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Raf Hamaizia appointed full-time Group-wide Expert by Experience Lead

Raf Hamaizia (left) with Masimba Kamba from Cygnet Raglan House

At Cygnet we have always valued co-production, but we really stepped up a gear back in 2016, when we first engaged Raf Hamaizia to work at group level alongside our Clinical team, and introduced our first 11 recovery colleges at Cygnet sites.

Since then, we have come a long way and Cygnet has grown massively in that time. Tony Romero, Cygnet Health Care CEO recognised the value that Raf was adding to our services. So we’re pleased to announce that Raf has now been engaged on a full-time, permanent basis. We believe we are one of the first independent providers to take this important step, in investing in a full-time Expert by Experience Lead.

“It has been a pleasure to be able to work alongside Cygnet for the last couple of years, the values and commitment I have seen towards co-production have made our joint decision to make my role full-time an easy one to make. I am looking forward to continuing working alongside the executive management board to ensure service users and carers voices are heard at every level of the organisation.”Raf Hamaizia, Cygnet Expert by Experience Lead

Raf’s appointment is just one demonstration of our commitment to continued investment in improving the quality of our services for our service users and residents.

Raf is based at our Millbank office, from where his initial focus will be on:

  • Championing the People’s Council scheme at all Cygnet sites, we recently launched our three Regional Councils to complement our well established National Council. Raf is making his way around all Cygnet services introducing himself and reviewing what individual sites are currently doing to encourage co-production and ensure that our service users, residents and their family and carers, are engaged in deciding what improvements and initiatives would most benefit the people in our care. The People’s Council is at the centre of our Governance Structure so it’s important that we get as many people involved as possible.
  • Embedding co-production – Raf has always been a really vocal champion of co-production, and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure it is embedded in our culture and practice.
  • Restraint Reduction – Raf is currently working on a video piece to help staff understand how restraint feels from a service user’s perspective. The video is just one element of Raf’s work in ensuring we continue to reduce our use of restraint wherever possible.
  • Expert by Experience programme – Raf will continue to work with current and past service users to help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to be an effective Expert By Experience.

“We feel privileged that Raf has chosen to join us full-time. In a very short space of time Raf has built a solid reputation among NHS providers and the CQC as a valuable contributor to the conversation around mental health, restrictive practices, coproduction and the championing of experts by experience. We’re glad to have you with us Raf.” Jenny Gibson, Cygnet HR Director

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