Healthwatch Wandsworth Committee Candidates

Healthwatch Wandsworth is guided by our Healthwatch Committee. At our event on 29th September our Healthwatch Wandsworth members will be electing new members to our committee.

Healthwatch Wandsworth is guided by our Healthwatch Committee.

At our event on 29th September our Healthwatch Wandsworth members will be electing new members to our committee. You will be a member if you receive our newsletter directly from us. Read more about the candidates before the event Elena, Haren, Michael, Sara and Sue below.

Elena Narinskaya

I’m keen to contribute actively to Healthwatch Wandsworth as a Committee member (and as a volunteer).   My academic background is in research (see below), and in addition I have practical experience as a volunteer (including in a psychiatric hospital, with special needs children and with vulnerable adults).  

There are several areas where I believe I could support the organisation, at the strategic and practical levels.  I’d be particularly keen to help champion research into new opportunities for user voices in key areas such as mental health, dentistry, maternity and fertility services, through interviewing, media contacts and round table discussions.  

I have experience working as a volunteer / trustee in the Charitable organisations in Oxford, e.g. Florence Park Community Centre and St John the Baptist Orthodox Christian Fellowship, one being a community run service for the Oxford City Council, and another one being an educational charity. I also worked in Cambridge Advocacy with vulnerable people, and in North America and Russia in special needs facilities. Working on various committees gave me experience of team work, committee work and trustees work.

I have experience working for the media and with the media. I am also a trained academic researcher in the field of Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I can learn and relate to new contexts of religious minority groups and relate to their needs. I am not trained in statistical analysis, but in working with people, texts and their interpretations. Religious dialogue is another area of my academic and professional experience. Organising conferences, round table discussions, building up educational initiatives for the public and carrying them through years.

Declaration of interests: None 

Haren Thillainathan

I am seeking election to the committee because I am passionate about ensuring health and social care delivers for the full diversity of Wandsworth's residents. Covid-19 exposed a number of new challenges for certain groups and I want to make sure these are reflected in Healthwatch Wandsworth's future priorities.

I have been in the are for over 20 years in Battersea, Earlsfield and Tooting. Having lived with a congenital eye condition, becoming blind and then rehabilitating to life without sight, I have an appreciation of patient and client needs across health and social care. As a member of the London Sight Loss Council i advocate on behalf of the capital's blind and partially sighted community including on health and wellbeing matters. My recent experience includes working with Wandsworth Council in developing its Sensory Impairment Strategy and the CCG on accessibility of Covid testing sites.

My career comprises over two decades in the UK energy sector at a senior management level in public and private organisations. I have extensive experience of working in strong corporate governance environments with accountability for delivering key objectives.

It will be my privilege to serve the residents of Wandsworth as a Healthwatch Committee member if elected. 

Declaration of interests: None 

Michael Oliver

In March I had to retire (statutory age limit) after 50 years in overlapping careers, starting with television journalism (much covering the Northern Ireland troubles), criminal practice after reading for the Bar in my spare time and spending considerable time as a judge in the mental health tribunal (25 years) and immigration/asylum tribunal (19 years).

I therefore have a wide experience of people from all walks of life and a particular interest in mental health. I have had a fulfilled life and now want to give back. I have lived in the same Wandsworth house with my wife for 45 years and know my own local community well.

I accept that I would be starting on this new project afresh and without specific experience beyond many hearings in local hospitals, but I have faced this situation at several points in my career hitherto, and look forward to busying myself and making myself useful. 

I like to think I am a quick learner and get on well with colleagues and with clients and patients. In this role I would hope to develop a hands-on position and am particularly attracted by the possibilities in "enter and view" to check on standards.

Declaration of interests: None 

Sara Turner

My family and I have lived in Wandsworth for 42 years and have benefited from local health services. For 32 years l worked in the NHS as a clinical psychologist, spending 21 years working at Springfield Hospital where I led psychology services for older people. Earlier I worked with younger adults and people with learning disabilities. I researched differences in local South Asian and white older people's understanding of depression and dementia.

Since 2013 I have been a volunteer with Healthwatch Wandsworth and a member of its Enter &View team. The team visits a wide range of local health and social care facilities to learn about people's experiences of care and make recommendations for improvement. My career and my volunteering have given me valuable insights into the needs of Wandsworth's population.

I appreciate the importance of Healthwatch in representing and advocating for the ordinary citizen and especially ensuring that groups which find it hard to make their voices heard are consulted.My professional experience has shown me the importance of good teamwork and robust governance processes in ensuring sound and creative decision-making. I believe that my experience would help me to contribute to the HW Committee's decisions on future strategies for Healthwatch Wandsworth.

Declaration of interests: 
1976 to 2009 I was employed as a Clinical Psychologist in the NHS including at SWLSTG Mental Health Trust (1988-2009, when I retired)
2010 I did a specific piece of work for the Trust on a freelance basis
2009-2014 I continued to offer clinical supervision to a former colleague on an honorary basis.
2010-11 I worked on a freelance basis for Richmond borough Council.
2011-15 I was a Trustee for Ladder to the Moon, a charity and social enterprise working with older people in care homes
2021 I am a member of Thurleigh Road Practice Patient Participation Group
I am a member of the British Psychological Society and am bound by professional codes of practice in any work as a clinical psychologist.

Sue Stern

I would like to be on the committee because I think Healthwatch has a vital role in representing patients' views and experiences to policy makers. I am committed to ensuring that the patient voice is heard and have been the Chair of Thurleigh Road Patient Group for 4 years, charting the difficult balance between patients' concerns and the pressures on Practice staff. Our group ran a wellbeing group for isolated patients, and we are currently trying to extend our representation basis by establishing a virtual group of patients to whom we can circulate information and canvas opinion.

I have an MA in Public and Social administration which taught me how to write and understand research reports and analyse data.

I bring over thirty years' experience of working in multidisciplinary settings as a social worker and manager in the NHS and local authorities with specialist interests in mental health and child protection. I managed the day care service for disadvantaged children in Wandsworth and then went to central government as a Special Adviser to Sure Start and the regulation of children's day care.

I also bring life experience to the role, having brought up a family in Wandsworth and cared for very elderly parents, one of whom was eventually in a nursing home. 

Declaration of interests: 
During my career before retirement I was sequentially employed by the boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Wandsworth and was seconded to the DFEE as a Special Advisor.

I am currently Chair of Thurleigh Road Patient Group.

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