NHS Trusts launch new voluntary role to boost patient involvement
The patient leader programme is a new volunteer initiative, where volunteers will work as consultants with Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust on quality improvement projects.
The patient leaders will use their personal experiences to help staff from the 3 NHS Trusts change and improve services.
Kate Atkinson, service user consultant with Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust explains:
“We’re looking for people from all walks of life to help us shape and change our services, so they better meet the needs of the people who use them.”
“We’ll support and train everyone who volunteers to be a patient leader and pay out of pocket expenses. In return we ask they volunteer for 2 years – although the amount of time each patient leader offers each week or month is up to them.”
“You don’t need any special skills to become a patient leader, just an interest in NHS services and a desire to make them better.”
The Trusts hope the patient leader role will also benefit the volunteers by providing them with an opportunity to increase their confidence, gain work experience, and learn new skills alongside making a real difference to patient care.
Kim O’Keeffe, director of nursing and allied health professionals at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust said, “I’m delighted that as part of volunteer week 2021 we’re launching this exciting new voluntary role. We already know the positive impact our volunteers have and I’m excited to see our volunteering opportunities expand through the patient leader programme.”
“Often as clinicians, we can have set ideas about what’s best for our patients and the opportunity for us to work alongside a team of patient leader volunteers will help us consider different perspectives when planning our services.”
Anyone interested in becoming a patient leader should telephone 01208 834 620 or email email@example.com for more information.