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Featured Friday, Jun 7 2019

NHS commissioners praise volunteers for their fantastic contributions in East Berkshire

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In celebration of this year’s Volunteers Week (1-7), NHS commissioners in East Berkshire would like to thank its volunteers for their fantastic contributions.

Sarah Bellars, Director of Nursing and Quality for East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We are forever grateful for the on-going support we receive from our volunteers who are passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated.

“Volunteers commit time and energy for the benefit of others, freely, through personal choice.

“They help us hear the patient and public voice when decisions need to be made about commissioning.

She added: “Whether they focus on improving awareness about all kinds of health matters such as cancer and diabetes, dedicate hours to their GP practice through a patient group, or work within provider services to help individuals and their families, the impact of their contribution can be measured far and wide.”

East Berkshire CCG is committed to putting its patients and wider population at the centre of all that it does. It is keen to ensure that local people feel that they are being listened to, and that their views are making a valuable contribution in shaping health services for local people.

There are many ways in which people can volunteer with the CCG, ranging from attending the Community Partnership Forum (CPF) which brings together community and patient representatives; becoming a Patient Partner to provide advice to the CCG on various projects; and Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) who work together with GP surgeries to help improve services and promote health and improved quality of care.

Four volunteers who have worked closely with the CCG over the years are Peter Haley; Alan Thomson; Colin Pill and Michael Shefras.

Peter has been instrumental in not only helping to set-up and develop the CCG’s CPF meeting, but chairing the meeting until recently when he stood down as chair after five years.

Sarah Bellars said: “Peter has been an incredible asset to the CCG over the years and we would like to thank him for all his hard work, commitment and drive.”

Alan joined his PPG in Bracknell over 8 years ago after his colleague’s wife asked him to join. Over the years, he has been the patient group’s secretary, chair and now vice-chair. In this time, Alan has also participated in Bracknell and Ascot Patient Assembly as Vice-Chair and Acting Chair.

When asked what attracted him to the role, Alan said: “Helping the organisation improve the provision of local healthcare services for people in the Bracknell area, with more being delivered in GP practices.

He added: “I do so by using my experience and skills from having worked in a large business organisation as a project and services manager.”

Similarly, Colin has been a PPG member at Wexham Road surgery in Slough for five years and Chair of Slough’s Patient Reference Group (PRG) for over a year. As a patient group member, Colin’s main driving force is to make sure that patients get better outcomes. As chair of the PRG, he feels it is important to have co-ordination between all practices in the area. He said: “Only by working together will Slough’s PPGs and Patient Reference Group make a difference.”

Michael has been a member of the Datchet Health Centre PPG for over 8 years as well as chair of the group for the past five years. In addition to these voluntary roles, Michael chairs the Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead Patient Network Group (WPNG).

When asked what he most enjoys about voluntary roles, he said: “The sense of Datchet practice community and involvement with improving patient experiences in these trying financial times.”

To find out more about how you can get involved with the CCG, click here.