Maggie Stubbs, a member of HEE’s Patient Advisory Forum (PAF) and a MAHSE Lay Representative, shares how her passion for the NHS combined with her experience as a clinician, manager, patient and carer, helps to bring valuable perspectives into her PPI roles.

“What is it that excites me about the National Health Service? There are several things that I could mention: the simplicity and convenience of being able to pick-up the phone, dial a number, and receive an appointment with a member of my GP’s team, or to use one of the other resources such as the Walk-In Centre or to dial 111 for information or advice specific to my needs.  And especially that the NHS is an organisation embedded into the fabric of our society, giving comfort and reassurance whenever there is a need.

“The NHS aspires to put patients and the public at the heart of everything it does, as set out in the NHS Constitution. But it is a complex organisation with multiple stakeholders, and meeting expectations may not always be possible. Yet I can see that it is working hard to ensure that patients are at the heart of the service.

Opportunity and privilege

“Having been a part of the NHS for many years, from a cadet in the ‘olden days’ all the way through to very senior ranks, I have seen enormous changes. For the last three or so years, not being totally out to pasture, I have had the opportunity and the privilege to be a patient and public representative. at Health Education England’s Patient Advisory Forum, the National School of Healthcare Science and the Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education.

Trust and dialogue

“My vision for the NHS is what gets me up in the mornings. My starting point is to focus on compassion and the values of the NHS. My overall goal is to help create a sense of inclusion, build trust in the process, encourage critical dialogue and add a positive contribution to the agenda. In the process, I try to challenge some traditional ways of thinking in an effort to engage positively and to inspire change.

Pictured: Maggie at a HEE national workshop on the Nursing & Midwifery Council’s consultation on Future Nurse proficiency standards, where she contributed to HEE’s response.

“In my professional life, I was a nurse, midwife and health visitor before moving on to senior management. As a carer for my partner with a severe mental illness at a time when there was little support from some family members, and now as a patient myself with a long-term condition, I have different and valuable insights to bring to the table.

“So, like most other people who use the NHS, I am not ‘just a patient’ – I have a broad range of life experiences as a parent and carer and in my career. As well as my clinical and managerial roles, I can draw on personal and observed experience. So I would like to think that I am an ambassador in helping embed the patient/ carer voice, improve participation and embed engagement, to help improve the patient experience in all our health and care services..

Decision-making that is patient-centred

“As Health Education England (HEE) is a national body with a mandate to promote high quality education and training, the Patient Advisory Forum (PAF) was developed to support the organisation in making decisions which are patient-centred, open and transparent. One of PAF’s roles is to provide assurance to the HEE board that effective and efficient patient and public voice arrangements are in place and that decision-making at Board and other levels is informed by the patient and public voice.

“Being a member of the PAF gives me an opportunity to share my experience as a clinician, carer and a patient for a wider purpose. I appreciate the shared responsibility and partnership working in ensuring that the patient and carer voice is included in every aspect of the work. PAF members also try to make sure that the patient voice is represented at various HEE workshops and meetings.

“Working with the National School of Healthcare Science on Modernising Scientific Careers, I am involved with other stakeholders in the design, development, delivery and quality assurance of programmes. I am involved in the accreditation of programmes in Higher Education Institututions and of work-based student placements.

Patient experience as part of training

“My role involves helping to ensure that the patient’s perspective is at the centre of the design, development and implementation of training and service delivery. For example, a laboratory technician may not be patient-facing, but from day one of the training the student must recognise that the sample in front of them relates to a person, often someone who is vulnerable, concerned and in need of more information. Dignity, respect and quality apply to all roles in the NHS, and staff actions can be far-reaching, often affecting patients, family and wider society.

Inclusive of social values

“My role with the Manchester Academy of Healthcare Scientific Education (a group of partner universities) puts me on the other side of the table. This helps to ensure that patient’s perspective is at the heart of everything that it does. Including the experiences of patients is an important aspect of the training ; as is ensuring the training is responsive to the changing needs of patients and local communities.

“I am also very passionate about the work that I do outside of my patient representation role, which focuses on mentoring and coaching, supporting staff to gain confidence in their practice and leadership skills. The NHS is undergoing tremendous changes to meet the demands of our future, and there is a need for good leaders and a skilled workforce to meet these challenges. There is also a need to ensure that the patient’s experience and voice are recognised as an integral part of the changes, helping to ensure that decisions can be locally grounded and inclusive of social values.

“Patients and the public can, and do, make a difference, supporting the improvement agenda of the future. In order to achieve this, their voice must be included at all levels, including the design, development, training and ultimately the delivery of the service.”

The patient voice in Health Education England’s work