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Governor role

The role of the Council of Governors

Because we are a Foundation Trust, we have a Council of Governors.  Governors play a key role at University Hospitals Bristol in helping to guide the development of services, holding the Non-executive Directors to account, and representing the views of members.  Most governors are elected from the Foundation Trust membership. These elected governors reflect the interests of the community and represent their members when key decisions are taken at the Trust. There are 29 governors in total on the UH Bristol Council of Governors: 17 public governors, 6 staff governors and 6 appointed governors.

Sue Milestone









Message of the Month from Sue Milestone, Public Governor (Bristol), November 2019

"Since 2013 I have represented carers and cared-for patients over 16 years of age as a governor at UH Bristol. I am a campaigner for Equality of Care within the NHS.  As a member of the Carers' Strategy Group I have been involved in developing the Carers' Strategy for the Trust. My main aims within the Trust are to improve the patient experience for patients with multiple complex needs and to emphasise the importance of listening to vulnerable patients and their carers.

Too often such patients are not listened to which can result in 'diagnostic overshadowing' - a situation where symptoms such as temporary dementia or disruptive behaviour are attributed to the disability rather than the underlying illness.

The Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with a learning disability found that 38% of people with a learning disability died from an avoidable cause, compared to 9% in a comparison population of people without a learning disability. Equality of Care will not be achieved until all staff receive mandatory Learning Disability Awareness Training and I celebrate the piloting of mandatory training for NHS staff in England.

For vulnerable patients a lack of 'reasonable adjustments' can be a barrier to accessing equal healthcare, and is a contributing factor in a number of avoidable deaths…yet healthcare professionals have a legal duty to provide reasonable adjustments for all disabled patients under the terms of the Equality Act 2010. Adjustments can include simple measures such as avoiding medical jargon, arranging longer appointment times and, for inpatients, seeing the person not the disability.

I celebrate the fact that UH Bristol has once again been rated OUTSTANDING by the Care Quality Commission.  However I would prefer a situation where CQC Inspectors consider a separate category measuring standards of care of vulnerable patients which would give a more balanced outcome for all NHS providers. My plea to UH Bristol clinical staff is to recognise that patients are often experts in their own care, as are their carers, and both should be listened to."