“First of all, governors are able to bring to the attention of the Trust concerns that worry the general public, patients and relatives. We highlight issues, suggest resolutions and work with the management to understand why the problem exists and to develop a better system.”
“It’s not perfect, but then, nothing will be perfect,” she adds.
“But I really do feel that we have made progress, in particular in the last three years. I have noticed that there is a much greater interaction between the Board and the governors. The Board are making us feel far more valued, and I feel that our voices are being heard.”
And just as the governors bring the voice of their constituents to the Trust, they also represent the Trust in their communities.
“As a governor you come to understand the workings of the Trust quite well. You benefit from learning how things work and can then put it in English, instead of ‘NHS speak’. We are then able to explain why problems occur.”
Taking part in selecting leaders
One of the governors’ duties is to take part in the recruitment of non-executive directors and senior managers; a task Maddy has found hugely valuable.
“When you meet somebody right from the start, you can pick up whether or not that person is going to be receptive to governors, and you’re able to win them over from day one,” she says.
“And it is extremely interesting to meet the variety of people who are coming in for the posts. I personally was involved in the recruitment of the current chairman and also the managing director of the Community Health. It’s a very, very interesting thing to do, and once that person is in the post, you just have a connection straight away.”
‘Loving every second of it!’
In June this year Maddy’s second term as a public governor for Oxford Health will come to an end, and sadly, she has decided not to run for another term. Not that she is tired of the NHS or public service! For decades her life has been permeated by service in the community and the NHS. She even met her husband John when fundraising for defibrillators in Witney!
“My private life is full of the NHS and I’m loving every second of it,” Maddy says.
“But I’ve just got so much on my plate. It’s time that somebody else came in with fresh ideas and a new approach. I know the other governors who are local to me or who are in my section and I can keep up to date. I will not lose touch with Oxford Health and I will remain a noisy member,” she promises.
Inspiration to others
So, to inspire others, what has Maddy most enjoyed as a governor?
“All the people I’ve met,” she replies without hesitation.
“And the sense of fulfilment, when something that you, the governors as a whole, have worked for and it actually comes to fruition.
“For instance, I feel that we governors we facilitated a really good relationship with some of the other NHS trusts in the district. We realised that certain problems are shared between the trusts, but they weren’t getting together to sort them. It’s been a great achievement to get them to sit around the table together.”
“And seeing the new non-executive directors bring energy and experience to the Board; knowing that the people we selected are the right people for the job. There are good days ahead with them in post.”
No two ways about it
And any advice for those who are thinking of running for role?
“I think, as a governor you need to be gregarious and friendly. And you need to be not afraid of being challenged. Once people know that you’re a governor, they will come to you with all their concerns and ideas. You’ve got to maintain a balanced perspective and make sure that you do your best to resolve an issue or to take an idea forward.
“And you will be making a difference – there are no two ways about it. You’ll make a difference because you are part of the governors’ team.”
Your chance to become a governor this spring
Nominations to election to Oxford Health’s Council of Governors will open on Monday, February 28.
In order to take part, sign up as a member now. It is FREE and enables you to vote as well as stand as a candidate. Sign up here
See also Candidate’s FAQ
We are sorry you did not find this page helpful
Tell us how we can improve this page
Published: 18 February 2022