I get up at around 6.30am, ideally before the rest of the family wake up. I try to fit in a short burst of exercise and get ready for work. The rest of morning is the usual family chaos of finding stray bits of school uniform, PE kit and homework. I have a 30-minute drive to work listening to the news where there is usually an NHS story of interest. Once a week I get the train to work and walk up from Bache station to our offices at the Countess of Chester health park. It’s a good place to work as I am able to see many different parts of health care in action: the hospital, mental health, learning disability and GP services.
A large part of my day is in meetings, with our team of GPs and managers, other NHS organisations, the council or the voluntary sector. There is a fair bit of paperwork (increasingly done electronically) eg addressing people’s concerns and complaints and letters from local MPs.
Lunch is either a working lunch as part of a meeting or (less healthily) at my desk where I catch up with the team..
I work closely with Dr Huw Charles-Jones, a local GP who chairs the group. Our organisation covers Chester, Ellesmere Port, Neston and surrounding rural villages extending up to Willaston and down to Malpas. The diversity of our patch sometimes feels like England in miniature with city and rural communities.
I joined the NHS after university on their management training scheme over 20 years ago (which is a scary thought!) so have never actually worked on the front line seeing and treating patients. I go ‘back to the floor’ as much as possible and spend time with staff and patients to deepen my understanding of the NHS. as I commission. Our budget is some £300m which is used to pay for hospital and community services. I feel a huge responsibility to the people of west Cheshire and NHS staff to deliver the very best health care. It’s not perfect, yet but that’s my goal- best health for us all, best care for patients and best value for tax payers.
I generally get home about 6pm to have dinner with the family, help with homework and catch up on everyone’s day. I am involved in our local Scout group, I sing in a choir and probably have a late work meeting probably once a week. So evenings can be as busy as the day job. My guilty pleasures are a long bath, a glass of red wine and catching up with dramas I have recorded on TV.
We have a fairly relaxed dress code dressing smartly when I am out and about and dressing down if I have a day in the office.
What is the favourite part of your job?
Spending time with NHS staff and talking to the people we provide services to.
What is the least favourite part of your job?
Never ending red tape and bureaucracy.
What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now?
Running my own estate agency. I love dreaming the dream looking at really expensive houses on the internet.
How do you relax when you are not working?
Scouting seems to be taking over my life. My husband’s a Scout leader I help out too from time to time as well as being a committee member at our local Scout group. My kids are both Scouts too. Other than that I love catching up with my friends, reading books on my Kindle and I’m a big fan of social media. My mum, who’s 78, keeps in touch with us all via Facebook now!
What is your favourite film?
I know Where I’m Going, a quirky British romantic film from 1945!
What is your favourite book?
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It makes me cry just thinking about it.
What is your favourite song?
I love a good sing, either in my choir or car. I would probably pick a song from a musical such as ‘For Good’ from Wicked.
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you?
I have sounded out friends and family and the consensus is Miranda Hart. I think she would be great!
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet?
Maybe! I was part of a panel on BBC Radio 4 discussing the future of the NHS. It was terrifying!
●Name: Alison Lee
●Job: Chief executive officer
●Born: Wanstead, Essex
●Education: Emerson Park Comprehensive School, Hornchurch, University of Kent.
●Family: Married to Paul with two children Archie and Annabel
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