Roger Skipp brings a wealth of business and healthcare experience from running a number of hospitals. He is inspired by organisations that support people with mental health issues.
What background and experience do you bring to The Advocacy Project?
I’m Hospital Director at an acute surgery hospital in Sussex owned by the charity Nuffield Health. As well as hospitals, the organisation runs gyms across the country to help improve the nation’s health.
I started my career in the NHS, then ran acute medical/surgical hospitals in the private sector. Although I’ve worked for large corporations, each hospital has been a small unit: not too bureaucratic, and very focused on patient care. What I really enjoy is the feeling of looking after people – patients and their families – and them leaving in better shape than they came in.
I spent 10 years working for The Priory group in mental health, which was fascinating. On my regular walks around one of the hospitals I ran, young people would often avoid interacting with people in suits like me. I always knew when they were getting better because they would eventually start calling over “Hi Rog, how are you doing?” I found it hugely rewarding seeing their recovery.
I’m very appreciative of organisations like The Advocacy Project, who work with inpatients in hospitals. Advocates help articulate and protect the needs, desires and concerns of people who can’t do that for themselves because of their circumstances. And seeing people struggle with the social stigma around mental health has inspired me to be involved with organisations that make a difference in this way.
What do you like about The Advocacy Project?
Lots of things – particularly that the organisation is innovative, not just ticking over. The passion of the people involved means it punches above its weight. I particularly like the ways it brings people together around important topics, for example the parliamentary reception and ongoing professional seminars. The Advocacy Project is very clear in its goals and objectives, with a grounded focus on what it’s trying to achieve.
What are your areas of interest on the board – what do you bring your skills to bear on?
I’m focused on how the charity develops in terms of income streams. What interests me is how we can leverage the good work we do by bringing in more income and extending our reach without losing the effectiveness of the present organisation. One of my strengths is asking questions; making space to reflect on why and how we’re doing something, probing to help everyone come to the right conclusion.
What you do like to do in your spare time?
I’m married with two grown up step children and I love getting out and about with my family. I’m also interested in classic motoring and enjoy pottering in the garden.