When did you start volunteering for Healthwatch North Somerset and what is your role?
I started volunteering in November 2018 and currently I am Chair and convenor of the Patients Participant Group (PPG) Chairs group. During the COVID 19 pandemic naturally these meetings have had to be canceled but I have been able to adapt my role to ensure the PPG chairs still get to share information. I have collected the information from each chair that they would have raised at the meeting and we have collated all that information into a Newsletter that will be distrubted. Any feedback can then be circulated by email.
Patients Participation Group (PPG) is a group of patients and GP practice staff who meet regularly and work together to improve the quality of care and outcomes for patients. The chairs of each individual group then meet for the chairs meeting.
What inspired you to start volunteering for Healthwatch North Somerset?
Coming to the end of a volunteer period with Age UK I was looking for another interesting area in which I could be helpful and at the same time continue my personal interest in the public sector. I received some information on volunteering for Healthwatch North Somerset via my regular newspaper and decided to apply.
What do you enjoy about being a Healthwatch North Somerset volunteer?
The salaried staff are a joy to work for. Efficient without being officious. This has enabled me to do as much or as little as I can manage at any one time. This is important to me as I am also a school governor and under normal circumstances I would be giving quite an amount of time to that role also.
I enjoy the contact with people and managing processes and developing ideas or, more accurately, supporting people in this process. I guess this is the area I feel more comfortable and staff have been very astute in guiding my strengths and skills in this direction. The group I chair come together six times a year so it is important to get the best support and meeting preparation as we can to ensure they are interested and find the meetings worthwhile.
I am not an expert on health matters and I am still very aware that the people who sit around the table have far more experience and expertise than I. However, being able to contribute in 'oiling the wheels' of the information flow and sharing of ideas and views is something I feel to which I can contribute.
Do you have a favourite moment from volunteering?
When I look back on a meeting and reflect that well over 90% of the business has taken place with minimal intervention from me! Also, I recall one Chair coming up to me after a recent meeting and commenting "You're enjoying this aren't you?" And yes I was!
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering for Healthwatch North Somerset?
I would say do it - if you believe in the NHS and want to work alongside very dedicated people!
Interested in volunteering?
We are always interested in hearing from anyone who feels they could volunteer a bit of their time. Please get in touch today to discuss your areas of interest and the varied roles we have available. Either use the link below or call 07517 426 694