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The work of SIA is more important than ever says our new chair, Faisal Hussain

Our newly elected chair of trustees, Faisal Hussain says it’s a huge honour and privilege to take up his new three-year tenure but says he couldn’t have taken up the post at a more challenging time for spinal cord injured people.

It is clear for anybody that lives in the UK to see how pressurised the NHS and the care sector is

Faisal Hussain, our chair of trustees

Faisal who took up his first chair position in the voluntary sector just before his 19th birthday brings a huge amount of experience from across the public, private and voluntary sectors,  including local government and the NHS at board level.

Having been a C6 tetraplegic since 1989, Faisal is acutely aware of the challenges that charities like us currently face:

It is clear for anybody that lives in the UK to see how pressurised the NHS and the care sector is. There is huge demand and long wait times  for the services available to people with spinal cord injury both at major trauma centres and at some spinal injury centres.

As a  non-executive director and deputy chair at a NHS provider trust, Faisal has witnessed some of the big challenges  that the healthcare sector is facing:

workforce pressures in recruitment and retention, delayed discharges, pressures on Ambulance services including A&E handovers, reduced bed capacity and cuts to continuing healthcare budgets. All of these factors combined together are adversely impacting spinal cord injured people.

Faisal continues:

The problem is discharging people to an environment where there’s fewer care support mechanisms in place. Care agencies are struggling to provide support to the spinal cord injured communities and other disabilities who need them.

Because of this he believes that now more than ever before in our 49-year history, our role as the national association for spinal cord injured people is utterly vital.

Since I sustained my injury in 1989 this charity has always been there as and when I needed information, advice and help. There is no one else at the moment who can be that expert, that guiding voice who can help people lead a fulfilled life after spinal cord injury. We have to work in partnerships with all our trusted partners, our other spinal cord injured charities to help fill that void in support of the NHS and care sector and I think that makes this time for SIA more important than ever.

Nik Hartley OBE, CEO Spinal Injuries Association said:

In the year when SIA is launching a long-term strategy that is targeting the terrible inequities faced by spinal cord injured people, it is wonderful to be welcoming a chair who brings not just years of leadership expertise in the NHS and charities but over thirty years lived experience as a tetraplegic person.  Faisal is the demonstration of a life fulfilled; we are lucky to have his experience and expertise at the helm.”

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