Former BBC journalist Bob Lloyd-Smith (pictured above) has been appointed Chair of the Healthwatch Gloucestershire Local Board.

Healthwatch Gloucestershire listens to what people think about local health and care services, what’s working well and what could be improved.  These views are then shared with the decision-making organisations in the county, to help shape local services for the better.

Bob’s passion for improving mental health services led him on the path towards taking the position as Chair.  He explains: “When I left the BBC, I gained a university master’s degree in Psychology and for the last few years I have been a Mental Health Act Manager with the 2gether NHS Foundation Trust in Gloucestershire, The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and the Priory Private Hospital in Bristol.

“Healthwatch Gloucestershire representatives are invited to some of the most important and influential decision-making meetings which are discussing health and social care provision across the county.  Money is tight and so clever and cost-effective new ways of working are always emerging from the commissioners and care providers, so we need to hear about what that’s like in terms of patient and carer experience.”

Bob went on the recent Campervan and Comments Tour, where Healthwatch Gloucestershire travelled more than 400 miles across the county to hear people’s views on health and care services.  He said, “The top three issues most talked about were mental health services, access to GPs and transport to medical appointments.”

Bob is also Chair of Governors at a Primary School in Cheltenham so he takes a particular interest in the development and welfare of children.  “The ACEs movement in Gloucestershire (Adverse Childhood Experiences) is one excellent example of multi-agency working across the county to help give young people a better start”.

Paul Lefever, Chair of Evolving Communities – the parent community interest company of Healthwatch Gloucestershire, said: “One of the key roles of the Local Board will be to agree the priorities for Healthwatch Gloucestershire.  Bob’s experience and passion to work with local people to shape local health and care services is a great asset to us.”

For more information on Healthwatch Gloucestershire or to find out how to volunteer with the organisation call 01452 504989, email info@healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk or visit healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk.