Meet our Patient Council
Chair of Patient Council
I was born and grew up in Torpoint, Cornwall. I have lived in Tavistock, London and Plymouth. Now retired, I worked in both teaching and IT. My hobbies include gardening, DIY, reading and IT.
Having been a cancer patient myself I became involved with the Cancer Services Partnership Group for several years – as a way of supporting the work of the Hospital, and have noticed many improvements during this time.
Now in my third year on the Patient Council, I have been involved in many projects, including:
Revising the strategy and forward plan for the Patient Council
Patient –Led Assessment of Care Environment (PLACE) assessments (looking at ward facilities from the patient/carer view),
NAAF assessments (looking at nursing provision)
Input to the hospital website
Development of a ‘Youth Council’
Participation in Quality Improvement initiatives
I look forward to involvement with new initiatives as they evolve and am pleased to note that the norm is to involve Patients whenever possible in the planning of new developments.
My motivation for joining the Patient Council stems from noting that the NHS generally and Plymouth Hospitals in particular have recognised the usefulness of patient input into many areas of hospital administration and policy. Having worked with the Cancer Partnership Group and Sarcoma Support, I want to build on these initiatives. It is also a way of responding to the excellent care I have received from University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust over more than a decade.
My interests are:
Supporting Trust staff
Use of IT/digital technologies to support patents and clinicians
It’s difficult to describe what I get out of being a Patient Council member. I enjoy the team spirit and positive attitude, getting to know staff (at all levels), patients and carers. I am grateful that we are accepted as ‘critical friends’ and listened to. It’s just good to feel we make a difference.
Vice Chair of Patient Council
I was born in Plymouth and have always worked in the city. I am a retired Solicitor and have worked in both public and private legal sectors. My legal career started in Plymouth City Council legal department and in 1985 I moved to what is now the Crown Prosecution Service prosecuting in the Plymouth courts. Wanting a change in direction in 1999 I moved to Wolferstans Solicitors where I became a Partner in 2002 and headed up the Residential Conveyancing Department until my retirement in 2017.
From 2011 – 2017 I sat on the Conveyancing and Land Law Committee at the Law Society in London and was elected to the NHBC Council as the Law Society’s representative.
Locally, I have been involved with Plymouth Law Society for several years and was their President in 2017.
I volunteer at Derriford Hospital in the Discharge Lounge and sit on a number of committees at UHP, and I’m also involved in a number of projects with the Trust. I sit on these committees and projects as a lay person ensuring the voice of the patient is heard.
As a member of the Patient Council, I hope to help ensure that the inpatient experience is the best it can be and that where improvements or adjustments are required that they can be implemented reasonably quickly.
I am married with two adult children. I love reading, gardening, the theatre, and walking.
I am a Carer for my daughter who has profound and multiple learning disabilities and physical disabilities, subsequently we have had many admissions to Derriford Hospital and have experienced a range of standards of care and communication, some being excellent and some very poor. The Learning Disability Liaison Team have been very supportive and informative during admissions to hospital. I shared my story with the Patient Experience Committee and Trust Board, and from this I was asked if I would consider joining the Patient Council, I thought this would be a great platform to be able to help Carers and people with learning disabilities who use the hospital.
Through this life experience I have learnt a lot over the years and have gained vast experiences as a Carer for someone with many health needs.
I started working for the Care Quality Commission in 2018 as an Expert by Experience and do inspections mainly of Adult Residential Homes for people with severe learning disabilities/challenging behaviour and also Domiciliary Care Providers. This is where I can use my experience and try to make a difference for people with a range of needs where necessary.
I joined the Patient Council in 2018, and want to be a voice and represent the needs of Carers and people with learning disabilities who use the hospital, also for the people who live in East Cornwall, as they make up a third of all patients through the doors of Derriford Hospital.
Being part of the Patient Council enables me to gain a better understanding of how the hospital runs and be able to contribute to discussions and seek to improve the quality of care given to patients and carers.
I want to promote understanding and awareness of people with learning disabilities and carers to all staff who work in the hospital from the bottom to the top and also their awareness of what is contained in the Carer’s Policy including what Carers are entitled to whilst they are in hospital in the caring role, thus enabling them to be supported and promoting their own health and wellbeing. Hopefully this will improve the treatment and support they receive.
I have been involved with the hospital for the last 10 years. My late husband had a heart problem and was admitted to Derriford Hospital. He was an inpatient for twelve weeks , and sadly passed away on Torcross Ward. I became a Hospital Volunteer, due the care and compassion shown to my husband during this time I felt I wanted to give something back.
I joined the Emergency Department as a volunteer once a week. I assit patients with shopping, sit and chat and hopefully leave them with a smile on their faces.
I am also a member of the Royal Voluntary Service and take the library trolley out to the hospital wards.
