People with a passion for seeing local health and social care services changed for the better are being sought by the county’s independent health and social care champion.

Healthwatch Somerset, which has an important role in assessing the quality of local health and social care services and influencing the design of future services, is looking for a permanent Chair to lead its Board, as well as additional Board members.

Emily Taylor, Healthwatch Somerset Manager, explained: “We welcome interest from all sections of the local community. We’re looking for local people with a passionate interest in helping the local community shape the way their health and social care services are run.

“Although not essential, if people have knowledge or experience in social care, children and young people, mental health, equalities and diversity this would be beneficial.”

Board members will oversee and contribute to the work programme and play a crucial role in monitoring its delivery.  It also plays a part supporting the organisation to adhere to its principles, purpose and vision and ensuring that it operates in a moral and ethical way.

“The people of Somerset need a champion to express their views”

Retired ambulanceman and current Board member Bob Champion, from Shepton Mallett, said: “I enjoy being a Board member, as I like to help people to get the proper advice and help that they deserve about health and social care.

“I’ve many years of experience with the Health Service, which adds to the experience and knowledge I can give by being a Board member, and I am happy that I am not wasting the experience that I have had both in working as a paramedic and as a carer. Being a Board Member also helps me to keep my brain active and my legs working!

Fellow Board member Mike Hodson, from Spaxton, in the Quantock Hills, added: “I want to continue to be a Board member as we’ve made such a promising start and there is a lot more work to do, and I want to follow this through.  The people of Somerset need a champion to express their views on health and social care and its improvement and Healthwatch Somerset is at the forefront of that effort.”

Volunteer Rachel Mason from Somerton, who has two adult sons with autism and learning disabilities, said: “I volunteer to encourage the local authority and health bodies to see the value and benefit of working together to shape local health and care services. Volunteering could simply mean giving a few hours a week to pop some leaflets into your local library, shop or GP surgery to help raise awareness about Healthwatch and the difference we can make by working together.”

Board meetings are held every two months.  In addition, Board members will need to spend about two days a month on Board matters, plus emails and occasional meetings, both day time and evening.  The role is voluntary, but all out of pocket expenses will be covered.  The term of office will be for an initial period of two years, with an option to extend by a further two years.

For more information about the post and specific responsibilities of a Board Chair and of Board members please download a recruitment pack from www.healthwatchsomerset.co.uk/about/vacancies/ or telephone 01278 264405 or email info@healthwatchsomerset.co.uk.

Closing date for applications. Midnight 27 August 2018

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