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Bernie Stocks

Alumni Fellow, MBA (1993)

First of all, please could you tell us a little about your current role in the NHS?

I am a National Commissioning Manager at NHS England. I look after 23 Highly Specialised Services which cover very rare diseases in children and some adults with long term diseases, cancers and surgery. I lead working groups to specify what new services for very rare conditions should look like and act as gatekeeper and trouble-shooter to try to sort out any significant clinical issues with the services which already exist. All of these areas involve me working with closely with many hundreds of staff, charities and patient groups across England and further afield. A lot of it takes place over the phone or videoconference so it’s important to establish good working relationships early on. The job is all about strategy, planning ahead, considering the bigger picture, attention to detail, transparency and fairness to deliver highest quality outcomes for patients.

Has Covid-19 has impacted on your work within the NHS?

It has changed everything. Most normal work has been set aside and the focus has changed to how we can make sure our patients with urgent and emergency needs can still get access to clinicians. It’s great that many teams have still been able to use technology to do assessments with patients and their parents at home as most routine outpatient clinics are not happening at the moment. I’ve also been leading the development of contingency plans for key services such as cancer to make sure our services can continue. It has been very intense, long days and lots of deadlines to meet.

Why do you volunteer as an Alumni Fellow?

I am an eternal student and like to learn. I enjoy meeting the students to hear their ideas for the future of business and industry and I enjoy supporting them to find a job.

What volunteering activities have you been involved with as an Alumni Fellow ?

I have done mentoring for three years, presented project management talks based on my own experience of successes and lessons learned, helped with interview practice sessions and support business challenges. I have also attended many of the evening business lectures over the years to keep up with learning and innovation.

What do you enjoy and find most rewarding most about being an Alumni Fellow?

It’s a connection back to NTU which I have very strong regard for as being a student there has helped me enormously in my career. I’m keen to help out where I can.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about volunteering as an Alumni Fellow?

For not a lot of time input, you will have significant return for your efforts from helping others to develop their careers and get involved in interesting business challenges. Meeting the other Alumni is good too – it’s interesting to see how people have all gone off in vastly different directions. Its shows the many and varied jobs that are out there.

Have you undertaken any other volunteering as a result of Covid-19?

I don’t have much other time as COVID-19 has become my day job, but I have been co-ordinating some shopping for neighbours who are shielding and have to stay in the house for 12 weeks. I’ve been trying to find things like flour, knitting wool and other things that have become scarce and highly valued.

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