Jennifer Pearl, one of our Experts By Experience, tells us how much she’s valued the role.
Being an Expert by Experience for CQC was the perfect way for me to return to work after having been off sick for some time and having been made redundant during that period of time. I am a full time wheelchair user.
Having previously worked in health and social care, a family member suggested that I apply for the role as they thought my previous work experience would be invaluable.
Being an Expert by Experience has given me back my confidence. I have driven for the first time on my own to care homes using a motorway.
It’s given me back my independence and has allowed me to gain a wealth of confidence and experience, while making use of my personal experience of accessing health in hospitals and care homes. This in turn has helped both residents in care homes and their relatives to open up and share their feelings and concerns with me.
My work has also led to other opportunities. For instance, while attending the State of Care launch last year, I met Baroness Masham, Countess of Ilton who subsequently invited me to the House of Lords for tea to discuss issues affecting people with spinal cord injuries.
I also received a bursary to attend training where I had the opportunity to meet Andrea Sutcliffe, which has led to me giving talks with her at the NHS Expo 2017, and sharing my personal health journey to a distinguished gathering to mark the retirement of Sir David Behan.
My disability has opened doors for me.
It has also allowed me to take part in activities that I would never have dreamt of trying when able-bodied. Activities like flying aeroplanes, gliders and microlights, and driving a racing car at Silverstone.