CCG Chief Nurse to inspire Swale youth to follow in her footsteps

28 September 2017

Students across Swale are to get a chance to explore a career in health after a brainwave from the area’s Chief Nurse. Gail Locock, Chief Nurse for NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), grew up in Swale and wants to increase life chances for young people in the area.

She explained: “I lived on the Isle of Sheppey as a child and am aware that some young people lack life opportunities to allow them to reach their ambitions. I wanted to personally make a difference to their lives and as Chief Nurse realised that I could do this by encouraging them to consider a career in health.”

Gail, who lived in Minster and went to Lady Anne Cheyne and Sheppey Comprehensive schools as a girl, spoke to colleagues at NHS Swale CCG and explored the idea of a health careers event for local schoolchildren.

With the help of Health Education England, the brainwave is now a reality and the Explore Health careers festival is due to take place at Oasis Academy, Marine Parade, Sheerness on Wednesday 11 October.

Students from Swale secondary schools in Year 10 or sixth form are being invited to the event which will take place from 10am to 6pm, with parents and the wider community given the opportunity to attend from 4pm to 6pm.

Health Education England (HEE) and the CCG are working on plans for the day which will include exhibits and interactive workshops as well as talks from health and social care professionals.

Mike Bailey, Senior Career Progression Programme Manager for HEE in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, said: “We’re hoping to attract up to 600 pupils from schools and youth groups throughout the day.

“The aim of this event is to give young people the opportunity to meet with a variety of health and social care professionals to discover the diverse career opportunities available across the sector.

“There will be interactive and inspiring workshops, career specific market stalls and lots of information and guidance on how to access jobs and gain a better understanding of the progression routes that lead to rewarding and stimulating local careers in health and social care.”

Gail said: “I was inspired to become a nurse at the age of 16. I worked for Age Concern as a carer and helped with hygiene and feeding needs of those who were unable to feed and look after themselves. I met so many great people, one of whom was an ex-nurse. Her stories of her days as a nurse used to make me think ‘that’s what I want to do with my life’. She was a real inspiration and remembered with great fondness.

“I’m hoping Explore Health will inspire others to follow in my footsteps. As a young girl growing up in Minster I never thought for one moment I would end up as a Chief Nurse. It’s taken hard work and dedication but the opportunities are there for young people.

“We need to cultivate the NHS workforce for the future and we’re hoping this event can help us do that.”

Explore Health will be open to Oasis Academy Year 10 students in the morning from 10am to 12.30pm, sixth formers and year 10 students from other Swale schools from 1pm to 3pm, and to local young people and their parents, and youth organisations from 4pm to 6pm.

The event is free.

Further information:

  1. Swale CCG covers a population of around 110,000 and plans services that meet the needs of local people by engaging and involving patients, the public and other key partners in health to make sure safe and high quality services are provided at the right place and right time at every stage of life.
  2. Swale CCG’s governing body is made up of local GPs, other health professionals and lay members who work closely with partners in health and social care across Kent and Medway.
  3. You can have a say in local services by subscribing to the CCG’s patient newsletters, joining the Health Network, attending the local listening posts at public meetings and having your say through surveys and consultations. Visit for more information.
  4. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are responsible for planning, organising and purchasing NHS-funded healthcare. This includes hospital services, mental health and community health services, ambulance and out of hours GP services. CCGs are led by local GPs, as member practices.
  5. Under primary care co-commissioning arrangements, some CCGs (including NHS Swale CCG) are now responsible for arranging certain GP services jointly with NHS England, which is the body that leads the NHS in England and sets the overall direction and priorities for the NHS as a whole. These arrangements are designed to support the development of integrated out-of-hospital services based around the needs of local people. More details can be viewed on the NHS England website:
  6. GP services and Pharmacy services are arranged by NHS England through contracts to provide services such as advice, consultations, examinations and treatments.