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Council of Governors

Last updated: 20/05/2020

Governor Elections 2022

Our ballots for our Council of Governors are open from 25 April 2022 until Thursday 19 May 2022. Please see who has put themselves forward for election on our Notice of Poll. Candidate statements are available here. If you are eligible to vote, you will receive a ballot paper through the post (or email for staff).

Our Governor nominations are now closed. You can see which seats are up for election in our Notice of Election and which candidates have put themselves forward to stand in our Statement of Candidates. Ballot papers will be sent to all eligible to vote between 25 April and 19 May 2022. Please return your ballot or go to the website to vote!

Governors are elected to the Council of Governors by public Foundation Trust members and by members of staff. Elections to our Council of Governors are taking place in March-May 2022. There are 14 seats up for election this year with nominations open from 2 March-30 March 2022, and voting taking place from 25 April-19 May 2022. 

The role of the Council of Governors

Because we are a Foundation Trust, we have a Council of Governors. Governors play a key role at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust in helping to guide the development of services, holding the non-executive directors to account, representing the views of members, and undertaking a range of statutory duties such as the appointment of the chair and non-executive directors. Most governors are elected from the Foundation Trust membership. These elected governors reflect the interests of the community and represent their members when key decisions are taken at the Trust. There are 29 governors in total on the UHBW Council of Governors: 17 public governors, 6 staff governors and 6 appointed governors.

Meet the Governors

You can see a poster of all our governors here (updated 11 April 2022). Foundation Trust members can ask governors to raise issues at the Trust on their behalf. If you would like to contact the Governors or have any questions about Foundation Trust membership, please email the Membership Office at foundationtrust@uhbw.nhs.uk, call 0117 342 3764, or write to Membership Office, Trust HQ, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, Marlborough Street, Bristol BS1 3NU. A register of interests, which includes our governors, is on our Reports and Publications page.

Council of Governors meetings

Our Council of Governors meetings are open to all Foundation Trust Members, members of staff, and members of the public. In line with national advice about Covid-19 Coronavirus and in the interests of protecting our service users, patients and staff, we cannot hold face-to-face meetings at this time, and so these meetings will be held virtually until further notice and streamed online for public viewing. Please note you are still able to ask questions of the Council of Governors by emailing them before the meeting to foundationtrust@uhbw.nhs.uk and we will endeavor to answer your question during the meeting or provide a written response after the meeting. 

The next Council of Governors meetings are as follows:

  • Friday 27 May 2022 at 2pm-4pm
  • Tuesday 9 August 2022 at 2pm-4pm
  • Tuesday 13 December 2022 at 2pm-4pm
  • Tuesday 14 February 2023 at 2pm-4pm

    Council of Governors Updates to Foundation Trust Members

    Every month, the Council of Governors write an update to Foundation Trust members on the things they have been involved in and send them to members as part of the monthly e-newsletter. If you are interested in hearing about what the Trust and the Governors have been up to, become a member and receive the full e-newsletter. Below are the recent Council of Governors updates for you to see what they have been involved in!

    March 2022 +

    This month’s Governor report comes from one of our Public Governors for North Somerset.

    "As I write this UHBW Governor’s report, news of the Ukraine situation has taken over the top spot TV news item from COVID reporting. The NHS will be playing its part in caring for Ukrainian children with an ongoing medical condition who have arrived in the UK.

    Governors continue to carry out our own NHS hospital duties, with additional change happening all around us. In December we appointed, on a permanent basis, Jayne Mee as the new Trust Chair, and we are in the process of saying ‘goodbye and many thanks’ to Robert Woolley, our long-serving Chief Executive Officer of 12 years – who will leave on 30 March and who has kept the Trust in good financial health and achieved two ‘Outstanding’ Care Quality Commission ratings.  Soon we will be welcoming our new CEO Eugine Yafele from Dorset HealthCare University Foundation Trust, where he too achieved a CQC ‘Outstanding’ rating. Our previous UHBW Trust Chair, Jeff Farrar, is now Board Chair of the new Integrated Care System (ICS) across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Another member of the UHBW Board, Non-Executive Director Steve West, will be leaving us on 31 March to join him on the Integrated Care Board – so UHBW will have some strong links with the new ICS, and we will all watch this space, whilst your Council of Governors set about recruiting new Non-Executive Directors for UHBW’s Board.

