As the group with ultimate legal responsibility for Trinity, who make key decisions in our strategic vision and how we deliver it, this is an exciting opportunity for an individual looking to make a real impact in their community.

But what is it like to be a board member at Trinity, and why might someone consider applying?

We spoke to two board members, Felicity Harvey and Geraldine Walters, to find out more. Both highly experienced across various healthcare roles, Felicity and Geraldine also sit on the Patient Service Committee at Trinity.

What was it about that Trinity made you want to join the board here?

Felicity: I’d supported Trinity for many years so when the option of becoming a board member came up, I was very keen to get more involved and associated with Trinity, which delivers very high quality work and supports many families, both patients and their loved ones.

Geraldine: I’ve been a local resident since 1994 and I’m a nurse with an interest in palliative care, so I’ve known about and been interested in Trinity for a long time. When there was a clinical vacancy on the board someone approached me and at that time I wanted to do something in my local community, so it was a great fit. That was 2011, and I’m still here now!

What are the demands on your time as a trustee?

Geraldine: It’s four board meetings annually. They are all weekday evenings, so it’s definitely possible to fit around a job. I also chair the Patient Services Committee which is four additional evening meetings a year.

There are of course other occasions throughout the year when it’s nice to attend if you can. These are usually very enjoyable things, for example, today I’ve joined our brilliant Patient Services team to celebrate their successes over the past year.

Before becoming a board member, it’s important to be familiar with the fiduciary responsibilities that you take on when you join a charity board. Being a board member is an important and serious role and at Trinity I’ve found that the teamwork and skills around the table means that board meetings are challenging and stimulating. As someone with clinical and hospital experience, it is really refreshing to work as a team and meet skilled and experienced people from backgrounds like retail, fundraising and finance.

What is been your highlight since joining the board?

Felicity: Seeing how some of the research we’ve started can improve patients’ lives. A major development which has already made a difference to many of our patients and their families has been the work around virtual reality. Striving for better ways to support and treat our patients is one of the really important aspects of our work and it’s really exciting. 

The new trustee will sit on the Patient Services Committee. What is the role of this committee?

Felicity: The Patient Services Committee is an important part of the board structure. It oversees the quality and development of the services we deliver. In effect, for those familiar with NHS hospital systems, our function is to ensure Trinity’s clinical governance. It’s fascinating - we really get to understand the impact we’re having and the challenges we face, as well as celebrating successes. It is also a means of assuring ourselves and the board that we are continuing to deliver the high standards that our patients expect.

What is your vision of where Trinity will be in five years time?

Felicity: I’d like to see Trinity touching the lives of far more people both on the south and north side of the river. We want to support patients and their families not just in our inpatient facility but in the community. 

I would also like to see us supporting patients with broader range of life-limiting illnesses and dementia. I am all too aware that these families and patients also need the support of our dedicated and highly talented team. 

What are some of the challenges faced by the board as we look to the future? 

Geraldine: The challenges we’re facing right now are the same as those faced by all charities – financial ones. The conundrum is, how do we continue to deliver the really high quality of care and service that we are known for with diminishing resources? 

The upside of the situation is that there’s an extra impetus to think innovatively and creatively about how we deliver services in the future and also about how we make them even better – how do we reach more people, how do we help other healthcare professionals to understand how they can benefit from using our services? Crucially, how do we do things differently whilst remaining mindful of the need to retain the high standards that Trinity is known for?

The new TAP pilot project is just one example of an area where we’re responding to challenges with something bold, ambitious and innovative.

What would be your advice to someone who is considering applying to join the board at Trinity?

Felicity: I would suggest that anyone wanting to join us comes to see Trinity and meets some of our staff and board members. Trinity does wonderful work and if you’re interested you can help us make a real difference.

Geraldine: Being a trustee at Trinity is something that’s worthwhile; it’s about doing things for people and giving back to your community. For people working in health especially, it will give an insight into what it’s like to be in a non-executive role that will be helpful in your career.

The other thing of course is that any clinical person should realise that they have something valuable to offer – their experience, their knowledge of the NHS, their knowledge of health services, their clinical background alone.

Finally, it’s important to realise that being a board member is not an informal arrangement. By becoming a trustee you will have a fiduciary duty and it’s important to understand what those responsibilities mean. But that level of responsibility and leadership can be helpful too and can contribute to your own personal and career development.  I’ve certainly developed skills by being on the board.