Ben Jeeves has an impressive dual role within the NHS – as an advanced practice physiotherapist specialising in musculoskeletal issues, as well as an Associate Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) focused on digital, clinical governance and safety. How did he get here and what insights has he gained along the way?
A Chance Conversation Sparks a Passion
Ben first became interested in physiotherapy almost by chance after talking to a massage therapist at a triathlon race. He quickly arranged physiotherapy work experience and changed his university applications overnight to focus on this new passion. Reflecting on the rapid shift, he notes “I want to crack on this, you know? I know that what I wanted to do.”
After qualifying and specialising in musculoskeletal physiotherapy, Ben worked his way up to an Extended Scope Physiotherapist role split between A&E and lower limb services. But he wanted more: “I was wanting more opportunity, leadership development.”
Serendipity Leads to National Leadership Roles
When his service was integrating disparate physio, podiatry and pain management services, his physiotherapy Consultant suggested leading the IT integration workstream. It was suggested the project would be, “Safe, easy thing to project manage and I was like, yeah, we could. Let’s go for it.”
This introduction to clinical safety governance sparked an interest that led him to pursue formal training. Meanwhile, networking conversations highlighted opportunities like Clinical Safety Officer and CCIO roles where clinicians could drive positive change in digital transformation.
Though unsuccessful when he first applied for an Associate CCIO role, Ben persisted. As he notes, “There was an opportunity not to be missed.” He is still loving the role and the chance to improve staff and patient experiences.
Insights on Allyship and Inclusion in the NHS
With his wealth of experience across diverse NHS services, what does allyship mean to Jeeves? He stresses the human impact:
“It’s about people. We say stuff. We do stuff. We don’t always think do we? But it’s the impact on the other end really.”
He shares difficult experiences early in his career where he witnessed concerning behaviours from colleagues but felt unable to speak up or address them properly. Reflecting on one case, he notes: “It is shocking. Terrible…I get disappointed in seeing not good behaviour.”
In one challenging case with a bullying colleague, Jeeves took ownership – “I’ll take this forward. I’ll take ownership and stand up.” Though the resolution was imperfect, documentation helped establish a paper trail for the future.
Ben knows firsthand how difficult it can be to address concerning situations, but has practical tips:
- “It’s about forming relationships…So that person knows [someone is] there.” He stresses building trustworthy connections proactively, before issues arise. “It comes back to the beginning – just about being a good person.”
- “Checking in – forming relationships. It doesn’t have to be actioned at that point but it’s so in that city, so that person knows in the future.” Keep channels open.
- “You need to hear something different, don’t you? To balance that narrative.” Seek different perspectives if you feel discouraged.
- “Talk about it.” Confide in trusted mentors and friends to maintain confidence.
While admitting allyship is an ongoing journey, Jeeves leads with care, integrity and humanity – critical principles for driving change.
In summary, Ben has shown how curiosity, persistence and relationships can transform a career choice into national leadership roles that impact thousands. His journey also highlights the ongoing need for courageous allyship and inclusion in addressing concerning behaviours in the workplace.