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Catherine Hepburn

Public Governor for North Tyneside

Catherine Hepburn

Why I applied to become a governor: I’ve been involved with the Samaritans for several years and over the last 3-4 years have seen an increase in the number of people contacting us and asking for help. We’re talking to people with much more complex and profound issues and I began to wonder if there was something I could do to support the NHS in its work. The first step was to join the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS trust and then when there was an opportunity to become a governor, I applied.

What being a governor involves: Meetings, meetings and more meetings! Actually, you decide how many meetings you go to – it really depends on how much time you have and what your areas of interest are. I started slowly by getting an understanding of the range of work the NHS does and what the purpose of each committee was. I was careful not to commit more time than I knew I could comfortably give and I am now involved in the Quality, Nominations and Audit committees. I have also had the privilege of visiting hospitals and meeting staff and patients. The NHS is evolving all of the time and I am doing my best to keep up and to serve the public of the borough.

Why you would recommend to a member to stand as a governor?  As well as meetings, you will get to see the inner workings of the magnificent NHS. It has been a privilege to meet the dedicated staff and sometimes praise, sometimes point out and sometimes challenge them.

Hopes for the future: The continuation of a public health service – free for all.