Two recovering bowel cancer patients have helped recruit a pair of specialist nurses at Colchester General Hospital.
Janet Brazier and Bryan Bellars, who are members of the Gastro-Intestinal Cancer Support Group (GICS), suggested questions to the interview panel, observed the interviews and had a say in who was eventually hired.
Their involvement marks the first time that former patients have helped in the recruitment of staff at Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital.
Nurse consultant Anna Wordley, who was a member of the three-strong interview panel for two clinical nurse specialist posts, came up with the idea of involving cancer patients in the decision-making process.
She said: “There’s a lot of talk nationally about making the health service more patient-centred and I thought a good way to help achieve this was to involve former patients in the selection of new staff.
“We asked questions on behalf of Janet and Bryan who were particularly interested in the candidates’ people and communication skills so that, for example, we gave the interviewees a particular scenario they had suggested and asked them how they would respond to it.
“We found the observations Janet and Bryan made during the interviews most helpful when making our decisions about the successful candidates.”