Why I became a governor at Frimley Health

Rod Broad profile picture

05 May 2023

Rod Broad
Former Lead Governor
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

What motivated you to become a governor?

I had a medical event that led to me giving up work. Recovering from my medical event, I was able to dedicate some of my time back. I stood for election to be a governor when the opportunity arose at the time of the merger with Frimley. I hoped that, with my business background and long-term knowledge of the NHS through my late wife's employment as a physiotherapist, I would be able to contribute to the local improvements so badly needed.

How long have you been a governor? 

Completed three three-year terms, ending in 2022.

What did you enjoy most about being a governor?

My business background was highlighted and recognised. And the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) were initiating a working group for Coordinated Care of Older Citizens. And I was asked if I'd be the governor representative on it because it included Windsor and Maidenhead, which I had just been elected for. My business experience was also picked up by the clinical chair of the CCG and I was asked to independently chair the meetings. That went so well that I was asked to come back and chair full-time.

We ran that through and then it changed to New Vision of Care. Part of the process was looking at an IT system called Connected Care, where records could be accessed. That way people are only telling their story once and everybody knows what's going on.

Then an informal pre-integrated care system was set up, to be used by all the providers including local authorities and social services, which morphed into an insights group, which included dashboards down to ward levels so people could see what was happening.

What do you think is the most important role that a governor play?

The top one, which is the hardest to define, is holding to account. Because governors sometimes feel they're just listening to the information and throwing questions and are they really having an impact? The chair made it very clear that the board and the executive directors are clear that the reports and performance is going to be scrutinised by governors.

The real relationships were from something we call a BoD/CoG. BoD/CoG are sessions in the afternoon with the board of directors and Council of Governors (CoG); the board subcommittees would present in rotation of these so you could look at them with a bit more depth than you get in the board or CoG meetings.

Another important area is driving engagement and building external relationships where you can, as this allows room for feedback.

How do you ensure the CoG is as representative as it could be?  

We do have quite a diverse population going from Slough down to Frimley area, which is completely different in terms of culture and area. It includes the military, so there's a military presence on the CoG. And we are seeing more diversity coming into the council from the elections, from more diverse people standing.

At a board level, we reviewed, and supported the NHS Next Director scheme (an NHS scheme for promoting diversity at board level) with the trust appointing two Next Directors for diversity. They're on the board without a vote, but they are there to understand how the board operates and can fully participate. At the last NHS providers showcase I joined some trusts that had sections dedicated to diverse governors, which was very interesting.

What changes in healthcare that you see locally or nationally that excite you?

I'm very positive about the development of integrated care boards. It's very good because it's important to have our people working together and take away boundaries. It's especially interesting because as a member of Older Persons Advisory Forum (OPAF) for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM). I was recently in a meeting with the council reviewing an exciting development called "Hospital to Home"; which is a collaboration between the RBWM and the local NHS hospital to aid discharge, reduce the length of stay and enable reablement at home (with up to six weeks of support with instant access to therapies that may be needed).

Any top tips for new governors?

As a new governor, it's really as much as you feel you're able to do; Don't feel down because you're not doing everything. The fact that you are there and able to review and ask questions is good.

Take advantage of walkabouts if possible because they really help you to understand what is going on. If possible, do link up with the outside organisations you know; Healthwatch, or some of the local clubs.

Get involved in as many government groups and committees as you can because it'll help you know what's happening. Develop relationships as much as you can. If you can, link with governors and other provider trusts – I was fortunate enough to bump into some at NHS Providers' conferences. Finally, just enjoy yourself. As a new governor, it can be really enjoyable and fulfilling, so just enjoy yourself.

About the author

Rod Broad profile picture

Rod Broad
Former Lead Governor

Rod Broad is a former lead governor at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust (retired – October 2022). With an MBA from Cranfield and an engineering degree (aeronautical), Rod had over 30 years' experience of directing, developing, acquiring and advising businesses in the European and international water and environmental sector, for companies, including Thames Water and Veolia.

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