Gail McGee has worked with us for just over 1 year. Read our Q&A below to find out more about her:
What is your job role and in general what does that entail?
I’m the Project Lead for Healthwatch County Durham, which in simple terms means I’m the manager. I am responsible for overseeing the day to day work that we do, managing the staff, keeping an eye on budgets, making sure we meet all our requirements with things like legislation and reporting, and generally making sure that we are doing what we should be doing.
What does a usual work day look like to you?
I spend a lot of my time doing 2 things – sitting at my laptop writing reports, answering emails or reading papers; or I’ll be in meetings & forums, either in person or online. Occasionally I get to escape and go to an engagement event, or visit a service!
What is the most exciting/rewarding part of your job?
I love the fact that we are helping people to receive better services, or get a problem resolved, especially people who may have been struggling to do this without help. I’ve always been passionate about people being involved in their own care and in improving the quality of services. This role brings those things together in a way that makes a difference for individuals, but also for the general public.
What is your favourite thing about working for Healthwatch County Durham?
I have a great team who are fantastic to work with. I have a mixture of staff who were here long before me, and who I’ve learnt a huge amount from, and new staff who are bringing different skills and knowledge to the team. Everyone works hard, and the whole team really believe in what we do as an organisation. It makes it a very uplifting place to work.
After work/on a weekend, how do you like to relax? What are your hobbies?
I’ll often be found out walking, with my camera in one hand and foraging bags in the other! I love walking at the coast or in the countryside, photographing landscapes and wildlife, and I’m really interested in foraging – if anyone comes out walking with me, I’ll always be darting off the path because I’ve spotted a mushroom or I will be going to pick some weeds. I have a whole cupboard full of home-made herbal teas., and I’m always trying to get people to try weird and wonderful things!
What jobs have you done in the past?
Until this job, I’d always worked in mental health services – I started off as a volunteer with MIND when I was about 20, then got a job for a charity doing outreach support. After that I worked as a Nursing Assistant in a psychiatric unit, and then when I moved to Co Durham I got a job with another mental health charity, where I worked for 26 years in various different roles.
What/who inspires you?
My all-time hero is David Attenborough – not surprising, with my love of all things to do with the natural world. In a work capacity, lots of people are inspirational – anyone who goes above & beyond to create better services, a better system, or get a fair deal for people. I’m inspired by our volunteers who give up their own time to fight for improvements and help others – although he won’t thank me for saying so, I’m in awe of our Healthwatch County Durham Chair for the amount of time and effort he puts in. I’m also inspired by people in general who manage to overcome difficulties with their mental or physical health, and just keep on going, even when it’s really difficult.
Thank you so much to Gail for answering our questions and being a great Project Lead to the team.