Governor Shirley Moon’s blog

Hi, my name is Shirley Moon, and I am a publicly elected governor of Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for north-east Milton Keynes. I worked at the hospital for over 12 years before taking early retirement at the end of 2019.

21 September 2023

A Year as an MKUH Governor

By Shirley Moon

I am one of 13 current Public Governors who are elected by people who have become members of the Trust to represent a geographical area of Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. There are also 7 Staff Governors elected to represent the various professional groups, as well as three Appointed Governors who represent Milton Keynes City Council, Healthwatch MK and the city’s business leaders. With two current governor vacancies, that makes 26 Governor seats in total. I’m coming to the end of the second year of my three-year term, and I could stand for up to three terms if I wish to – assuming I get elected each time!

So, what does a year look like for a governor? We have a meeting pretty much every month, some are formal meetings where we have the opportunity to hear presentations from staff around the Trust about the services provided, and where we can examine information and ask questions of the Trust Board. Governors have a responsibility to represent their members by holding the non-executive Board members to account, who in turn hold the executives to account. This means looking at Board papers and thinking about what questions local people might want to ask, and whether we are assured that the management of the Trust is in good hands. As well as the formal meetings we also have informal meetings just for governors, to give us a forum to talk about things we are doing.

Governors are also invited to attend the annual members meeting and we are part of the process for approving the Trust’s Annual Report. This also gives us a chance to meet our members and listen to their thoughts about the Trust – and be their voice if necessary.

Governors have the opportunity to try and improve the level of membership by encouraging local people to join (staff are automatically members unless they opt out) and to attend events like local carnivals and fairs, visit schools, businesses or places of worship. So far, I’ve signed up around 100 people at these events. I’m also on the Membership and Engagement group, which meets quarterly, to get ideas about how we can reach more people. This year I also had a fascinating tour of Hotel Services that I was lucky enough to be invited to.

The governors come from all walks of life, many have become governors because they have had some experience of the hospital, are grateful for the help they received, and want to give back. I used to work at the hospital and was able to retire early but wanted to use my knowledge to benefit both the hospital and local people.

I have found that being a governor requires certain abilities: being confident to meet people and not be afraid to speak up; being willing to undertake the statutory responsibilities; having the time to read and reflect on the papers and attend the meetings; and being an ideas person is useful too!

I’d like to encourage staff to connect with their governor and talk about things you are concerned about, passionate about, or want to ask questions about. Also encourage your family and friends to become members so they can vote for their own governor.

To sign up as a member of MKUH (it’s free and takes 60 seconds), please click here.

For more information on members and Governors, please click here.

6 July 2023

On Saturday I was at Newport Pagnell carnival, with Trust colleague Lui, to try to get new members for the Trust. Fortunately, this year, we had excellent weather and the crowds were out to enjoy the festivities – particularly the daredevil antics of Superman and Spiderman in the main arena! As this was also the week that the NHS turned 75 years old it was great to meet people who had positive stories of being helped by NHS services and those who worked in different areas of healthcare. There were also some hospital colleagues on one of the floats as well as staff raising money for the hospital charity.

We were pleased to be able to welcome 20 new members who signed up on the day. This is a great way to support the NHS. Being a member is completely free, you get information about what’s happening in the hospital periodically, but most importantly it gives the hospital the opportunity to make connections with local people to help shape services.

I’m proud to have worked for the NHS, and to now be serving local people as a governor – here’s to another 75 years full of innovation to improve patient experience and health outcomes!

Signing up as a member of our Trust takes 60 seconds, and you can do it by clicking here.

Why did I decide to become a governor?

Last year I saw information that governors were wanted for the Trust and, being passionate about the NHS, I thought it sounded like an interesting way to get involved with the Trust again and put my experience to some use.

Publicly elected governors represent Trust members who live in their constituency and help to give them a voice. The role of a governor also involves challenging the Board of Directors and holding the non-executive directors to account for the performance of the Board. That’s the formal part; the fun bit is that we get to meet lots of people in all sorts of places and promote the Trust. For example, as governor, recently I’ve been out and about at events in my constituency, attending Newport Pagnell Carnival in July 2022 and, prior to that, Strawberry Fayre. And I’ve just started a project to help increase Trust membership amongst young people over 16 in local schools, so more on that in the autumn. Governors can get as involved as they wish, so there’s plenty of scope to bring your own talents and interests to the role.

Who am I?

I started in the Trust as a Clinical Governance Facilitator back when that kind of role was a fairly new thing (so you can blame me for a lot of those governance structures!). Then I became a business manager for Core Clinical Division, and then finally the Apprenticeship Manager. While in the Trust I was supported to complete qualifications in management and leadership coaching. I then started teaching coaching skills for managers and set up the Trust’s coaching service which continues to offer coaching to all staff. I also drew on my decades of experience in a range of industries to teach a number of management and leadership courses in the Trust. As an Apprenticeship Manager and as a coach and trainer, I really enjoyed helping people to grow their knowledge and careers.

My personal values are excellence, creativity and honour.

Getting out and about and meeting people – July 2022

One of the fun things about being a governor is meeting people. Recently I attended two events in Newport Pagnell to help the Trust to recruit more members. The first was the Strawberry Fayre, which turned out to be a lovely day which was great for all the families to browse the stalls and watch the dancing and activities in the central ring. The Trust have purchased a new gazebo for doing events, so a few days before we had fun working out how to erect it. At 3m x 3m, not the easiest task – pop-up? I don’t think so! The second event was Newport Pagnell Carnival. The procession of floats passed right behind the gazebo, so it was fun to watch. There was also jousting and other events in the main ring, as well as the funfair and stalls. We managed to sign up around 100 people as new members, which was great, as we need as many people as possible to add their support and give a voice to local concerns.

Why become a member?

Trust membership is open to anyone over 16 and living in the hospital catchment area. Members get to vote for a public governor to represent their area. They receive newsletters about the Trust and may be asked to participate in surveys to help the Trust improve services. Members can attend the annual members meeting if they wish, and meet their governor if they have comments or concerns they want to raise. As a perk, members also get access to a discount website which offers money off a huge range of services and online stores.

If you would like to contact me on any matter then please use [email protected]

If you are interested in becoming a Trust member, or running for a governor post, then please contact the Trust Secretariat via email at [email protected]

We look forward to hearing from you!