Meet Rowan Wathes, the new Associate Director of the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network. Her appointment to this pivotal post marks an important step in directing and advancing the key priorities and goals of the Excellence Network.
We are delighted to welcome Rowan Wathes as the new Associate Director of the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network. Rowan joined Parkinson’s UK on 18 January 2021 and has spent her first few weeks meeting with people across the charity and the Excellence Network.
She previously worked at The PSC, a specialist management consultancy dedicated to improving public services, where she led their work transforming complex healthcare services and organisations.
Rowan brings a wealth of frontline healthcare experience, having previously worked as a Specialist Registrar in Clinical Oncology. During her clinical training, she gained national policy experience as Clinical Fellow to the Medical Director of the Trust Development Authority (now NHS Improvement) through the National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow Scheme.
Within her role as Associate Director, Rowan will work closely with the Excellence Network Clinical Leadership Team to continue to drive forward the Network's goal of ensuring high quality multi-disciplinary care for everyone affected by Parkinson's.
Meet Rowan: Q&A
Meet Rowan below. Hear about her connection to Parkinson's, why she chose to take up a leadership role with the Excellence Network and the key difference she believes the Network can make to further improve Parkinson’s services across the UK.
What made you interested in working in the field of Parkinson’s and why take on a leadership role with the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network?
"I care deeply about improving the health and care services for people affected by Parkinson’s and am a strong supporter of the charity's mission. This comes from my experience of looking after people with Parkinson’s as a doctor and also from my personal experience of Parkinson’s: my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011 and I supported him through this experience and then through the final stages of his life in 2016.
"I was attracted to Parkinson’s UK, and the Excellence Network, for many reasons - not least its bold and innovative approaches to driving improvements and its unrelenting focus on people with Parkinson’s. I get huge satisfaction from bringing people together and creating environments that allow professionals to learn from and be inspired by the ideas and experiences of others.
What is the biggest difference we can collectively make to further improve Parkinson’s services in the UK?
"The Excellence Network has already achieved a great amount in terms of bringing people together and supporting professionals with an interest in Parkinson’s - from the UK Parkinson’s Audit to the Learning Hub to the Excellence Network Conference and Awards.
"For me, the biggest difference we can collectively make to further improve Parkinson’s services in the UK is to support the move towards more personalised services, grounded in user-need, with seamless transitions between different services. The Excellence Network can, and should play a role in this, for example by:
- Providing access to better data showing variations in practice and the outcomes that matter most to people with Parkinson’s;
- Enabling more effective networking, peer support and sharing of best practice;
- Scaling up existing education and training opportunities for professionals in health and social care, and developing exciting new opportunities;
- Influencing local and national policy, based on new discoveries, ensuring the rapid uptake of treatments and practices that will positively impact people’s physical and mental health."
Commenting on Rowan's appointment, Katherine Crawford, Director of Services at Parkinson's UK, said:
"I'm thrilled to welcome Rowan to Parkinson's UK and believe her skills and experience will support us all to build on the Network's solid foundations, taking improving services for people living with Parkinson's to the next level."