I serve on several committees and if anyone requires a volunteer I am available to help.
I worked for 40 years as a Catering Manager which helped me when I became involved with the various catering committees within Derriford Hospital.
I have participated in the Patient – Led Assessment of Care Enviroment (PLACE), Nursing Assurance Framework Assessments, been involved in the Making Every Experience Excellent Campaign and also supported The Survey Team when required.
I attend the Trust Board Meetings to keep myself up to date with hospital information. Through my experiences within the hospital feel I am a good representive for patients on the Patient Council.
My interests are:
Carers (I am one)
Reading (which is helpful when attending wards with the library trolley)
Listening (I do this all of the time)
I do help where ever I can in the hospital to give good feedback to improve standards of care and experience for patients.
James S Griffiths BSc PhD CEng CGeol FIMMM FGS PFHEA
Emeritus Professor of Engineering Geology, University of Plymouth
Having been born during the early years of the NHS I have seen the benefits to society of a ‘national’ health service. Irrespective of their wealth or background people in the UK have access to top quality health care. Having travelled extensively (see profile) I know what it is like to have to pay for healthcare or have your credit card checked before receiving treatment. Like many I can thank the NHS for my life. Although I do not have the skills to treat patients, I wish to do anything I can to support the NHS mission of a free health service for all. Joining the Patients Council will enable me to use my management experience to help maintain or even improve the service that Derriford Hospital can provide to their patients.
After completing my PhD research at King’s College, London, in early 1979, I worked for the next 15 years in the civil engineering industry as an engineering geologist. This involved me in projects throughout the UK, as well as in Pakistan, Syria, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Liberia, Chile, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Australia and the USA. A change of career in late 1993 took me to the University of Plymouth initially as a lecturer but I soon took over as the Head of Geology, then the Head of the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science. In my final two years at the university I was the Dean of Research & Innovation, and a member of the senior executive team. Whilst at the university I continued to work as a consultant and was involved in projects in Georgia, Algeria and Hong Kong, as well as undertaking lecture tours in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
I ‘semi- retired’ in June 2015 but continue working as a consultant, most recently in Northern Ireland, and have often been a guest or keynote lecturer at companies, conferences and universities. I am a trustee and member of the Council of the Geological Society of London, a trustee and member of the Committee of the League of Friends of Derriford Hospital as well as a volunteer in their bookshop. In addition, I continue to publish, and I am the co-author or editor of eight books and nearly 100 scientific papers.
I am married to Sarah, who volunteers for the Patient Services Team and the League of Friends. We spend our leisure time working in the garden, hiking on Dartmoor, taking opportunities to spend time with our 6 grandchildren, and travelling (having visited 75 countries together and counting).
I was born and brought up in Carshalton Surrey. I have a twin sister, two older brothers and a sister.
I attended Raynes Park High School. As a member of the Boy’s Brigade I was involved in community work, enjoyed camping outings and played for the football team.
My first job was as a forklift driver in a warehouse.
On my seventeenth birthday I was invited to go on holiday with friends. This was to be my first holiday without my parents. On arrival at the holiday camp we decided to go out to a local club. We did not have a car but had met a couple of lads who did; they offered us a lift into town. There were five in the car and unfortunately we were involved in a road traffic accident. Sadly the driver and front passenger died at the scene. My friend and the other passenger were injured but were allowed to go home after a couple of days. Unfortunately I sustained life changing injuries. I was transferred to West Norwich Hospital for eight weeks and then transferred to St Helier Hospital, Carshalton for a further eleven months. It has been 43 years since the accident and I still attend appointments at Derriford Hospital to this day.
I am married to Mary who was a nurse on my ward in 1977 we have been married for forty-one years. We have two children which surprised me as I was told that I might not father children due to the accident. We moved from London to Plymouth in 1987 where I was employed as a bus driver for the Western National Bus/Coach Company. My wife is still nursing; she is a staff nurse working within a specialist dementia unit.
After the accident I was unable to play football anymore so decided to take up running. I have run in half marathons all over the country. My best time was one hour and twelve minutes. This was part of my coping mechanism as I still had to attend hospital appointments. Sadly due to my ailments I am now retired. I also make wooden boats, big warships with all rigging which can take me up to two to three years to complete.
My son is a surfer. My Daughter has just become a professional netball coach; she coaches several teams across Plymouth, mainly Plymouth University.
I became a volunteer after becoming interested when I attended an appointment at Derriford Hospital where the Trust was holding a Volunteers Day Event within the main concourse of the hospital. After gaining further information on how to become a volunteer, I applied and I am now proud to be able to say that I have been volunteering for three years. I am based on Meldon Ward on Thursdays and Saturdays. I assist patients, carers and staff.
My goal is to help people and now I am pleased to be selected to serve on the Patient Council which I am looking forward to.