Amanda Buss is a public governor for Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust and an any category constituency representative for our governor advisory committee (GAC).
What made you become a governor?
Although I have always been passionate about the NHS, in honesty I knew little about foundation trusts and governors until a friend of mine told me that my local hospital - the Royal United Bath NHS Foundation Trust - was about to apply for foundation trust status. She felt strongly that I should consider becoming a governor and her suggestion prompted me to research it, I felt that it would interest me and that I could make a valuable contribution to the council.
How long have you been a governor?
I was elected in 2012, but unfortunately, the trust was unsuccessful in its first attempt to become a foundation trust. As a result, the council spent 2 years in 'shadow' form - during which we were treated by the hospital very much as though we were 'real' governors. I became a full governor when the hospital achieved foundation trust status in 2014. I represent the people who live in the City of Bath.
I also find it rewarding to visit clinical areas of the hospital - for instance on our ward accreditation programme. This enables me to see the hospital delivering front-line services and to chat with patients.Public governor
What career experience have you had that are relevant to your role?
I qualified as a doctor, but I never practised medicine. Instead I worked in the financial services sector advising companies on all aspects of their health provision for their employees. I therefore come to the governor role with both clinical and business experience, and I feel that gives me an ability to hold the board to account much more effectively.
What made you stand for election to the GAC?
Having been a governor for a number of years, I was aware there is little or no interaction and sharing of best practice between councils of governors, and I hope that as a member of the GAC I can start to address this. I felt that the GAC would bring me the opportunity to share my knowledge, gain from the experience of other trusts, and potentially to contribute to the development of the governor role in a changing healthcare environment.
What do you think is the most important role that a governor plays?
I am very aware that within my own trust individual governors have differing priorities, and I think that this gives us a more balanced council. For me personally, the focus has always been on holding the board to account for operational and financial performance. I attend most board meetings as an observer, which gives me the opportunity to develop relationships with both the non executive directors and executive directors and this enables us to work together for the benefit of patients.
What do you enjoy most about being a governor?
A difficult question! I have really enjoyed developing my knowledge of the NHS and governance, and in particular building interpersonal relationships with members, my colleagues, the board and other hospital staff. I also find it rewarding to visit clinical areas of the hospital - for instance on our ward accreditation programme. This enables me to see the hospital delivering front-line services and to chat with patients.
I felt that the GAC would bring me the opportunity to share my knowledge, gain from the experience of other trusts, and potentially to contribute to the development of the governor role in a changing healthcare environment.Public governor
What changes in healthcare that you see locally or nationally excite you?
At a local level, the Royal United Bath NHS Foundation Trust, has an ambitious development programme to modernise our estate, including the commissioning and building of a brand new state of the art cancer centre. When this opens, it will be a huge step forward in treating the disease for our local area. Nationally, it really has to be the development of integrated care systems. Whilst my own area is hardly leading the field in this area, integrated care must be better care in the long term. I am enthusiastic to see clinical pathways becoming more seamless, and I hope and expect this to have a positive impact on waiting times, outcomes and patient experience.
Governor advisory committee members provide oversight and feedback on our work and areas that require debate and action. They help to shape the governor services we provide to our members such as our GovernWell training programme, annual governor focus conference, bespoke training and guidance resources.
If you would like to contact Amanda please email firstname.lastname@example.org