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Become a governor at UHBW and help make a difference in your community

Last updated: 02/03/2023

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) is looking for members of the public to join the Trust’s Council of Governors.

As a Foundation Trust, our elected governors help to ensure the Trust is publicly accountable for the services we provide. Governors play a key role at UHBW in shaping the future of the organisation, 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.

This year we are looking for 8 public governors to represent the following areas:

  • Bristol: 4 seats
  • South Gloucestershire: 1 seat
  • North Somerset: 3 seats

Nominations are open from Thursday 2 March to Thursday 30 March. You can apply via the online portal. Please see the details below on who is eligible to become a governor.

If you would like to learn more about being a UHBW governor, please join us at one of our online or face-to-face events:

Thursday 16 March, 12.30pm to 1.30pm – Bristol Royal Infirmary Welcome Centre

Tuesday 21 March, 11.30am to 12.30pm – Weston General Hospital, Rafters restaurant

Wednesday 22 March, 12.30pm to 1.30pm – join the online meeting

Tuesday 28 March, 4pm to 5pm – join the online meeting

Jayne Mee, UHBW Chair said: “Our governors make sure the views of patients, carers and staff are represented and considered, and they play a key part in ensuring the Trust is effectively run.

We would encourage you to think carefully about this interesting opportunity, which does involve a time commitment but would give you the chance to represent your community and make a positive contribution to the Trust.”

Please see the information below for more details. If you have any questions, please email: FoundationTrust@uhbw.nhs.uk or call 0117 342 3764.

UHBW staff interested in standing for one of the staff governor seats can find out more in Newsbeat and on the intranet.

What is a governor? +

At the heart of an NHS Foundation Trust model is local accountability. A Foundation Trust must have a membership, and patients and local people who want to get more involved in their local health service can sign up to become Foundation Trust Members. Staff are also automatically members unless they choose to opt-out.

Public and staff members can elect governors to represent them on the Trust’s Council of Governors. This means that as a Foundation Trust we are accountable to the local community, the patients we care for and the staff we employ.

The governor role is a voluntary position which helps to make the Trust publicly accountable for the services we provide. Governors have various powers and duties (training is provided), but the two key duties are:

  • To represent the views of members and the public, particularly in relation to the Trust’s strategic direction.
  • To hold the non-executive directors to account for the performance of the Board of Directors.

Governors do not get involved in the day-to-day running of the hospitals.

Why would I want to be a governor? +

Our governors tell us that they find their role hugely rewarding and enjoy the opportunity to help to bring about positive change at the Trust. Whilst the role can be demanding it is also interesting, and governors have a unique perspective of the hospitals and the NHS. Working alongside fellow governors is also a great way to meet new people and feel part of a team.

We want to encourage a diverse Council of Governors to ensure we understand and respond to the different needs of the communities that our hospitals serve. We will do our utmost to provide support to those with particular needs, for example, ensuring that visually impaired governors can access information and material and ensuring that meetings are wheelchair-accessible and have appropriate facilities.

Who is eligible to become a governor? +

Anyone can become a hospital governor and no particular experience or qualifications are required, although you must be 16 years of age or over and be an existing Foundation Trust member. You don't need to have been a patient at the hospital, and if you aren't a member at the moment you can join for free today.

There are certain exceptions - you could be disqualified from being a governor for several reasons including bankruptcy or recent criminal convictions, for example. Our constitution lists the exclusions in more detail and you can view the Trust's constitution on the reports and publications page.