NHS70: Celebrating 70 years of the NHS
The National Health Service is turning 70 on 5 July 2018. It’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, to appreciate the vital role the service plays in our lives, and to recognise and thank the extraordinary NHS staff – the everyday heroes – who are there to guide, support and care for us, day in, day out.
What is your name? Catherine Pope
What is your role?
Service Director, Integrated Specialist Services
Why did you choose to work in the NHS?
I wanted to be a physiotherapist and I thought I would work in sport, but I quickly realised that I could help far more people by working in the NHS. I have been really privileged in my career to work both clinically and in leadership roles that have allowed me to champion that therapy and rehabilitation should be available to all who need it.
Describe what you do in 100 words or less.
Having only just started in this role, I’m still getting to grips with what I’m supposed to be doing myself! Integrated Specialist Services has been formed by merging two directorates that provide services for adults and children with a wide range of physical and mental health needs or an intellectual disability. My role is to provide strategic leadership and direction as we transform services to provide more integrated pathways of care. In the current financial climate we have to be really sure that our services are as efficient as possible, whilst still providing safe and effective care for our service users.
What do you enjoy most about your role? Most of all I want to make a difference for service users and staff I’m still an Allied Health Professional AHP at heart, so any day I make a decision that solves a problem or better still helps someone else solve their own problem, is a good day for me. I really enjoy mentoring staff who want advice about career development, and then seeing what they go on to achieve.
The hardest days are when I have to make really difficult decisions which I know will have a personal impact for some people, but we do have a responsibility to provide the best care within the resources available.
And my favourite days of all are when I get to go out and meet staff and service users to see first-hand the positive impact the NHS has on people’s lives.
What three words would you use to describe the NHS? It’s just amazing!
If you could give the NHS any 70th birthday present what would it be?
A fair and sufficient funding model that allows for long term planning.
We really need an honest conversation between policy makers and the public about what a precious asset the NHS is. It offers unrivalled value for money, but we can’t keep pretending that we can just make it more and more efficient without there being an impact on quality.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about working at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust?
I would definitely recommend it. We are a good employer trying to do our best in a really difficult climate. There are definitely opportunities for those who want to develop. My advice is always to seek out and make the most of any opportunities that are available. You will be surprised what else they can lead to.
Happy 70th birthday to our NHS.