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Patient Leader Person Specification

This page was last updated: June 30th, 2021

Patient Leader Programme


By 2022 patients will be actively involved in the planning and delivery of health services within Cornwall Foundation Trust, The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust. We believe that patients can be influential partners in driving, delivering and supporting change, by providing us with constructive challenge.

Volunteer patient leaders will be recruited to work alongside NHS staff and will be actively involved in the planning and review of services at all levels.

The programme will be manged by the Patient Experience Team at CFT in association with the teams at RCHT and UPHT. The Patient Experience Teams are responsible for collecting and reviewing patient and public feedback on services to ensure that services meet the needs of the local population.


Patient leaders will be offered training and support to understand the workings of local and national NHS organisations and will have the chance to work collaboratively with NHS staff to identify problems and to apply creative solutions.

Opportunities for collaboration include:

  • staff recruitment and training
  • reviewing existing services and the development of new services
  • creating and reviewing patient information
  • project work eg on health promotion, information technology, patient education, care planning

The role offers people the chance to build their confidence and gain work experience, learn new skills and make a real difference to the quality and effectiveness of local health services.

Person Specification:

We are looking for people with personal qualities rather than specific qualifications.
Essential Qualities:

  • An interest in and commitment to improving NHS services
  • Recent experience of using local NHS services personally or as a carer would be an advantage.
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate compassion and empathy.
  • Applicants should have good communication skills and the ability to review, digest and comprehend a range of information and opinions and offer constructive criticism.
  • Applicants should have the willingness and ability to provide a voice for patients/users and to reflect the different views and diversity of patients/users including those living with different conditions and from different backgrounds.
  • IT skills are advantageous but full training will be given in as required.

Role Description:

This is a new role within a programme which is new to Cornwall and the role is likely to evolve and develop as the programme becomes established.

  • Patient leaders will be managed and supported by the Patient Experience Team at CFT.
  • The role is voluntary and all patient leaders will be asked to commit for two years with the possibility of an extension for a further two years.
  • Patient Leaders will work as consultants on specific quality improvement projects with specific aims
  • There is no set requirement for the number of hours you need to commit to on a weekly basis; however, we do ask you to specify the level of hours you are able to input.
    • The level of commitment for a specific project will be agreed at the start – project groups generally meet monthly for one to two hours.
    • See case studies below
  • Out-of-pocket expenses will be paid at locally agreed NHS rates
  • Appointment will be subject to an informal interview and a DBS check
    • The interview will be experience based looking at people’s personal qualities and experience and how they would draw on this experience to bring the patient voice into the planning and review of health services
    • Applicants will be asked to consider how they would respond to scenarios based on current health care projects
  • Reasonable adjustments to the working environment will be made as necessary in line with the Equality Act 2010.

Our commitment:

Patient leaders will be offered training and support to understand the workings of local and national NHS organisations and will have the chance to work collaboratively with NHS staff to identify problems and to apply creative solutions.

Patient leaders will be trained in the development of the skills, knowledge and qualities required to shape the quality agenda, work collaboratively with others and improve patient care.

All patient leaders will undertake a corporate induction in the organisation they will be working in. Further training will be offered as required for specific projects.
Patient leaders will be offered regular supervision and support and will have a designated mentor.

Case Studies – how patient and carer involvement makes a difference:

Oxleas mental health trust

Housing Service: patients on the Low Secure Unit at Bodmin have been working with local housing providers to develop a bespoke service to meet the needs of people leaving hospital after long stays.

Communication: patient representatives worked with NHS staff to review letters sent to patients and produced guidelines on the information patients need and how it should be presented.

Covid 19:

In view of the current restrictions imposed by the pandemic it is anticipated that interviews, training and any involvement work will be conducted remotely. Training in the use of required software will be provided.

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