North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is appealing for more people to join its membership scheme to make their views on healthcare heard and to hold their local NHS to account.
NHS Foundation Trusts work to the principles of the NHS but also enjoy a greater degree of freedom to act upon the views of the public whom they support. Each Trust’s members make this possible.
Becoming a member of a local NHS Foundation Trust is free to join, quick and open to everyone over 16 years old.
Members have the right to vote on the make-up of the Council of Governors who ensure the Trust is operated to the highest of standards, can attend events to learn about healthcare issues, make their own views known and can even access exclusive NHS discounts from a range of well-known shops and service providers.
Members can also stand for governor and make an even bigger impact on Trust life.
Trust member Wendy Gill has been a governor for some ten years. A retired lecturer in bio-medical science Wendy is chair of the membership strategy committee. She said: “Basically, I want to find out what’s going in my local hospital and be part of influencing what it does to make it even better. This trust is rated as ‘good’ but we are working to get the ‘outstanding’ rating. I want to be part of that journey.
“I like being useful in my retirement, but we do need younger members as well. To be honest, I can see why they don’t get involved – when you’re young, you’re going to live forever. We can all remember that feeling.
“But we’d love to have more young people making their voices heard so we can make sure that we are meeting their needs and planning for their future health care as they get older.
“Being a member isn’t a huge time commitment, but it can be very rewarding. I would definitely recommend anyone interested in the activities of their local hospital to become a member.”
Barbara Bright, director of corporate affairs and chief of staff, said: “Our members are part of the family.
“They play an essential role in the governance of the Trust and how we plan for the future of the care we provide.
“We want people of all ages and from all walks of life. If we are to truly support our local communities, we need representation from all parts of those communities. People of differing ages, gender, social status, education, race and sexuality are all more than welcome. The more diverse our membership, the more inclusive our services will become.”
To find out more about becoming a member: www.nth.nhs.uk/about/membership/benefits-membership/