7 May 2021 – NHS Non-Executive Directors webinar

07 May 2021

This week’s session opened in conversation with special guest Mary Elford, Chair of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust.

Mary said: “The approach I take is a ‘rights’ space approach. The opening line of the NHS constitution is that the NHS belongs to the people and it is very clear within this about the rights for the people to be involved, not just to be consulted on services but planning and shaping them. It’s very important to us as boards that we’re very clear on the rights that those we serve have and ensure they’re exercised. It is so fundamental to the board to gain assurance that this is being supported and getting focus.

“We’re at a pivotal point coming out of COVID. We’re resetting our services and we have opportunities for transformation. This could be a golden moment to really work with our patients and communities to tackle how we’re going to recover. We also have a brilliant opportunity with our ICSs to work much more collaboratively with communities and answer some of the issues that people with lived experience have been troubled with for decades. It could also however go the other way as people are so busy and we need to address waiting lists and other immediate issues. There is a risk with ICSs that unless we take ownership as boards around people participation that it becomes an extra on the side rather than part of the DNA of this new world.”

Also overheard during this week’s webinar:

“We are doing a whole-trust piece of work to understand how to be customer facing and how to shape and deliver our services to match customer needs. This is going to take many months and will be a big investment for us but it’s fundamental in knowing better how to use patient and community involvement beyond that which we currently do.”

“Lived experience is a real eye opener to where some of the issues and gaps lie. We have a real opportunity to do the right thing and make change and this needs to look at understanding the wider determinants of health – for example housing, place, community – and bring continuity and consistency and accessibility. Education settings are also so important.”

“Bringing lived experience to the board can be an uncomfortable ride and should come with all due support. Appreciating, for example, as a mental health trust, how poorly understood trauma informed care is, can be a deeply discomforting experience. Being a ‘lone perspective’ can be quite lonely especially when you realise the lack of knowledge and awareness amongst your colleagues.”

These meetings are by invitation and are open to all NHS non-executives directors, chairs and associate non-executive directors of NHS providers. Others may attend by special invitation. For further details, visit our website https://www.good-governance.org.uk/events/.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about these webinars, please contact: events@good-governance.org.uk