    In the meantime, though we will hopefully soon come out of COVID, current reports are indicating a bit of a surge. Following national NHS pandemic guidance in place from January to March, UHBW`s Governor and Board meetings have been operating to a cut-down agenda but have continued to take place. Governors have held recent meetings of all of our three Governor Groups (focussing on Membership and Constitutional issues, Strategy, and Quality) as well as our more informal meetings with the Non-Executive Directors.

    In our world of transformational change that we are currently experiencing, I often quote the following...Winston Churchill said: ‘To improve is to change, but to be perfect is to change often’, Heraclitus said: ‘There is nothing perfect except change’, and finally Walt Disney commented that ‘Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim focused on the future’.

    Today, I can confidently say that how the future came about will be reported tomorrow."

    February 2022 +

    This month’s Governor report comes from one of our Public Governors for Bristol.

    "You will all be aware that our hospitals have been exceptionally busy in recent weeks. As a result, the Trust has been limiting both the number and length of meetings in order to allow staff to concentrate on the challenges of its day-to-day operational priorities. However, with the support of our amazing Membership Team and the Trust Board, Governors have been able to continue to meet virtually for some of our meetings and stay in touch with all Trust activities via regular updates from the Chair alongside all the routine board reports. We have also been kept busy fulfilling other Governor responsibilities in appointing Jayne Mee as our new Chair back in December, being involved in the appointment of a new CEO in January and now planning for the appointment of new Non-Executive Directors in the coming weeks.

    It is six years since I first became a Public Governor for Bristol at the Trust and there have been a great many changes during that time both within the Trust and across our wider local healthcare services. There is still much to do to complete the integration process following our merger with Weston and now we will also be working closely with partners across all of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire in the newly formed Integrated Care System that formally comes into being this year. Given the huge challenges to be faced in moving forward from COVID-19 and dealing with the backlog of elective work it really is essential that this further collaboration and integration is successful. As Governors we will be doing everything we can to support these efforts while continuing to monitor performance within UHBW.

    It is also incredibly important that we thank all the staff at UHBW for their amazing commitment, resilience and sheer hard work in dealing with the pressures that they have faced over the last two years and continue to face. Their well-being and support will remain key priorities for the Governors in 2022, along with the need to recruit new staff into all vacancies. These issues are regularly reviewed at our Quality Focus Group meetings and raised within our discussions with the Non-executive Directors.

    If you have any concerns or queries that you would like to raise with the Governors then please don’t hesitate to contact the Membership Team at the Trust."

    January 2022 +

    This month’s governor report comes from one of our Public Governors for Bristol.

    "Happy New Year!

    Most of us will be entering 2022 I’m sure, with optimism that we will have a much greater understanding of COVID-19 and all its variants, and that we can eventually get on with our normal day to day lives once again, whatever that may be.

    Coming from a technology background myself, it has been interesting to see the use of video calls being used throughout the NHS.

    Currently all our Governor meetings are held online, which does have its benefits in reducing travel times and is also much better for the environment! This will, going forward, also be used much more for consultations and check ups within the medical divisions, again with travel and time benefits for both staff and patients.

    Don’t forget that you can also watch UHBW Board Meetings and Council of Governor meetings online, as they are broadcast live on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/UHBristolWestonNHSFT). There are also lots of other videos on our You Tube channel on all sorts of services available, from maternity to cardiac to check out while you are there. 

    As you may have seen in the last newsletter, we welcomed Jayne Mee as the new Chair to the Trust in December, after Jeff Farrar stepped down to become Chair of the Integrated Care System Board for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. On behalf of all the governors I would like to wish Jayne every success in her new role.

