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Date: 28 May 2017
The interview below was conducted prior to the new hospital move.
What is your role as Chief Executive for UHB Charities?
I joined the charity in February this year to really try and get UHB Charities supporting the work of our hospitals in a more proactive manner, and so I have been working on trying to increase the level of grants whilst also working with the Trust to relaunch public fundraising.
I act as the link person between UHB and the charity's Trustees, who have to understand what is happening across the Trust in order to know what the priorities for funding should be.
I also assess the grant applications we receive, which can be for research, equipment or staff education, but always have to demonstrate how they will benefit our patients.
How will UHB Charities be supporting Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham?
The new QEHB will be an iconic structure in Birmingham, but I don't want it to just be known as a nice building.
It is important that UHB Charities can play a role in supporting the drive for excellence in care by providing grants for those things that really make the difference and can't be funded by the NHS.
The charity's sole aim is to help improve patient welfare across the Trust, and so we are currently talking to the Trust to see if there are any major items of state of the art equipment that we could provide for QEHB.
But we'll also continue to provide lots of smaller grants across the hospital. UHB Charities provide grants of up to £70,000 for medical research with a clear benefit to patients. Our latest call for applications saw 33 applications submitted, for nearly £1.8 million in total. We will be announcing the grants that were successful in July, and we intend to issue another call for research grants in October. The new QEHB will continue to be a focal point for research and the charity will continue to support world-class research.
Staff training and education is another major element of UHB Charities' support, and we will be funding lots of new projects at QEHB to ensure staff can give patients the best healthcare possible. For instance, we have just enabled over 60 junior doctors to attend a national trauma conference, helping them develop the skills needed to work as a team in a busy trauma environment.
UHB Charities will also support the building itself, again with the things that the NHS is unable to provide funding for, and we are talking to the Trust about the new outpatient waiting areas and how we can make them as comfortable and relaxing as possible.
How is UHB Charities evolving?
There have been a lot of changes over the past few months at the charity.
I mentioned we were relaunching public fundraising, and we now have two members of staff working exclusively on that. Anne Waller moved into the charity from UHB's Communications Team in January, and Noel Cramer joined the charity from Cancer Research UK in June. Between them, they will be looking to increase the charity's income to just under £2.5 million in 2009/10.
We're also trying to increase our levels of grants and be more visible across the Trust. Last year we only managed to issue £1.5 million of grants. This year, we're going to be a lot more challenging and try and double that to £3 million.
UHBFT has a large part to play in that – by identifying the areas of support most needed, and by helping us get our messages across to staff and patients. This is why articles like this are so important, and we work closely with the Communications Team, who have been first class.
How can staff get involved with UHB Charities?
Most importantly, by talking to us!
One of the things I really want to know, is if UHB Charities can support you, your ward, department or medical specialty through our grant programmes. I am spending a lot of my time going around the hospitals talking to people and understanding more about the Trust, but there's one of me and over 6,000 of you – so if you've got a great idea please come and talk to me or drop me a line.
I'm also really keen to come out to meet you, so if you have a team meeting and you'd like to hear more about UHB Charities, I'd love to come along.
We're also keen to support you in having a good time and raising some funds for your area or the hospitals. We organise a number of events throughout the year, from charity balls to 5k runs, from abseils to swims. We're even putting together a team to run the Birmingham Half Marathon on 11 October, and if I can run it, anyone can! You can find out more about our events by reading In the Loop each week, or looking on our Web site.
But we can also offer you advice and support on events you're interested in. For example, we supported RCDM when they wanted to organise a Fun Day for Armed Forces Day, and we've helped lots of staff set up online sponsorship pages.
Please feel free to contact any of the team:
Tel: 0121 627 5753
What are the most rewarding elements of your job?
For me, it's being so close to the actual beneficiaries of the charity's grants. I've run grant making programmes at other organisations where you're really just dealing with third parties and hardly ever see the real benefits.
At UHB Charities, we're working alongside the people who will be using the equipment we've funded on patients, or who can tell me what difference the training they've done will have on their patient care.
I can meet patients whose lives will be changed by the research being carried out at the Trust and the University.
Our motto is making the difference together. And that's really true. UHB Charities can't do anything on its own – we need to work with staff across the Trust, and I'm really enjoying working with truly inspiring people dedicated to improving patient welfare.
What are the priorities for UHB Charities over the next year?
I think I've mentioned a lot already, but I would like to look back in 12 months and be astounded at how much we'd done.
I really want us to be able to prove to donors and supporters exactly what we are doing to support the new QEHB and how we intend to support the hospital in the years ahead.
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