It’s not what you retire from, it’s what you retire to

Robert Jones is lead governor at Moorfields Eye Hospital FT and has served as vice-chair of the membership council, chaired both the remuneration and non-executive directors recruitment committee and the members’ governance committee

Robert Jones
Robert Jones is lead governor at Moorfields Eye Hospital (FT)

When members of my staff were retiring from their jobs in the NHS often after long service, it would (as head of service) be my privilege and pleasure to say a few words of thanks and celebration of their special contributions throughout their careers. Among other things, I would also add some thoughts on a possible approach to the future which I learnt from others along the way.

The essence of this being the idea that retirement could be enriched if the things you do included, for example:

  • to keep physically fit
  • to stretch yourself intellectually/mentally
  • something artistic
  • something for the soul or spiritual
  • something for others – voluntary, community or charitable work
  • something specifically for yourself

Considering this list I thought that, having served as an NHS Foundation Trust (FT) governor for almost 20 years, this form of voluntary work might interest readers who would like, after a break from work, to embark on voluntary NHS service. 

FTs have a council of governors comprising elected and appointed governors. Elected governors are chosen by secret ballots of the FT membership which is open to the public.

Elections are held three yearly and appointees are selected from local councils, educational institutions and local voluntary organisations.

Among other duties, the main statutory roles

  • appoint, and when necessary, remove the chair and non-executive directors (NEDs)
  • decide remuneration and allowances of chair and NEDs
  • approve (or not) the appointment of CEO and the NHS FT auditor
  • hold the NEDs to account for the FT board of directors’ performance
  • represent the interests of the FT membership including patients, families and carers and the public interest

Hopefully this brief overview will spark an interest in the possibility of standing for election as a governor, it’s an interesting, worthwhile and added value role, working with people from a variety of backgrounds and it’s fun too.

The CSP iCSP Retirement Association network is a great source of further ideas for retired members seeking voluntary service opportunities.

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