    Finally, don’t forget that there are also Governor elections coming up this year, so if you would like to join us and help shape our hospitals’ future, contact Sarah or Rachel at the membership team for more information on becoming a Governor. The election process starts in March, so to find out more email FoundationTrust@uhbw.nhs.uk."

    December 2021 +

    This month’s governor report comes from one of our Public Governors for Bristol.

    "Since having the enormous privilege of being elected to the Council of Governors at UHBW, I have enjoyed every last minute of learning how a Trust of this size operates and am in awe of the dedication that makes #TeamUHBW. In such a relatively short period of time, so much has changed and will continue to. In April 2020, we had the exciting merger between University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and Weston Area Health NHS Trust, and in April 2021, our Chair, Jeff Farrar went on secondment to the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care System (ICS) as their Chair. Recently, Jeff has accepted the permanent role as the Chair of the ICS and governors have been involved in the process of appointing a new Trust Chair.  Also, our Chief Executive, Robert Woolley, has decided that he will now have a well-earned retirement on 31 March 2022, so it is all change. The thing about it is, both are leaving in place effective processes and procedures and whoever comes in will inherit a healthy Board and Trust to work with, and that is testament to both Robert and Jeff. 

    Whilst the pandemic continues to hit the headlines, our heroes within the whole of UHBW, and indeed all across the whole of the NHS and social care sector, are working harder than ever to keep COVID-19 in check. You will have heard about the new variant, but we are in a stronger position now and the vaccines are helping to reduce the potency of COVID-19 for many people. If you haven’t done so yet, please get vaccinated, and if you have had the first two, when you are able to, please get the third dose or the booster.

    Keep a look out in 2022 for our Health Matters Events where you will see some of us elected governors. They are amazing events which focus on particular subjects or conditions that affect many people and you have the chance to ask questions to the professionals. We will also have Governor elections taking place from March onwards and look forward to welcoming some new Governors into the Council soon after.

    And finally, on behalf of everyone involved in the Council of Governors, I would like to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year filled with hope, joy and peace, and please stay safe."

    November 2021 +

    This month’s governor report comes from one of our Public Governors for South Gloucestershire.

    "Hello, my name is Ray, I am one of the Governor representatives for South Gloucestershire and this month I would like to present a brief view of the work we do. The Council of Governors play a key role at UHBW in helping to guide the development of services, holding the Non-executive Directors (NEDs) to account, and representing the views of our membership (this is all of you). The Council of Governors comprises elected public, elected staff and appointed Governors. They bring a mix of skills and experience together and have a commitment to contribute to our brilliant Trust in dealing with the major challenges now and in the future (a list of our Governors currently in post can be found here).

    During the past year, in addition to the work of our governor groups (which focus on strategy, quality of care and membership and constitutional issues), we have been engaged with the NEDs on the role that our Trust will play in the new Integrated Care System (ICS). Governors are now also involved in the recruitment process for a new Trust Chair, after our Chair Jeff Farrar accepted the position of Chair of the ICS for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

    Our Governor duties involve considerable amounts of reading to inform us on the matters we are dealing with. To assist us with this we have a brilliant membership support team. The team make sure our online meetings are organised, the minutes of meetings are distributed, training sessions are set up and membership analysis and recruitment is developed to ensure a balanced membership representation for each area. Health Matters Events are also organised by the team on a range of specialist subjects which the public attend, in addition to the Public Board of Directors and Council of Governors Meetings and the Annual Members’ Meeting.

    UHBW deals with approximately 100,000 attendances each year, employing around 14,000 people with approximately 100 specialties across all our hospitals. The Trust’s staff aim to deliver care with compassion and skill. Governors are very aware that the challenge to do this is considerable, particularly at these times.

    I feel privileged to know and work with my fellow Governors and the many dedicated people that we have contact with. The future is challenging but I believe working together as we do, developing new ways of operating like the ICS and involving new technologies and science, we can meet those challenges."

