Trust Membership Office
Unit D, Hermitage Court
Kent ME16 9NT
Why sign up to be a member?
NHS foundation trusts are like co-operatives where local people, patients and staff can become members. They elect a Council of Governors that holds the trust to account.
Everyone’s motivation for becoming a member is different.
You might just have had a baby and be passionate about helping make sure children’s NHS services are the very best they can be.
Maybe your granddad or friend has just recovered in a community hospital after a fall and you’d like to tell us about their experience.
You might simply just love your local NHS and want to help us make it the best it can be!
Here are five of our top reasons to sign up:
- You get to have your say on local NHS services.
- We have more financial freedom to spend money on services you need.
- You will get NHS discounts in high street stores, restaurants and attractions.
- You’ll be kept up-to-date with improvements and changes to local NHS services.
- You can be involved as much or as little as you want in many different ways.
Membership is open to anyone aged 14-years-old and over. Members aged 16-years-old and over may vote in governor elections or stand for election as a governor. If you’re aged 14 or 15 you will need your parent or guardian’s consent to become a member.
The trust has 13 public constituencies, 12 that mirror our local council boundaries and one constituency for the rest of England. Members of the public will become part of the constituency in which they live.
For people who work for Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, there are four constituencies that reflect the way the organisation operates. Employees automatically become members unless they choose to opt out.
There is no payment for being a member of a foundation trust.
How can I get involved?
Getting involved is easy. You can do as little or as much as you like. You will have more of a say in the future of our services, through the Council of Governors, which works closely with the Trust Board. Members can receive our magazine, Community Health, which is published quarterly.
There are five ways to be involved; you can:
- take part in surveys and questionnaires from time to time
- comment on our information leaflets
- come to public meetings or events and share your views
- join panels or working groups
- stand for election as a governor.
We realise not everybody can get out to events or meetings, so we’ll make sure there are other ways for you to have your say.
Members can register for NHS discounts, giving you money off in high street stores, restaurants and attractions. Visit health service discounts to find out more.
You cannot become a member of the trust if, in the past five years, you have been involved in an act of assault, violence or harassment against any NHS staff or volunteers. You cannot become a member if you have been convicted of offences against children or vulnerable adults.
What do our members have to say?
We have members of all different ages, from lots of different communities and from a wide variety of backgrounds. Here, you can read their stories.
My experience of the NHS spans many decades, but things are very different these days. I first trained as a nurse back in 1962 before progressing in my profession to become a qualified midwife. Soon after qualifying I worked in Thanet, then moved to Ashford to work at the Willesborough maternity hospital, before the William Harvey Hospital was built. Many years later I decided to become a health visitor to work with children from birth to school age, and their families, in the community.
Despite having retired from my profession quite a few years ago, much of my time has still been spent in the NHS. As a public governor for the hospitals trust in east Kent I see myself as a link between my local community of Ashford and the services all of the NHS trusts in Kent provide. I think it’s really important to keep the public updated and informed of what’s going on or changing in the NHS.
Having done all the paid jobs, I decided to take time to look at the wider community. This is why I signed up to be a member of the Trust and joined the Patient Engagement Network. I sit on the Patient Experience Committee (PEC) as a public and patient representative. I feed into this meeting what I hear in the community and feel my role is to help enforce what the Trust is doing and the services it provides. I’m also part of the Medicines Management Group which looks at the safe use of medication in the community and have been invited to sit on the clinical audit and end of life steering groups too. So, as you can see I spread myself out quite a bit, but that’s because I truly feel my comments are taken seriously and acted upon where necessary to create better outcomes for patients.
I really think my involvement has made a difference. I’ve been able to use my professional knowledge of what’s out there, not just in relation to health, but economically and socially too. People have said to me: “If you hadn’t told me that, I would never have known.” I very much enjoy my involvement too because I see, first-hand, the difference it is making to people in the community.
I’d like to encourage as many people to become members of the trust as possible. You don’t have to pay and you get valuable information and hear what’s going on. The more informed and empowered patients are to make their own decisions the better.
I decided to join the trust to try and help people, particularly the elderly. Many elderly people simply aren’t aware of KCHT, what it does or how it can support them in their own home. I thought it would be good to meet new people too. I try and do as much as I can to get involved and help people, whether that’s related to healthcare or not.
My main involvement with the trust has been as one of two patient representatives on the Falls Committee. We give our opinions from the patient’s perspective, suggesting any changes or improvements. We also make sure the group focusses on patients, which is of utmost importance. Last year, we created a leaflet about falls which I distributed around Gravesend. I think getting information to the elderly about falls is vital. I’ve also taken part in patient-led assessments of some of Kent’s community hospitals. I have to say I was very impressed! The staff are very caring and the food on offer to the patients is excellent.
I absolutely feel that my involvement has made a difference and I thoroughly enjoy it too. The opportunities to meet and work with such enthusiastic and patient-focussed staff is very rewarding.
I’d urge anyone to at least sign up as a member of the trust. There’s no obligation to do anything if you don’t want to. You can choose how you want to be involved and do as little or as much as you like. Even receiving the Community Health magazine, which all members do, will keep you up-to-date with what’s going on and informed of any improvements to services that are being made.