Published: 07/10/2004, Volume II4, No. 5926 Page 38

Patient experience facilitator for Bro Morgannwg trust Paul Jones on trying to making things better

What is your professional background?

I have 28 years'experience as a senior manager in retail banking. I took early retirement because of restructuring within the bank and decided to look around for something else.

I started working for the NHS in 1999, doing consultancy work on the role of volunteers in the health service for the local health authority.

What attracted you to the job?

The consultancy work I did whetted my appetite for working in the health service. I was attracted to the job, which I started in January 2000, because it allows me to use the sort of organisational and people skills I developed in my last job and apply them to the NHS. I was also attracted to the idea of being able to effect change.

What does the role involve?

I work closely with the executive director of nursing to develop a positive experience for patients and the public.

This includes looking at the environment of care and how it can be improved by listening to the patients and training staff to develop their customer care skills. I am also responsible for developing public and patient involvement and new ways of involving volunteers.

For example, I have set up a public involvement development group, where members of the public are instrumental in coming up with ideas for improvement to the service.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

I find working with a vast array of people in different circumstances and professions enormously interesting.The fact that I can make a difference is very rewarding. I introduced a suggestion scheme for patients. It started off as an idea on a piece of paper, but I ended up with 450 people writing to me with their ideas. It is very satisfying to get feedback from the public once those ideas have been implemented.

What is the most challenging aspect of the job?

The initial challenge for me was acceptance.Coming from outside the NHS with ideas for making changes, it was important to be accepted by colleagues and also get them to look beyond my job title. It was about the patient and not me having an agenda.The challenge for me now is keeping up with demand as my role expands, and to share good practice.

The role was the first of its kind in Wales and has been extremely successful. It is starting to catch on at other Welsh trusts.