One of the statutory duties of the Council of Governors is to appoint the chair and non-executive directors and to determine their remuneration. In most cases, non-executive directors are appointed for three-year terms with an option to renew for a further three years. Following that, if the council wishes, three one-year extensions can be made.
These appointments are very important. As governors we need to be confident that the non-executive directors have the right skills and competencies to hold the Board to account. We are very fortunate and over the last four or five years our non-executive directors have contributed significantly to the progress of the Trust, and Helen and Bal are welcome additions.
One of the great privileges of being lead Governor is participation in the annual staff excellence awards. I recently sat on a panel of judges charged with selecting the winners of the various categories. This is a tremendously difficult process with so many outstanding nominations and it is truly heart-warming to read of the extraordinary lengths that staff and volunteers go to on behalf of patients and one another.
Like volunteers, public governors are unpaid and put in many hours a week representing the views of our members who elected us. Most of us, in some way or other, are dedicated to the NHS and want to give something back by way of support, recognising that it is one of our most precious institutions which should not be taken for granted.
My grandmother died in a workhouse hospital in north-west England. I listened to my parents and other relatives talking about health care prior to 1947. My father was one of the earliest recipients of successful radiotherapy for bladder cancer at Christies in Manchester in 1961. The Trust now has one of the most sophisticated linear accelerators for cancer treatment in the UK. We have come a long way in just three generations. We need to make sure that future generations continue to benefit from the National Health Service.