As part of our series of interviews with the Trust’s governors, we spoke with Mia Bayles, who represents the rest of England.

Mia has been a governor since 2013 and was one of the first people elected following our move to Foundation Trust status. She told us about why she decided to become a governor and what she thinks makes St George’s unique.

 Tell us about your connection with St George’s?

My first experience with St George’s was when I had a heart attack and was brought in by ambulance. I got to know the consultant who saved my life, Dr Pitt Lim, and one day he looked me in the eye and asked me to be a governor, of what was to become the future foundation trust.

In life, you regret what you don’t do not what you do do, so I decided to put my name forward.  The role was completely new back then and it has developed since allowing us to attend board and committee meetings, enabling us to fulfil our duties as a governor – I feel like I’ve grown into it as our responsibilities have grown.

Why did you want to become a governor?

I was asked to by the consultant who saved my life. I had been a county councillor and school governor, so I felt I could bring something to the role and becoming a hospital governor was a way of giving something back.

In a previous career I was a conference organiser with an emphasis on encouraging and training women to put themselves forward in public life.

What do you enjoy about being a governor?

All of the Trust’s governors are talented and bring something different to the role. It’s enjoyable to be a part of such an excellent team and give something back.

Gillian Norton is an excellent Chairman, and Richard Mycroft is brilliant as lead governor.

How has Covid-19 affected you and your fellow governors in your roles?

I miss getting to know the new governors, who were elected just before the pandemic, as well as going to the meetings in person.

We’ve been kept very well briefed about what is happening at the Trust, through briefings from Jacqueline [Totterdell, Chief Executive] and through The Brief.  It has been fantastic to hear about the efforts of George’s staff keeping patients safe from Covid-19, and it was also helpful to read the staff bulletins which were also shared with the governors.

From a patient perspective I had a telephone consultation with the cardiac teams which took just 15 minutes, and was much more convenient than having to travel to St George’s. The team were great and I think it shows the way forward in the future.

What do you think makes St George’s unique?

The caring attitude of everyone I come into contact with, be it members, fellow governors, board members or staff. I don’t know if every hospital has it but St George’s certainly does!

I also think the board members show a genuine interest in hearing from patients. It’s nice to see them listening to patients’ experience, be they good or challenging, so they can tackle issues and make it right.