Northamptonshire’s Vice Lord Lieutenant appointed as Healthwatch interim chair
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Morcea Walker, who was appointed as Vice Lord Lieutenant in January, is taking a step up from her role as Healthwatch’s vice chair.
Morcea said: “I feel very privileged and honoured that I have been given the responsibility.
“Healthwatch is a very important organisation to the community and stakeholders.
“The most important thing is making a difference, as there are challenging times ahead for the county and country.”
Healthwatch is the county’s health and social care champion, which ensures NHS leaders and other decision makers listen to the voices of service users and local people to improve care.
The board aims to help people get the best out of health and social care services, and shape them to their needs.
In the time she has in the role, Morcea hopes to build on what previous chairs have achieved.
She says Healthwatch Northamptonshire has a plan for upcoming projects, but they are in the process of changing it because of the impact of Covid-19.
Priorities have altered, which includes a greater focus on mental health across all communities, addressing the shortfall in dentistry, and improving safeguarding among young people and adults.
“There isn’t any area of health that we don’t feel is important – it all is,” said Morcea. “We want to measure what we can achieve and direct our energy towards it.”
Professor William Pope, the previous interim chair who will be Morcea’s vice, said: “I am delighted that Morcea has stepped up into this position.
“She has a wealth of experience championing both Healthwatch and the needs of local people in health and social care.
“She excels in community engagement and putting people first, which is the purpose of a successful Healthwatch.”
Morcea says she is “not fearful” for stepping up into her new role, as she is surrounded by “a lovely group of people”.
She said: “We all respect each other's skills and talents, and it’s important they are utilised.
“I wouldn’t have taken on the role if I didn’t have the backing and support from the team.
“I’m happy to work with people who I know will give their best.”
Another of Morcea’s main hopes is for Healthwatch to become more well-known among the Northamptonshire community.
The pandemic has prevented them from getting themselves out there among the public, and they plan to attend “as many events as possible” in order to do so.
Morcea was born in Jamaica and moved to England aged nine, before settling in Northampton in 1973.
She is a founder member of the Northampton West Indies Parents’ Association, and was heavily involved with the Northants Black History Association.
In 2008, Morcea was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Northampton for her outstanding contribution to education and training in Northamptonshire, and as a leading member of the African Caribbean community.
Alongside these responsibilities, she is the lead organiser for the Northampton Carnival, which she resurrected in 2005, and has been a governor at Northampton School for Boys since 1988.