Become an NHS foundation trust governor
13 June, 2019
• FOUNDATION trusts were started in 2004 by the Labour government with the aim of making the National Health Service more democratic and involving the community.
People are encouraged to become members of the foundation trust which costs you nothing, but you are emailed about events in the trust and can get NHS discounts. Members elect the governors. See: https://www.wwl.nhs.uk/Library/Foundation_Trust/Foundation_Trust_Guide.pdf
Camden and Islington is a foundation mental health trust serving the people of Camden and Islington who each elect five governors of the 26-strong governing body.
As well as public governors there are four staff governors, six service user governors and five appointed governors, one from the local university, one from each council and one from the voluntary sector in each borough.
These unpaid volunteers have several important functions, they appoint the non-executive directors including the chair, and hold them to account and have to approve significant transactions.
The nominations for two vacant seats in each borough opens on Friday June 21 and closes a month later on July 18. Last time we did not have enough people standing in Camden so we have had a vacant seat.
You nominate yourself and provide a statement of why you want to stand. Then the members of the trust vote and the new governors will be declared on Friday September 6.
Fill in the form online at: https://secure.membra.co.uk/CANDIApplicationForm/ to become a member.
The governors’ council meets every three months and governors are also expected to join at least one of the working groups which also meet quarterly.
Three years ago the governors were given a grant to improve the lives of service users and we established a choir run by Key Changes, a charity which brings music into mental hospitals.
In May this year in Mental Health Awareness Week the trust and governors organised the first NHS choirs festival at Unison.
Some other projects we supported enabled the Islington women’s exercise class to continue for over two years after they lost their venue due to cuts to Islington Council; established gardens for wards on the St Pancras site; and supplied iPads to some of the inpatient wards.
This year, in addition to the choir, a dance class is starting and money has been given to the Nubian Users Forum to hold an event on black history including Windrush. They are the only black led service user group and have a band who will be playing at the event.
We have been closely involved in discussions about the development of the St Pancras site and ideally we would like at least one of the new governors to have some understanding of property development as the governor leading this working party is due to stand down in a year’s time.
I am in my third three-year term as a governor and have recently been elected as lead governor. I would encourage anyone interested in mental health to nominate themselves.
Being a governor is an interesting and rewarding role. Come and join us.
WENDY SAVAGE MBBCh FRCOG