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An affectionate farewell to our chair, Olav Ernstzen

24/07/2017

We're sad to be saying goodbye to Olav Ernstzen, who has resigned as chair of Healthwatch Islington. Olav has been closely involved with the organisation for many years, serving firstly as vice-chair and then as chair of the Islington Local Involvement Network. Olav led the organisation through its transition to Healthwatch Islington in 2013, and has championed its role in the community ever since. He has also been an active member of our Enter and View Team. 

Olav qualified as a drama teacher before spending some years in the professional theatre. He then qualified as a barrister and later became a member of the Bar Council Disability Group. Olav also sits on other advisory groups which help services to understand how they should improve to meet the needs of the community.

Healthwatch Islington Chief Executive, Emma Whitby said, 'I’d like to say a huge thank you to Olav for his hard work and commitment over the years. He's made a wonderful contribution. He gave a great deal of time and energy to the organisation, and to improving care for local residents.'

Dr Katie Coleman, vice-chair of Islington Clinical Commissioning Group agreed, 'I have already passed on my thanks to Olav, he will be sorely missed.'

Olav will be touched by the tributes that have poured in from the wider Healthwatch membership. Fellow Enter and View team member and former steering group member Lynda Finn said, 'I would most certainly like to add my thanks for all his absolutely sterling work, taking us forward from an embryonic LINK to a well-regarded and high performing Healthwatch.'

As a service user, Olav always shared his views on services such as podiatry and community transport in a manner that was as good humoured as it was insightful. We hope that he continues to report back from the front lines, and that he remembers us in his dispatches. Phillip Watson, who sits on our board of directors, will chair the organisation for the time being.

Olav Ernstzen, pictured here with Emma Whitby, flying the flag for Healthwatch Islington at the Houses of Parliament
Left: Olav discusses the merits of community transport services with local residents at a Healthwatch event.
Right: Olav and members of the Enter and View team make final preparations ahead of a visit to Highbury New Park Care Home.
A massive contribution: Olav outside the Healthwatch Islington office on Pentonville Road

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