The chair of Healthwatch Wiltshire has retired after five and a half years of passionate and dedicated voluntary service to the local health and social care sector.

Chris Graves

Chris, from Devizes, (pictured) headed up Healthwatch Wiltshire since its inception in 2012 and later Evolving Communities – its parent community interest company. She was responsible for strategic decisions and ensuring the views of the public were heard in any decisions on local health and care services.

Chris, who previously had a career in social care and was the Director of Wiltshire Council’s Strategy and Commissioning for Adult Services, now plans to spend more time with her family including her three grandchildren.

She said: “I originally joined Healthwatch planning to spend just a year setting it up, so my retirement is long overdue!

“I will miss the incredible staff team I have worked with over these years, they have been the most inspirational people I have worked with. It’s been a privilege as well to work with such a great group of volunteers who bring so much enthusiasm and commitment to the Healthwatch mission.

“It’s also been a highlight to see the change of attitude amongst paid workers in the local health and care sector who now genuinely try and get Healthwatch involved in health and care decisions.”

Paul Lefever, Board Director at Evolving Communities, said; “Chris will be sorely missed. She steered the board and staff in the early days and throughout its subsequent operations to ensure Healthwatch Wiltshire CIC was a robust and caring organisation, with the wellbeing of the user of health and social care at its heart.

“She went on tirelessly to promote those same values in the Healthwatch organisations in Gloucestershire and Somerset. Chris played a crucial part in building and maintaining relationships with key individuals across the health and care spectrum to ensure the voice of patients and the public were heard.

“Chris always ensured Healthwatch Wiltshire had a seat at the right table so that patients were represented. She also had a great commitment and dedication to the volunteers whom she saw as crucial to the success of the delivery of Healthwatch and brought with her vast knowledge and experience of health and social care. We wish her well in a long and happy retirement!

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