Healthwatch Newcastle, the independent not-for-profit organisation who gather and represent the views and experiences of users of local health and social care services has appointed a new Chair whose experience brings a wealth of expertise to the organisation.

Jon Knight (33) is a national Director of St John Ambulance and he previously worked at a high level within the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The former Ashington High School student has a passion for addressing health inequalities and getting the best out of local communities and a firm belief in the value of charitable and community organisations.

“Our mission at Healthwatch Newcastle is to make it easier for people to get access to the health support they need and generally improve the system by supporting those who are working in it.

“In my day job I work for St John Ambulance looking after all our volunteers and the many programmes we run nationally for young people. I get to see the very best in people and I also have an everyday insight into working within the healthcare system. It’s a fact that everyone at some time will need to use the health or social care system so it is right that we ensure that it works in the very best way for us all. That is why I am so keen to be a part of Healthwatch Newcastle.”

One of the biggest challenges Jon faces in his new role is that of the variation in healthcare provision from one area to another and the difficulty in reaching all elements of the community.

“If you are ill or in need of care, everyone should have equal access to the right treatment or help in a timely manner. There is an inequality that needs to be addressed and by feeding information back to the healthcare providers and stakeholders we can and will make a difference to the quality of life for many people who use health and social care services in Newcastle, “he said.

“We’ve got a really great committee here at Healthwatch Newcastle and a small team of dedicated staff who work incredibly hard to improve healthcare services and I’m delighted to have joined such a worthwhile organisation,” he said.

When Jon isn’t working or volunteering with Healthwatch Newcastle he enjoys playing the drums and walking his Lurcher rescue dog in the Northumberland countryside.

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