Paul Carwardine - Vice Chairman, Patient Council
My background is in veterinary medicine.
When I graduated from Edinburgh University in 1961 I went to work in an agricultural practice in North Devon for six years before moving to Torquay to join one that, as well as dealing with farm animals, included domestic pets and the inmates at Paignton Zoo. My patients ranged from gerbils to giraffes!
In 1972 I moved to Essex to join a multi national pharmaceutical company where I was involved in product development. This included the adaption of human medicines for veterinary use which brought me into close contact with the medical profession.
I later became Director of Technical Services leading a team responsible for the technical training of sales and marketing staff and providing technical support and advice for customers including the investigation of complaints and adverse reactions relating to the company's products.
I was also involved in speaking on product related topics at conferences and universities not only in the UK but also overseas.
I returned to general practice in 1992 after taking early retirement following a major re-organisation within the Company. As well as providing a locum service for local practices I ran an RSPCA clinic and provided veterinary cover for Harlow Greyhound Stadium.
I finally retired in 2010 although I still retain my membership of the RCVS.
I have been a patient in Broomfield on four occasions, the last being for prostate surgery in 2015 after which I attended an "In Your Shoes" patient feed back session. It was at this that I first heard about the Patient Council and applied to become a member.
I have found that the work the Council does is not only interesting but highly rewarding. By visiting wards and talking to patients we are able to learn of any concerns they may have about their care and help to find ways to resolve them. Likewise when feedback is positive we are able to pass this on to the ward staff concerned. I also represent patient's interests on several hospital committees.
Currently I am responsible for the mentoring and training of new members of the Council to enable us to further our aims and objectives.
I am a firm supporter of the NHS and believe that the contribution made by the Patient Council helps to improve the patient experience of the services it provides in the very challenging circumstances of today.