I originally applied to become a Community Ambassador for North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG because I enjoy engaging with the public and I am able to continue to use my experience of representing the views of patients within the NHS.
I have been an advisor with the Aldershot Citizens Advice Bureau for 32 years and so I feel that I have a good understanding of the needs and problems of the local population. If necessary I would like to be able to bring some of their concerns to the notice of those who organise local healthcare.
I have also been involved in patient representation within the NHS for the last 23 years or so. Firstly as the Chairman of the West Surrey and North East Hampshire Community Health Council and then as a member of its successors, the Patient and Public Involvement Forum and then Links, a local networking health group. My involvement with these groups meant that I have been involved with all types of healthcare but I have a special interest in mental health and with the organisation of Frimley Park Hospital. On a personal note I have been involved with helping to set up the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity that was started at the same time as my daughter, then aged 17, was receiving treatment for cancer.
As a Community Ambassador, I am currently a member of the Frimley South A&E Delivery Board which analyses in detail the monthly performance of the A&E Department at Frimley Park, system delays, bed availability, ambulance performances etc. and makes detailed plans to cope with seasonal pressures. I have also just joined the group at Farnham Hospital that is planning to set up an information and advice centre within the hospital. This project was successful in securing funding through North East Hampshire and Farnham's Innovation Conference - which was an idea of one of my fellow Community Ambassadors.
I heard about the role of community ambassadors and wondered if this was for me.
As it became clearer what the role involves I have become really proud to have signed up. It gives me opportunities to work alongside the Clinical Commissioning Group and their staff and partners. I am able to draw on a range of things I have in my own 'personal toolkit'. These include living locally, using local health and social care services, having a passionate commitment to involving patients and the public in managing their own health and working in partnership with those commissioning services so they can be designed and produced together.
I have a background in helping people adapt and change their behaviour to live what they see as a more satisfying and rewarding lives. So I am particularly interested in listening to what patients and the public and staff have to say.
I enjoy opportunities for creative thinking as well as valuing the importance of removing barriers to change. I am a clear thinker who loves to analyse. I also have a sense of humour and can be rather 'Ted Like' in my perseverance when chasing the ball or following an agenda!
At the moment I am involved with the Carers Action Group alongside other community ambassadors who have been or are carers themselves. I feel really privileged to join in the discussions as we consider the services that are available locally for carers. I was a carer for my parents for several years and know the feelings of loneliness and isolation you can experience. By taking part in this group I can draw on these feelings and use this experience.