Halima Begum is a senior manager in Children’s Services at Mile End Hospital. Working in the role since October 2018, she manages a team who provide a wide range of developmental services to children and adolescents in the area. She was “surprised but also chuffed” for the nomination.
Halima worked her way up to the position she’s in today through “hard work and determination”. From a young age, her parents instilled her with the belief that she would be able to achieve whatever she wanted. Having faced challenges on the way however, she did at times, doubt whether it was possible.
She explained that she’s been lucky to have had managers that believed in her, and that people in the Trust have always encouraged her to go further. She remembers joking with colleagues in the early stages her career saying she’ll be a service manager one day, and now she is!
An achievement Halima is most proud of is having climbed a competitive career ladder whilst also having young children. Having always wanted a big family and having been on maternity leave several times already, she explained that the feeling of “falling behind” at work was natural. However, she has since learnt that the quality of the contribution provided is more important than the time spent.
Focusing on how she manages to juggle work and family life, she described how she has a very supportive husband who challenges her and pushes her to do better. Her desire for her children to be well-rounded and community focussed stems from her background as a youth worker. Halima and her family celebrate all cultures and beliefs, and ensures they attend functions that celebrate communities coming together. It’s been noted by colleagues that even during Ramadan, Halima still puts in a full day at work with effort and a smile on her face. She explained that although difficult at times, the reward of observing the fasts and challenging herself spiritually makes it worthwhile.
Halima has improved the services in her work place in a number of ways. She described how she felt lucky to have an amazing team behind her that work hard and share the same outlook as she does. Together in the last year they have: implemented an electronic system that is fit for purpose, successfully migrated thousands of patients to the new system, moved to paper light for the majority of our services, successfully driven down waiting times and continue to do so, collaboratively written SOPs specific to key services to ensure better patient flow, implemented MDT pathways to manage complex areas of care, provide ongoing training for all staff, achieved statutory target requirements across the board, and drastically reduced the number of complaints about the service. She is proud to have been a part of such positive change.
Some future projects Halima would love to be involved in consist of the children’s community services being integrated in a space that is fit for purpose. She also mentioned a child friendly environment with access to MDT services and positive collaborations which include non NHS service providers. A space that mirrors the wider children’s hospital at the RLH which provides a safe and stimulating environment for her cohort of children was also on her list.
Focussing on her motivations to make a difference to those around her and a fairer world for all, Halima explained that she always remembers where and how she started off, and the people who helped her on her journey. Her life motto is “be fair and treat people how you would like to be treated”.
When asked about some women she looks up to and why, she explained that “there are always things to be learnt from every conversation that we have and I often find myself in awe of many women I speak to daily. The majority of our life is spent at work and I have found that it is this mix of staff with different life experiences that has helped me question how and why I do things both personally and professionally”.
Some positive changes Halima would like to see for both men and women over the next decade are “diverse senior teams that reflect the populations we serve”.