Juggling two very different roles. CSP steward Adam Morgan is a respiratory physiotherapist but also plays a much wider representative role on his local NHS board.
How did you become an independent member of your local health board?
As a CSP steward, I already sit on the local and health board-wide staff partnership forums. I was encouraged by colleagues to apply for the trade union independent member role on the NHS board. My contribution at the partnership forum stood me in a good position to demonstrate what what my contribution and approach would be. There was a formal application and interview, after which I had to be recommended for appointment by the interview panel to the cabinet secretary for health, wellbeing and sport in Wales. I was told by the Welsh government team that I had been successful.
I was appointed for a two-year period which can be extended. I take one day from my clinical time for board meetings, committees and sub-committees, engagement events and meetings with directors. I contribute in committees such as quality, safety and patient experience committee and workforce and organisational development. I have also interviewed candidates for a consultant position.
Can you really influence decisions?
Yes! You can have a significant impact on decisions and policy but you need to make sure you ask reasoned questions and have meaningful input. As an independent member you form part of a larger group that has a significant impact at board level to influence decision making. The role is also about scrutinising plans that the executive teams put forward. This holds executive directors to account to ensure that they have delivered on their plans.
Do colleagues ask you to do things for them on the board?
Yes, but there are governance structures in place to ensure that items are scheduled at the relevant committees and we follow this process. If there are issues that are brought to my attention through the staff side I will take them to the relevant managers and if necessary to committees to ensure they are resolved. I represent 10,000 staff spread across a large geographical area and numerous professions. It’s a huge responsibility. In terms of engaging staff and providing feedback, this is where our partnership forums are invaluable. My networking and relationships with other trade union representatives, not just within physiotherapy, are vital to provide me with a broad view of our staff side. I am currently working with the board secretary and the chief executive on how the staff side voice can be heard more loudly and regularly.
How to you juggle this role with your ‘day job’?
I have the full support of my management in this role. They see how beneficial having a physiotherapist and a staff representative on the board can be for the service and our staff. The department is also very supportive of staff development and they see how beneficial it will be for my own career progression. Even with this full support, it can be difficult on occasions to juggle both roles. I am pulled in many different directions and many different committees but I quickly learned to say no to certain requests and signpost elsewhere when appropriate so that I can concentrate on what only I can do, as with prudent healthcare. There’s a lot of reading which is largely done in my own time.
Would you encourage other CSP members to do what you have?
Yes, definitely. It would only serve to increase the profile of physiotherapy within your organisation and nationally. It is a fantastic way to improve your career opportunities and broadens your horizons of future career opportunities. It also gives you a different aspect on life within your health board or trust. You get to see the different challenges that other services are facing and also what other services are doing well.
If you’re interested in how decisions and plans are made within your organisation, and feel you could have an impact and provide scrutiny at board level, put yourself forward.
- Adam Morgan is Band 6 respiratory physiotherapist, West Wales General Hospital, Carmarthen
Number of subscribers: 2