Sue Saville - KHPeople

The former ITV journalist brings her passion for sharing patient stories to the partnership - amplifying the patients' voice in her role as Lay Chair with KHP Cardiovascular and Respiratory Partnership.

What is your role within King’s Health Partners?

Sue SavilleI am the Lay Chair of the Patient Public Reference Group for the KHP Cardiovascular and Respiratory Partnership which has been transforming heart, lung and critical care services across King’s Health Partners since 2017.

I joined three years ago to help champion the voice of patients by chairing meetings where patients, their families, and carers come together to give their views on the Partnership’s integration plans and help inform strategy by bringing it back to what matters most to patients.

We recently reviewed how we continue to communicate and involve patients and public in the Partnership’s work, so are currently undergoing some changes. The group is in the process of coming together with the Patient Public Engagement Group based within the new Heart, Lung and Critical Care (HLCC) Clinical Group, as both groups cover similar remits.

In addition to bringing together the existing members of both groups, we are actively seeking patient, carer and family representatives from across all Partnership sites, both to join a working group to design the new patient-public engagement entity and also to be longer-term members. We are especially keen to recruit representatives from King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to ensure the group is truly representative of the Partnership. It’s an exciting time – co-designing a new group, shaping its objectives, remit, meeting arrangements and even a new name!

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I really enjoy helping those receiving KHP’s services to give voice to their experiences and insights, for the benefit of both service users and providers across the Partnership. Our members have a range of backgrounds, conditions, knowledge, and motivations which they bring to the meetings, each contributing different, but equally important, observations.

So many organisations say they want to be patient/customer-centric, but only pay lip-service – we want to really put patients and their families at the heart of the decisions taken by the Partnership – being critical friends when necessary! 

What inspired you to get into this work?

As a former Medical Correspondent at ITV News, we always tried to tell health and medical stories through a patient case study, looking at whatever the new treatment/policy/regulation would mean for the person. We are, after all, all patients, all contributors to the funding of the NHS through taxation, all eligible to receive its services.

Like so many others, I am personally hugely grateful to the NHS for what it has done for me and my family. The NHS saved my mother’s life by removing her cancer, safely brought my two offspring into the world, rebuilt my shattered spine when I broke my back horse-riding – and then removed the broken metalwork when I fractured the plates while powerboating! Taking up the Lay Chair role seemed a chance to give something back.

What are the benefits of working in partnership?

Each viewpoint adds something to the wider perspective, each voice deserves to be heard, each experience can teach and help others. By listening to each other, learning from both ‘the magic and the tragic’ we can share best practice and elevate standards and services across KHP. Embedding the patient voice is vital to the successful delivery of services; and providing channels to inform patients and families about the fantastic work going on throughout the Partnership, from research to bedside, creates a real sense of working together to achieve the best possible outcomes.

What would be your one career top tip?

Focus on your strengths – we each have abilities in different areas, find out what you most enjoy, what you do well and work on those aspects to deliver excellence in your chosen field.