Shelley’s looking out for older people

Shelly Ratcliffe - Staff Governor
Shelley at work at her desk at Green Parks House.

Concern for vulnerable older people is what prompted Shelley Ratcliffe to stand as a candidate as a trust governor. She was recently elected as a governor in the Staff Older Adult Mental Health constituency.

Shelley, 52, who is married and lives in Sevenoaks, is Ward Manager of Scadbury Ward at Green Parks House in Bromley. She trained as a nurse and spent 27 years in the private sector where she specialised as a service manager. She joined Oxleas in June 2009 and presently manages Cator Ward as well as Scadbury.

She said: “We have an ageing population in this country and often it is older people who get forgotten about, especially in a mental health setting. People like this don’t always have a voice especially if they are on a dementia ward. I hope I can represent them on the Council of Governors and make sure they get the same rights as younger people.”

Shelley also said she wanted to try to help ensure that the present restructuring of mental health services within the trust goes smoothly for staff, patients and their relatives.

Cator Ward is due to close in the near future, with patients transferring to the Woodlands Unit at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup. Shelley said she wants to try and ensure that a planned scheme to enlist the help of volunteer drivers to transport carers unable to travel independently from Bromley to Sidcup works well.

Over the past few years, the use of trust inpatient beds has reduced considerably as more people are cared for in their own homes, supported by an increased level of resource in Oxleas community older people mental health services. This has meant that our older people inpatient wards frequently have empty beds – we calculate that the average occupancy rate is now only around 70% and, on any day, we have the equivalent of a ward of empty beds across the trust.

Shelley will take up her position on the Council of Governors after the Annual Members’ Meeting on Wednesday 28 September.

Published on 9th September 2011