Following my retirement after 45 years working in the NHS it was felt that those years of experience and knowledge should not be wasted. I contacted the Patient Association and was delighted to hear that they were forming an ‘Eyes and Ears’ group. This meant that members of that group could work at local level, listening to patients and carers on their views of treatment they received, or did not, in many cases. Acting as an Ambassador for the Patient Association will enable me to identify local needs in the health and social sectors and to communicate with voluntary and community organisations with regard to gaps in provider services. The aim is to develop a ‘Focus Group’ involving many like- minded people who feel strongly and passionately about the care that patients receive.
Working together will strengthen our presence to promote the aims, objectives and membership requirements to other voluntary, community and statutory organisations.
There have been many changes in the NHS over the past 25 years and the present government are re-iterating the ethos of putting patients at the centre of their care. The latest Conservative government manifesto states that patients will have more choice and will be able to choose where they have their treatment and care. What about the elderly, the frail, and the housebound who do not know how to access this information? These are the people I feel passionately about and through my role for the Patient Association I intend to reach that vulnerable population. To be able to listen to their views and act as an advocate to represent them and assist in making their own decisions on the care they receive is paramount.
In my role as Ambassador for the Patient Association I have attended meetings in other parts of the country; attended NHS Primary Care Trust Board meetings; attended a Patient Association conference where the Health Minister, Andrew Lansley was presenting the Manifesto changes; held promotional stands locally – and intend to do more in hospitals; promoted the Patients Association locally to develop a ‘Focus Group’; spoken with GPs and other health care professionals.
Much of my work now is voluntary, looking after the elderly at Luncheon Clubs and as a Health Care Assistant. I continue to hear some saddening stories from those people who have not been treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We now live in the 21st Century and with the growth of an aging population changes need to be made to provide a caring and dedicated environment for that group of people.
There is much work still to be done, and whilst progress is slower than anticipated I will continue to work for the cause with the support of the Patient Association.