    October 2021 +

    This month’s governor report comes from one of our Public Governors for the Rest of England and Wales Constituency:

    “Hi, I am Hessam Amiri. I was elected as a Public Governor in July 2019. From a young age, I spent a lot of my time visiting many different hospitals as a visitor of a patient – my oldest brother Hussain. During 2014 Hussain became a governor, but unfortunately he then became increasingly ill and passed away, too soon. That’s why I decided to become a governor too and help the NHS.

    Since becoming a Governor, I have had the opportunity to be involved in some big decisions, such as the merger in 2020 of the Bristol and the Weston Trusts. Unfortunately, the hospitals were hit at the same time with COVID and the world had to radically change the way it worked. Our Governor work, for example, moved to all online meetings. It’s clear that the pandemic has made things very difficult for the hospitals and their staff, but I have learned that behind the scenes in the NHS and health sector there are so many people making sure that they provide the best service to the public even at the most difficult times. I hope I can continue as a Governor and support the Trust this year and hopefully longer too.

    I would recommend that anyone who has their own opinions about the hospitals and how things can improve or who wants to make a difference should think about becoming a Governor. I would recommend that they reach out to the Trust which is here for the benefit of everyone in Bristol, Weston and the surrounding area. Governors are here to listen to all community voices and make sure they are heard within the Trust.”

    September 2021 +

    This month’s governor report comes from one our Appointed Governors for the Joint Union Committee.

    "I remember when I attended my first Governor meeting with my fellow Governors and the Board of Directors including the Chief Executive Robert Woolley. I sat as the Joint Union Committee Governor at the end of the horse-shoe shaped table in Trust Headquarters (before COVID times)  as far apart as possible from the most senior leaders in our organisation scared I may get asked to speak, or worse even, have an opinion!

    In my 15 years as a nurse assistant and therapy technician, I never thought that I would become a Governor, that there was a place for junior staff or someone like me, a lesbian, someone with a difference. I was surrounded by all the other public, staff, and youth governors, each representing their membership and holding the Non-executive Directors to account over the Trust’s strategy. I was in good company and made to feel very welcome. However, I felt a little intimidated and unprepared in the beginning.

    Your Governors come from a broad variety of backgrounds and all bring different experiences to the role, but all have one thing in common: ensuring that the Trust invests in its people, treats them the way they deserve, with quality managers and leaders with clear and accessible goals and resources to support them.

    I came to realise that there are plenty of spaces for people from all walks of life and you shouldn’t underestimate the voice that you can bring to make a change at a very senior level. I enjoyed the camaraderie between us all, and the ability to share in the difficult decisions and the knowledge of the challenges for the future.

    I look back on my many years and attribute my increased self-worth and some of what I have to offer for the promotion I recently gained to the experiences of the Governor role. I aspire to living our values in my everyday life. I now realise how hard it is to be a senior person in an organisation, regardless of how much they are paid, and the very difficult and complex decisions and implementations of strategy they are responsible for. Challenging the Board of Directors to implement strategy takes dedication, knowledge, experience and a Governor group that can work well together, just like ours. Finally, I realised that Executives and senior people are human just like you and I, with their own struggle and their own journey.

    So to my fellow governors I say thank you for the time I have spent with you. To Sarah Murch and Rachel Hartles and Kate Hanlon (who left for different pastures) for your unerring support and calmness in the face of the huge agenda UHBW follows and what you bring to us as Governors.

    I learnt how to hold mechanisms in an organisation to account but perhaps more importantly I learnt to hold myself to account. I will miss being part of the Council of Governors, but I will be leaving to pursue my passion for the Trust in another way. So for all those junior staff, and those public members who may feel that they would not be able to be a governor, or those from protected characteristics, I say come and join us, you have a voice at UHBW. Use your voice and be part of the change!"

    Previous Council of Governors Elections

    The Trust held elections for 11 governor seats in 2021, with nominations open from 4 March - 1 April 2021, voting taking place from 27 April-21 May, and new governors taking up office on 1 June. The results of the 2021 governor elections are here.

    For more information about the governor role or the governor elections, please contact the Membership Team on foundationtrust@uhbw.nhs.uk or call 0117 34 23764.