This week is the turn of Alice Rath, a former Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Gastroenterology patient who was treated for a rare condition from age 6 to 18. She then volunteered for our YPF (Young People’s Forum), became a Charity Ambassador and is now a GOSH Governor.
Aged 21, she also works in Digital Marketing and is a “coffee enthusiast and dog lover!”
This week, Alice will provide her audience with a glimpse into her fascinating and important work. We asked her a few questions about what she has planned this week and about her many roles at GOSH.
Why did you apply to take over the @NHS Twitter account?
I’ve always been quite social media savvy, and I felt I could share my story and experience whilst playing to my strengths.
What topics are you hoping to talk about?
My time as a patient at GOSH
Being a patient at GOSH had a real positive impact. I think it helped shape who I am today and inspired me to get involved with improving healthcare for young people. I’d like to talk about my experiences, ask people to share theirs and discuss why it’s important to engage young people.
My time in the YPF
This was the start of my volunteering journey. I made lifelong friends who had been through similar experiences. It gave me the courage at a young age to speak up and share my opinions, and I’d like to encourage others to find their voice.
Transition to adult services
This is something that many young people have found challenging, but it’s important to stage of life. I’d like to encourage young people to ask questions about their health and to find support when they need it.
Being an ambassador
I’ve had wonderful time being an ambassador: from bucket collections to speaking at the House of Lords. I’d like to use my experiences to promote volunteering and to hopefully show the value it has.
Being a governor
Having the role as governor is my biggest success so far, I’m incredibly proud to hold this role because of the wonderful impact it has on the hospital. I’d like to start discussions with people about how they get involved with their NHS trust.
What are you hoping the followers of @NHS will take away from your week in charge of the account?
I hope that the followers will have a better understanding of the challenges for young people within the healthcare sector, the values of peer support (which I have been working with the NHS Youth Forum to promote) and the benefits of volunteering.
I would like to create some discussions. It’s great for me to share my story and experience, but I’m also looking forward to engaging with other people and finding out their story also.
You’ve had various roles at GOSH – from being a YPF member to Governor. What inspired you to get so involved, and how’ve you found your experiences'?
I’ve been volunteering at GOSH since I was 14 years old - so 7 years! I initially got involved as a way of meeting new people but, for me, volunteering at GOSH has turned into so much more.
As I’ve got older, I’ve realised that I wouldn’t have the same lifestyle as I do now if it wasn’t for the excellent care at Great Ormond Street Hospital. So now volunteering has become a way for me to give back to the hospital!
I’m very proud to be a Governor, representing patients outside of London. It’s a way for me to use my experience as a patient to help other patients and families.
Follow Alice’s week on Twitter from 9-13 July 2018.