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Becoming a Patient Governor - Dr Neil Stutchbury

If you care for your hospitals and have been treated at Addenbrooke’s or The Rosie, then why not think about becoming a patient governor?

Neil Stutchbury
Dr Neil Stutchbury, Patient Governor and Lead Governor

I was elected as a Patient Governor in July 2017 and became Lead Governor in 2021. As a CUH cancer patient, I wanted to thank the wonderful staff who cared for me during that difficult period. I have thoroughly enjoyed the role.

This is a terrific way to give something back to your hospitals by representing other patients in ensuring the hospitals are well-led and well-run. Over the last two years the hospitals have been under greater pressure than ever, and they need as much help as possible from patients and the community to ensure that they deliver the right level of care at the right time to all of us. As a governor, you will work with the non-executive directors (NEDs) and the Board to assure yourself that the hospitals are doing everything they can to deliver timely and safe care. You will get involved in meetings with other governors, NEDs and the executive team, and will discover how large hospitals work; you will have the opportunity to ask questions about areas that you think could be improved or offer your own ideas based on your own experiences and what you have heard from friends and relatives.

Over the last few years governors have influenced the Board on a number of issues, including A&E wait times, eating disorders, patient safety, digital strategy including MyChart, on- and off-site transport issues and a range of initiatives that impact staff well-being. Governors can choose to observe Board committees in action, which is a great way to find out what issues senior managers are tackling and to understand better how the hospitals work. Governors also have responsibility for appointing the NEDs and contributing to their annual appraisals.

Once I had become a governor, I realised that there were many other ways I could get involved in patient advocacy: I joined a couple of patient and public involvement panels reviewing medical research projects; I am one of the patient reps on the MyChart stakeholder group and I co-chair the patient advisory group for the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital.

As a governor you can get as involved as you want to be. To be most effective, you will care deeply about your local hospitals; you will want to do what you can to ensure the hospitals are a great place to work and offers the best possible care to everyone who uses it. No special qualifications are required - we are looking for governors from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences who can represent everyone in our local communities. If this is you, then I would encourage you to apply.