I retired from the NHS in 2011 and became a volunteer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust) on the Patient and Carer Council, which involved talking to patients.
I have personal experience of various health issues, including:
- Learning difficulties
- End of life/bereavement care
- Elderly care.
I felt there was a need for the patient voice to be heard - a patient’s viewpoint is not necessarily a clinician’s - and so I became involved as a hospital governor, as well as vice-chair of Hall Green Health's Patient Patient Participation Group (PPG), a CCG strategic patient partner and as an associate of Solihull Patient Network. I am now patient co-chair of the Birmingham and Solihull PPG Forum.
As the patient co-chair, I help form a trusted link between the CCG and local patients, by working with colleagues at the CCG to design the agendas. The presentations which, are requested by the group, ensure that the Forum is truly patient-led.
I have regular meetings with Qulsom Fazil, Independent Member and co-chair of the Forum, to discuss local and national health topics for the meetings as well as up and coming items of interest.
Through these organisations I am invited to participate in a number of patient-related initiatives and am able to put forward a patient’s point of view. I think we need more patient involvement, and from a wider range of ages and diversity, in order to fully represent all patients in Birmingham and Solihull.