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Meet your new employee director

DOROTHY McErlean has always been passionate about delivering healthcare. She is equally passionate about equality, social justice and partnership working.

For these reasons she has won the unanimous support of her peers in the Area Partnership Forum (APF) and been elected as chair of the Joint Trade Unions and Professional Organisations Committee.

Dorothy becomes the joint chair of the NHSGGC APF – alongside our chief executive Robert Calderwood – and has been appointed to our Board as the non-executive employee director by Health Secretary Shona Robison from 1 October.

This is the first time we have had a female staff-side chair and employee director – the previous two post-holders being Bill Goudie and Donald Sime.

Both men were elected by Amicus/ Unite and Dorothy is also breaking that mould by being elected from one of the smaller professional organisations – The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists.

“It’s an exciting and challenging time,” said Dorothy as Scotland prepares for public sector reform that could see major changes to NHS Board structures and the continued development of Health and Social Care Partnerships.

Dorothy is well placed to deal with the tasks ahead in her new role. She is a highly respected individual with a wealth of experience as a podiatrist.

As she took up office in Board HQ on the Gartnaval campus, SN caught up with her to discover what makes her tick: “Staff governance and dignity at work inspire me. It is so important that staff feel valued and that they want to come to work.

“They should be confident they have a voice and that it will be heard, and that our strong staff-side relationship with senior management on the APF ensures that is the case.”

Dorothy added: “I believe in involvement and motivation and believe strongly that staff who are happy at work deliver a better service to our service users.”

Dorothy graduated from the Glasgow School of Chiropody in 1982 and joined Ayrshire and Arran Health Board before moving to NHS Lanarkshire and then NHS Greater Glasgow in 1997.

Throughout her NHS career, Dorothy has been based mostly in community-based health centres working in both clinics and in patients’ homes, with a brief period in the acute division of NHS Lanarkshire.

Her skill as a leader and organiser was soon realised by her peers and Dorothy was selected as a staff-side rep for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists (SCP) – a position she has held since 2002.

In 2008, Dorothy was elected as staff-side secretary of the Joint Trade Unions and Professional Organisations and re-elected unopposed in 2012.

As well as being co-chair of the Staff Partnership Forum for Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership, she is also the Scottish convenor for podiatry reps in Scotland. A founder member of the Knightscliffe Temple Community Credit Union 24 years ago, Dorothy remains a Board director and volunteer.

Outside of work, Dorothy has been married for 29 years and is mum to three grown-up children.

She begins her day with an early walk which she regards as “her time” before the buzz of the working day takes over. Her hobbies include pottering in the garden.

“I also love to read and to travel and see new places both in the UK and abroad, but my favourite way of spending leisure time is with friends and family – they are my sounding board and a constant support.”


Chair of the Area Joint Trade Unions and Professional Organisations Committee
This committee consists of all lay delegates and full-time officials associated with those who sit on the Board’s Area Partnership Forum (APF). The committee aims to find unity of purpose, consensus and agreed priorities for the staff side to take forward with the Board and the senior management team.

Joint chair of the Area Partnership Forum
The APF consists of representatives from 16 trades unions and professional organisations and also members of the senior executive management team of the Board. This is a vital forum where issues affecting staff terms and conditions, proposed service changes and strategic planning are discussed and debated enabling all parties to be fully involved and engaged.

Non-executive employee director of the NHSGGC Board
Dorothy joins the Board but she is not directly mandated to voice the opinions of the APF or any unions or organisations. Her role and remit is the same as all other non-executive directors, which is to oversee governance and scrutiny of decisions and services. But clearly, as an employee director, there is a role to articulate the voice of staff and raise related issues or provide insight to the rest of the Board.