Bonnie Green is an elected public governor for the borough of Richmond. Bonnie has lived in the borough for around 50 years, in Twickenham, Teddington and now in Hampton. We spoke to Bonnie about her time as a governor.
Q. When were you first elected as a governor?
I was elected in 2015 and am two thirds through my second term, having been re-elected in 2018.
Q. Why did you decide that you would like to be a governor at Kingston Hospital?
I’ve been associated with healthcare throughout my working life as a communications and public affairs specialist across the health services, the pharma industry and medical charities. When I gave up full time work, I turned that interest into supporting the patient and public voice in local health services in Richmond, through the organisations that were the forerunners to Richmond Healthwatch. This gave me great foresight into both the health and social care issues that were concerning the people of my borough and afforded the opportunity of working with both commissioners and providers of care, including Kingston Hospital. Also during this period, both my husband and I were diagnosed with, and successfully treated for, cancer. My surgery was done at Kingston Hospital and following this, I became involved as a patient partner and helped to re-establish its Cancer Patient Partners Group which is still running successfully today. All of this together made me think that my knowledge of the local health economy and my passion for ensuring that the voice of the patient is heard and acted upon, might be put to good use as a governor of the hospital and it led me to putting my name forward for election.
Q. How does your role as a governor support the hospital, patients and members?
I’m proud to currently be Chair of the Governors’ Quality Scrutiny Committee. This is an important committee which provides a channel for the Trust to receive feedback from patients and the community about quality of care, and for the committee to provide assurance to the Council of Governors that the Trust is delivering quality services to patients and that patients and the public are involved in the quality work of the Trust. In this role, I also attend the Trust’s Patient Experience Committee and the Healthwatch Forum, all of which gives me and my committee further insight into patient and public experience.
Q. What do you think have been the biggest successes of the hospital over the last few years?
It has to be being awarded the Outstanding rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It’s a tribute to the hard work and dedication of everyone at the hospital, whether in administration or those providing care, to achieve this rating. I remember being in the first staff meeting which was organised to hear the outcome of the CQC inspection in 2018 and it was such a joyous and emotional occasion, particularly because we were the first Trust in London to achieve this. More recently, the way all the hospital staff have pulled together to manage the COVID pandemic and look after patients, has been truly amazing.
Q. What do you enjoy the most about being a governor?
One of our roles, although recently due to COVID we haven’t been able to fulfil it, is to visit various areas or clinics in the hospital to talk to patients and family members about their experiences of the care they are receiving. We hear all sorts of experiences, but I have to say that the majority of these are very positive, not only about the care received but also praising the staff at all levels. This all provides a useful source of patient experience, which is collated and the resulting reports come to the Governors’ Quality Scrutiny Committee for review and in turn are shared elsewhere throughout the organisation. I am looking forward to the time when we can start this important activity again.