William Miskelly has been a public governor for Allerdale in North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust since March 2020, just as the covid pandemic began. 

Despite the restrictions that this brought, William threw himself wholeheartedly into the role with a mission to improve how the Trust listens to a range of people in our communities - and he has his own personal reasons that drive him.

Now, almost two years on, his hope for 2022 is that more people from a wide range of backgrounds have their say in the provision of their health care services – and he needs your help.

William said: “Since I’ve come into the role, I’ve taken it upon myself to get in touch with people in different ways – through virtual platforms or even just writing to people. In the early days it was just linking with groups to get shopping and prescriptions for people in the neighbourhood. 

“By being a governor, I found out more about the need for meet and greet volunteers, so I helped out by doing this on Saturdays and Sundays at CIC. This helped me connect with our communities including the staff and understand their concerns.

As a public governor I can be approached to ask questions to the Trust, which I get a quick answer to most of the time. I completed my induction to become a Patient Experience Volunteer in December 2021, this is aimed at keeping patients connected to their family and friends as well as supporting the ward staff. I am now a Patient Experience Volunteer on Saturdays and Sundays because I just wanted to help the staff out who are working extremely hard under extreme circumstances. 

William is able to use that insight to help shape the work of the governor’s council, who link directly with the board of directors.

“As a governor I have been on the External Audit Special Interest Group, I was elected chair of the Governors’ Advisory Committee (GAC) in August 2021, I am proud to be part of the Learning Disability and Autism Special Interest Group, I sit on the Membership and Engagement Committee and also the Nomination’s Committee. I’ve undertaken the patient and citizen leadership programme with the NHS North East and Yorkshire leadership academy, I have managed to connect with governors, staff and stakeholders all over the country.”

And William’s main passion is to encourage inclusion in all of its forms in every part of life and has recently joined some of the Trust’s staff networks including the cultural diversity staff network.  He said: “I feel that Equality and Diversity is something that is really important. I have had to face barriers myself having grown up in care. I was also born with two club feet, had various operations and still do physiotherapy exercises every day.  As a kid when you are growing up if you are different it makes you think you have to do everything better.”  

William now would like to encourage more people in the local area to get involved so that everyone’s voice is valued and heard, “The NHS has kept me alive - now I want to give something back and to ask more people to join me.”

“As a member, you can do as much or as little as you want, but you are just part of something bigger with lots of opportunities. If you find out more about what is going on, there will be something that you are passionate about and can make a difference with.  As a member you can also stand as a governor if you want to, and you can represent the views of members living in your area. Cumbria has very different needs, for example the area I represent, Allerdale, no two localities have the same healthcare needs. If we all speak, we will be heard and we can help shape our healthcare system for the future.

“We’ve got to speak to each other a bit more. Our Trust serves our community and our community needs to let the Trust know what they want. The more people are involved, the more things can actually change.”

Anyone living in Cumbria over the age of 14 can become a member, you can choose how much or how little you want to be involved – join today.

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