themselves forward for leadership roles.

No upsets

Initially Hasanen wondered how he might reconcile the roles of a governor and an employee of the Trust.

“I was concerned if I said something contentious, I’d upset someone. But in fact, I haven’t noticed that. I have been able to have frank and open conversations with the Trust leaders and other governors.”

Banenr for past health matters event on Student experience in the pandemic

Hasanen spoke with his fellow governors in the Health Matters event in October 2020 and is keen to continue with more public engagement events.

One of the highlights of his term so far has been the Health Matters event in October 2020 when he and fellow governors Hannah-Louise Toomey and Mary Malone addressed student experience in the pandemic.


“It was widely acknowledged and well attended, and we got good feedback on how we addressed the challenges for student placements and mental health. I definitely want to continue with events like this,” Hasanen says.

And would he recommend the role of the governor to others?

“Absolutely!” he says. “I have been promoting the governor’s role in my professional and personal circles and I know that a friend in London was following my lead and applying!”

See all our governors and what inspires them

Will you stand? Banner for Oxford Health Council of Governors elections 2021

Nominations for Oxford Health’s Council of Governors elections 2021 open on March 25. We have 18 vacancies across the counties for patients, carers, members of the public and staff.


Constituency Class Seats
Patient Service Users Buckinghamshire and other counties 3
Patient Service Users Oxfordshire 4
Patient Carers 2
Public Buckinghamshire 3
Public Oxfordshire 1
Public Rest of England & Wales 1
Staff Buckinghamshire Mental Health Services 1
Staff Corporate Services 1
Staff Oxfordshire, Banes, Swindon & Wiltshire Mental Health Services 1
Staff Specialised Services 1

As a governor you will be able:

  • Have a say in how your local mental health and community health services are developed
  • Shape the future of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Help ensure that the NHS meets the needs of your community

You will also meet like-minded people who share your passion for the NHS.  And being a governor is an opportunity to learn, grow and pursue causes close to your heart.

How do I take part?

Only members can stand as a candidate or vote in the governor election so share this opportunity and invite your friends, family and colleagues to become members. In order to vote in this year’s election you must join by April 13.

Membership is free and anyone at least 12 years old, living in England and Wales, is welcome to join. You have no obligations as a member but can get involved in many different ways.

Please note that members of Oxford Health staff are automatically members of the Trust unless you withdraw your membership.

We’ll be having election events for people interested in becoming a governor, and as a member you will get the invitations straight to your inbox.

Sign up here.

If you have any questions or would like an informal chat about the governor role, please email us at FT.MembershipCommunity@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk.

Read here how you can prepare for your nomination now

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Published: 8 March 2021