An NHS love affair – James is our NHS Hero

James Parker’s NHS journey began with a two week work placement, which he intended to use to fill some time after completing a legal practice course at Birmingham Law School. That two week work placement turned into a 12 year (and counting) love affair with the NHS.

“After finishing law school, I was looking for something to keep me busy whilst I decided my next steps,” said James, who now works as head of performance, informatics and contracting at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (DWMH).

“A two week workforce admin post came up at what was Birmingham East and North PCT so I thought that would suit me just fine.

“When I got there, there was no room for me to sit in the HR office, so I ended up with a desk in with all of the community nurses – quite something for a 22 year old lad!

“What struck me was the sheer love they had for their job and the amount of care and compassion they had for the patients. My role was extended for a few more weeks, which then turned into months and when I was offered a permanent contract, I just knew the NHS was where I wanted to spend my career.”

James joined DWMH in 2009 and has held a variety of roles, before working his way up to his current role in 2018.

“It’s not a role people would typically associate with the NHS,” said James.

“The role involves managing several functions, all of which support our frontline teams. I am also responsible for contract negotiations with our funders, which allows us to operate a wide variety of services to the people of Dudley and Walsall.

“The NHS has so many opportunities for people of all different backgrounds, but all geared around supporting patients and I think that’s what makes it one of the best organisations to work for.”

It’s also the people that James says drives him at work.

“I really enjoy working closely with our frontline services and seeing them helping patients and their families. I love working in a role which helps people to make a different to others.”

James’s career highlights include working closely with the child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) team to negotiate investment to improve services for children and young people and being head of a team that was shortlisted in the DWMH staff awards.

Outside of work, James enjoys spending time with this wife, Vicky and their two young boys. He is also a member of the Tettenhall Round Table and a season ticket holder at West Bromwich Albion.

Who is James’s hero?

“I don’t think I have one single hero,” said James.

“I am lucky to have worked with many inspirational people within my career – the NHS is full of heroes.”