Chief Executive at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
Q: If you could improve anything in the region what would it be?
A: Health outcomes in the region are worse than in many other parts of the country – particularly for men. Men die sooner and suffer from more years of disability at the end of their lives. They are more likely to suffer mental illness, particularly in mid-life, and to commit suicide. This is a serious issue that tends to get dismissed or laughed off. I think there is a lot we could do through making healthier choices easier for people. This needs people from across all sectors to work together if it is going to be fixed – and a culture change that can only come from each of us……including me!
Q: Who or what has most influenced you in your career?
A: The people that I have worked with. I have been fortunate to work with very senior leaders from across the public and private sectors nationally and internationally; as well as inspirational people at all levels in each organisation I have been in. They know who they are. Above all patients and the public. There is nothing like spending time with front line staff to reinforce how brilliant some carers and patients are and why it is important to put them at the heart of my organisation.
Q: What are the best and worst pieces of advice you’ve ever been given?
A: Best: Your job might change, your values won’t. Make sure people are clear what your values are and recruit for values, train for skills.
Worst: Sit behind the driver on long bus journeys in the developing world as you get a better view of where you are going […actually a better view of that precipice you are heading for/villagers you are decimating/head on collision you are about to have as you travel at unimagined speeds for hour after white knuckle hour…]
Q: What do you most enjoy about your work?
A: Seeing people in my organisation grow and develop. Making a difference to the lives of people across Leeds every day.
Q: What’s been your biggest achievement/biggest business mistake?
A: I have had quite a long career already and made a lot of mistakes! The key is to always learn, admit it to yourself and your team and always say sorry.
I can point to a lot of visible changes that have been made to the NHS as a result of my local and national work. I was lucky to be involved in radical reforms for the better. The thing that perhaps gives me greatest pleasure was going straight from the heart of Whitehall to being the Chief Executive of an NHS Trust that delivered improvements for people across Calderdale; punched well above its weight on the national stage; and was led in a way that was consistent with my values. This was underlined for me in the breadth and tone of the messages that I got from staff and partners when I left that role.
Q: How do you relax?
A: Family time. Travelling. Listening to music and going to gigs.
Q: What’s on your iPod?
A: Over 13,000 songs with a big stack of CDs to be burned on and downloads to synchronise- too much! I have taken a temporary switch back to vinyl to stem the flow and focus a bit. Just bought vinyl copies of Bill Callaghan’s Apocalpyse, Joan as Policewoman’s The Deep Field, Bjork and Radiohead remixes, Robyn Hitchcock’s Tromso Kaptein – all from Jumbo and Crash in Leeds. Both shops recommended!
I was lucky to be involved in radical reforms for the better.
Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
1st Floor Stockdale House
Headingley Office Park