We have now recruited the seven Citizen Ambassadors who will work with Surrey Heartlands to ensure the voices of the people are heard when it comes to designing health and social care services. And their first outing was to Woking to meet and hear from Annie Laverty, Director of Patient Experience at Northumbria Healthcare, who is an expert in the field of patient and public involvement and who has also worked with the King’s Fund and the Health Foundation.

Annie recalled her own experience of being a patient and her fear of losing control in that situation. She also emphasised the need to see things from the point of view of NHS staff and the value of patient experience ‘captured in the moment’.

She said: “Our approach has always been about understanding what matters most to our patients, encouraging our teams to own and lead improvements and to foster a positive mind set to make things even better.”

Over several years Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has developed what is now widely recognised as one of the most comprehensive programmes of capturing patient experience anywhere in the NHS.

Next stop for our Citizen Ambassadors is a series of meetings with their workstream programme managers. The workstreams they will be associated with are Cancer, Women & Children, Mental Health, Out-of-Hospital, Cardiovascular, Musculoskeletal and Digital.