Q&A: Charles Alexander
What attracted you to the role of Chairman at The Royal Marsden?
I was attracted by the vocation, and the desire to give something back. After 38 years in the private sector, I would like to return some of that experience for the benefit of others. Like so many others, I have experienced The Royal Marsden’s commitment to care – through close friends who have been patients – and admired its fundamental values and what it does for patients and their families.
I have two passions: the arts and the NHS, in which I am a strong believer. While the NHS faces many challenges in the current environment, there is no better institution than The Royal Marsden to confront them, given its world-class reputation for cancer research, treatment and care.
What will you bring to the role?
I’ll bring a combination of continuity, structure, enthusiasm and energy. I’m excited by the challenges that have been presented to The Royal Marsden as it leads the development of the cancer care model for England through the Cancer Vanguard, and I’ll support this to the best of my ability.
The Royal Marsden is a leading national institution with a proud history and an important future. I support innovators and admire its innovative culture and aims. I believe in institutions – we should preserve those such as The Royal Marsden for the benefit of future generations. It’s a phenomenal institution and requires careful custody of its values.
What are you looking forward to most as Chairman?
I look forward to meeting as many people as possible and learning as much as I can about the culture of the institution and how it works. I want to find out more about the ‘Marsden magic’ that I have heard about – I want to understand it and experience it. The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity contributes essential funding to the institution, and I look forward to supporting the aims and ambitions of its work.
What does good governance mean to you?
The Council of Governors and members play a vital role in the governance structure of the Trust. They are an essential link between the Trust and its core stakeholders: loyal staff, both clinical and educational, patients and their families, and carers. I look forward to developing a constructive relationship with the Governors.
How do you spend your free time?
I am a passionate supporter of the arts: I chair two musical charities and particularly enjoy classical music. I am also very keen on cricket, and I am a lifelong Liverpool FC supporter. I also volunteer for a local hospice’s community visiting scheme. This has given me vital insight into the importance of dignity and care for people who are at the end of their life, and the wonderful care given by those working in the NHS.