Even if we enjoy the best of health throughout our lives we are bound in one way or another – even if it’s as a carer – to have contact with and support from the NHS.
So whether it’s a routine visit to our GP, supporting a parent through a care plan, an unexpected trip to A&E or continuing care for a chronic condition, we are all of us no strangers to the health services available on our doorstep.
There are few subjects which are the focus of as much debate and discussion as the NHS. Whether it’s on a bus or on TV, everyone has a view and it can very often be a view coloured, quite understandably, by their own experience.
One reason I jumped at the chance to be involved in the work of the hospice was because my positive experience of their care for my dad, had made me a passionate advocate for palliative care and the team at St John’s in particular.
As with all medical care and services knowledge really is power. The more you know about what support you can access and how it can help you or someone you care for or care about, the better it is for everyone.
To get the best out of any service – not just for ourselves but for others to benefit too – it can sometimes make a difference to be an advocate, or a voice for change.
At Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust membership is free and open to anyone who lives locally and has used our services or cared for someone who has. Membership will mean something different to everyone who joins, but the common thread will be caring about health services provided by the trust in the area.
These services include many things from the memory clinic to the hospice, adult and children’s mental health services to learning disabilities.
Feedback and views help the Trust shape its services to the needs of the community, focusing on bringing the best of care and helping improve services.
So why in a nutshell is it a good idea to become a Trust member? Well for starters you won’t be alone – there are already over 10,000 Trust members. They really do have a say in how services are run, are invited to Trust events and membership meetings and receive exclusive discounts on Trust services.
There’s also an opportunity to stand for election to the Council of Governors and to vote to elect them.
There are many more great reasons to become a member – but perhaps the most compelling of all is being part of something that is making a difference to people every day and helping to shape those services for the future, for you and your family as well as the wider community.
Joining is easy. You can apply online at RDASH and if you would like more information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Cheryl Watkinson on 0800 0150370.
* Mel Hewitt, Community fundraiser, St John’s Hospice, Doncaster