Judy Dewinter is a Circle Square member, chair of the Royal Free Charity’s board of trustees and president of Myeloma UK. She had a successful career with the brokerage firm, Instinet, culminating in a board role leading its European equities division. In 2003, Judy left her job when she started treatment for the blood cancer, multiple myeloma. She has worked tirelessly to improve the treatment for, and care of, myeloma patients, chairing the board of Myeloma UK and then becoming its president. She is also a patient representative on various boards and advisory groups and was previously the lead governor at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (RFL), where she has been treated for many years.
In Judy’s words:“I owe so much to the Royal Free London NHS Trust. The skill and expertise of the clinicians who oversaw my two bone marrow transplants has helped me survive myeloma. As a patient, I saw at first hand the brilliance of the team at the Royal Free Hospital, but I also saw the challenges. This led me to serve as a governor of the Royal Free for nine years before taking on my current role as chair of the Royal Free Charity.
Unsurprisingly, given how the NHS is funded, people often ask why a hospital charity needs to exist. The reality is that government funding for the NHS only goes so far and cannot possibly provide for, and respond to, every need. We can help fill that gap – we can help the Royal Free hospitals move further and faster, by strategically investing in projects in a way that the NHS can’t do alone.
I firmly believe a strong patient voice is essential, particularly in the development and re-evaluation of clinical services and research. This is something which I bring to the fore in my charitable roles. There are so many pressures on the NHS and it’s crucial not to lose sight of the importance of patient and public involvement. During my previous career in finance, working for the world’s first electronic broker, we were doing something that nobody else was doing – changing the landscape dramatically –and that really opened my eyes to what is possible if you have a clear goal and stay focused on achieving it. This has been a driving force in my choices of roles and organisations that I’ve had the privilege to be associated with ever since. Each of my roles to date have informed the other. I have a strong sense of purpose, am very mission driven and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to the organisations I’ve been involved with.
Judy kindly answered our quick-fire Q&A:
- What 3 words best describe you? Do it now
- What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? While I was chair of Myeloma UK, our tireless work for patients gave me an enormous sense of pride. We ensured patients were given access on the NHS to expensive, novel treatments. This resulted in the doubling of survival rates over a five-year period; the greatest comparable increase of any type of cancer.
- Which person (dead or alive) would you most like to invite to dinner? My late father –I learned so much from him and still have much to learn.
- How has age strengthened your advantage? Trusting my instincts more, appreciating that I have so much to learn from others and drawing on my career and life experiences.Age has also given me confidence to believe what’s achievable if you believe in yourself, have focus and passion.
- What inspired you to join Circle Square? The opportunity to be part of a community, to learn from other members and to share experiences; all of which are really important to me.