Andrew Williams joined the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust Board as a Non-Executive Director (NED) in 2017.
Andrew is also an active volunteer with Headway, a charity for people with brain injuries which provided invaluable support to Andrew and his family when he was involved in a collision with a car whilst riding his bicycle, causing a brain injury that means he experiences ongoing cognitive problems including fatigue, concentration and memory.
“I was a patient of the NCH&C community neuro-rehabilitation team, and my team were very supportive of my applying to become an NHS NED. My role with NCH&C allows me to contribute in ways that combine experience and perspectives from my own brain injury as well as those from the diverse group I meet volunteering at the local Headway centre in Kings Lynn, together with those from my working life as a health and care manager.”
Andrew’s experience is helping to raise awareness of hidden disabilities at the most senior level in NCH&C.
“I am open about my cognitive disabilities so that people can improve their understanding of the limitations these hidden disabilities can cause and how I need to self-manage these. NCH&C has willingly and proactively recognised that I need to take short breaks every hour or so to manage fatigue and maintain concentration. There are regular opportunities for me to step out for 10 quiet minutes to take ‘brain breaks’.”
Far from being a limitation Andrew’s injury has given him a new perspective, which he is pleased he can use to positive effective in his role at NCH&C.
“Being an NHS NED has given me a sense of purpose and value in being able to fit my past life experiences into my life post-head injury.”