Jacky Oliver, Lay Member for Patient and Public Engagement
They say behind every great man there’s a great woman; behind every NHS organisation lies a formidable network of volunteers and lay members, critical friends and people’s champions.
Jacky Oliver, from Epsom, works with Surrey Downs CCG as a Governing Body lay member for Patient and Public Engagement and sits on their Quality Committee. In a healthcare career spanning 55 years she has founded her own physiotherapy service; established a physio department in a large psychiatric hospital; managed a hospital and run a disability charity.
In her spare time she walks and gardens; is trustee of Epsom learning disability charity The Sunnybank Trust, and an advisor at her local church. Combine that with 50 years of marriage and, more recently, family carer duties and you start to understand the pedigree of the highly valued and essential lay member community that underpins the National Health Service.
“I had an amazing aunt who was a medical missionary in Peru and my childhood hero so I always wanted to work in the NHS in some way, to follow her example,” says Jacky.
“My role at the CCG is to ensure the best interests of potential and existing patients are key to all the activities and decisions of the Governing Body. To achieve this, I try to keep connected to a number of groups of people to hear their thoughts and perspectives.
“I am especially keen in the interests of isolated elderly people, the traveller community, people with mental health challenges and those living with learning disabilities. This involves attending some consultation events, sitting on various committees and planning boards, including Surrey Downs’ Quality Committee. I also like to read widely on current trends in medical provision.
“The best aspect of my lay role on the Governing Body is being in a position to speak for others. I am committed to the concept of the NHS and want it to be driven by quality care and not just financial expedience. I think the NHS is a great institution and I am optimistic about its future, but we need to re-imagine its shape to be an affordable fit for modern culture and medical advances.”
And what of her own personal ambitions? “I’m pretty fulfilled! I’ve had a long career and travelled widely but I do like to keep busy. I want to wear out rather than rust out!”