The Welsh Ambulance Service is to bid farewell to one of its Executive Directors after almost 40 years of service in the NHS in Wales.
Claire Bevan, the Trust’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, has had a long and distinguished career which began as a specialist in cardiac nursing at Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales, where she was a ward sister who helped to train the first cohort of paramedics in Wales.
With a nursing degree under her belt, Claire went on to hold senior leadership and management positions in health boards in Wales across a range of specialities in secondary, primary and community care, including directorate management and divisional nursing roles.
Claire’s passion for improving the experience and outcomes for patients, carers and staff was strengthened through her Master’s degree in Leadership for Health Services Improvement.
Prior to joining the Welsh Ambulance Service, she was an Assistant Director for Quality Improvement and Clinical Governance at Cwm Taf University Health Board.
Since joining the Trust in 2016, Claire has strengthened the focus on quality across the Trust with partners and within the Quality, Safety and Patient Experience Directorate.
She has developed new functions and roles for Quality Improvement, Quality Assurance, Mental Health, Dementia, Older People, Falls and Public Health.
Claire is the Executive lead for the Trust’s Quality, Patient Experience and Safety Committee and Quality Steering Group and also heads up the Patient Experience and Community Involvement Team, whose role is to engage with the public about the services we provide.
Claire will retire from the service tomorrow, on 31 December. She said: “It has been a privilege to have worked with so many inspirational colleagues across NHS Wales and key partners over the last 37 years.
“My philosophy of care has always been to put staff first to ensure that our patients get the best care possible.
“I am so proud of the quality developments we have lead on in the Welsh Ambulance Service to make improvements to the experience of patients, carers and staff across Wales.
“Thank you to all our staff who put patients at the centre of everything we do every day, delivering dignified and compassionate care whilst supporting people across Wales.”
Meanwhile, Claire Roche has been appointed the new Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, and will take up the post from 01 January 2020.
Claire has been the Trust’s Assistant Director of Quality Governance since 2016 and also has an impressive career spanning 30 years, beginning as a staff nurse at Cardiff’s Llandough Hospital.
She qualified as a midwife in 1994 and worked for 16 years in frontline midwifery services in South Wales before being later appointed as the Senior Midwifery Manager at the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, working at both Nevill Hall and the Royal Gwent Hospitals.
In 2014, she joined Public Health Wales and established the Maternity Network Wales, leading the Safer Pregnancy campaign to reduce stillbirth rates in Wales and also introducing a number of key patient safety programmes.
Claire has extensive experience in senior leadership roles for quality assurance, quality improvement, clinical standards, patient safety, safeguarding and risk management.
In her role as Assistant Director for the Trust, Claire has developed a ‘Falls Framework’ which sets out the service’s response to people who have fallen; from prevention to avoiding further harm.
She has also led the Trust’s Improvement and Innovation Network (WIIN) to support staff to develop their improvement ideas, and has led the organisation’s transition to the use of electronic risk registers to ensure effective risk management, identifying improvement priorities.
She said: “I’m thrilled and privileged to be stepping into the Executive Director role, although Claire’s are big shoes to fill.
“I’m entering this role at one of the busiest periods for the ambulance service, so my priority is to support colleagues at a time of increased system pressures to keep patients well.
“2020 is the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and Midwife, so my other priority is to raise of the profile of nursing among the public and partners because not everybody understands the role of nurses in the ambulance service.
“Nurses provide important skills in the ambulance service, working diligently from our NHS Direct Wales and 111 control rooms to offer ‘Hear and Treat’ advice and information over the telephone to patients, and signposting them to a more appropriate alternative to 999.”
Commenting upon Claire Bevan’s departure, Jason Killens, Chief Executive at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Claire leaves behind an incredible legacy which we are hugely proud of and grateful for.
“Quality is at the heart of everything we do as an ambulance service and Claire, through her work, has been a trailblazer in shaping this approach.
“It’s clear to everyone that meets Claire that she has the patient at the forefront of her mind at all times — helped, I suspect, by her grounding as a nurse.
“On behalf of the organisation, I’d like to thank Claire for her service to NHS Wales and wish her a healthy and happy retirement.”
On the appointment of Claire Roche, Jason added: “We are delighted to have appointed Claire Roche to the Executive Director role, building on Claire Bevan’s excellent work.
“Claire is a highly-regarded member of our organisation who also boasts an impressive nursing career, and we look forward to her raising her profile and steering the ship.”
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