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. I was also on the Law Commission panel which investigated and reported on transfer fees payable in the home buying process for properties for the elderly. I was involved in the development of many forms used nationally in the conveyancing process and assisted the Treasury in formulating the conveyancing requirements of the Help to Buy Scheme.
Locally, I have been involved with Plymouth Law Society for several years and was the President in 2017.
I volunteer at Derriford Hospital and visit the adult wards carrying out patient surveys. This gives me the opportunity to meet a varied cross-section of patients and it’s interesting to get the patients’ perspective of the various aspects of their stay in the hospital. It’s been heart-warming to hear the vast majority of patients confirm they’ve received wonderful care and treatment at Derriford and that all the staff work in difficult circumstances and still provide an exceptional level of care.
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 spend my free time looking after my young grandson and trying to keep fit. 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.
I was brought up in the Derbyshire and regularly came down to Cornwall to stay with my Grand-parents who lived in Rilla Mill – so my love for Cornwall was created.
I studied for a science degree at Newcastle on Tyne and eventually obtained work in the Information Department at Wellcome Foundation. I moved on to Oxford Polytechnic as a Science Librarian and after a short period of time obtained a similar role at Plymouth Polytechnic – at the time one of the leading Science polytechnics in the UK.
I retired from the University of Plymouth as a manager of the Library in 2010. This provided me the time to sort out the house and garden but also enabled me to continue Tai Chi and develop skills in drawing, enjoy music and books (although I don’t sing or play) and generally relax!
My reasons for joining the Patient Council
When I retired, it was at the time of the Health and Social Care Act and the massive changes that were being planned. I suggested that a public meeting be organised by the local GP surgery in St Germans, which went ahead and as such I was asked to join the Quay Lane Surgery PPG ( Patient Participation Group) – so started my involvement with the local NHS.
I was elected Chair of the East Cornwall Locality meeting of PPGs and undertook this role for 4 years before becoming a member of the Citizens Advisory Panel of NHS Kernow’s STP – “Shaping our future” and becoming the Vice-chair. This meeting has been involved with comments and assisting NHS Kernow/CCG with the communication and engagement policy.
Because East Cornwall’s close proximity to Plymouth the majority of patients who require Emergency and Secondary care will look towards Derriford Hospital for support rather than Royal Cornwall Hospital at Truro. In my NHS work it was clear that communications between the NHS in Cornwall and those in Plymouth and Devon could be much better. It was for this reason that I was able to be appointed to the Patient Council at Derriford Hospital and as such ensure that the voice of patients living in East Cornwall could be heard.
As an extra aspect, I am also a lay member with the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Plymouth which allow me to comment and participate in the development of the course and training of student nurses.
My Key Areas of Interest
The patient Council is a “critical friend” ensuring that we actively review issues and provide supportive criticisms and comments.
The Discharge process.
This has been an ongoing issue ever since I joined the Patient Council. The hospital has now created a Discharge Development Group( of which I am a member) that will be review all the discharge procedures to ensure that patients, cares and their families are always involved in the patient discharge and that GPs and Social Care are always involved and provided with up-to-date information concerning patient care.
Developing a close link with an area of the hospital – in my case Medical Assessment Unit/Acute Assessment Unit to develop an understanding of the role of the wards, the staff, together with their issues and the concerns.
Exploring ways whereby groups not represented on the Patients Council can comment on their own experiences of the hospital and what health and social care services they would want provided in their communities.
No. 3 will require close working between GPs in Plymouth, Devon and also Cornwall.
What I get out of being a member of Patient Council
The current Patient Council members are a very informed and committed group and it is a pleasure to work with them.
There is commitment on the part of the Hospital Management for the Patient Council to work. It is important to note that Patient Council does not exist in all Hospitals.
It is important to experience how both Primary and Secondary Care operate as it is essential to the patient for this to work seamlessly – even across two different health organisations!
Getting to know the nursing and other staff and understanding the roles they play and the stresses and strains that they suffer in delivering a safe and effective service for patients.
Being aware of the lack of resources across the NHS I am in complete awe of the commitment that all staff show to developing the best health services that they can with the limited resources they have available.
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.