Sarah Rochira Biography
Sarah took up post as the Older People's Commissioner for Wales on 4 June 2012 having spent over 25 years within the public and third sectors in Wales.
Over the course of her career she has worked within a wide range of NHS organisations across Wales, including acute hospital, community and primary care and mental health services and as a commissioner of services. She also had specific responsibilities within the NHS in Wales for equality and diversity, organisational development, training and education programmes and communication.
Sarah has worked extensively with and for older people. She served as Director of the RNIB Cymru Group from 2008-12, a membership based organisation and the largest sight loss charity within the UK providing extensive front line services and support, to the 110,000 people within Wales with a sight loss, the majority of whom are older people. She has also been an active campaigner for changes to UK and Welsh Government policy and priorities.
In 2009, Sarah established, and has been Chair of, the Wales Vision Strategy, a World Health Organisation linked initiative that brought together over 25 partner organisations with the purpose of reducing blindness and ensuring effective support to people within Wales who live with sight loss. Prior to taking up her post as Commissioner, Sarah was Chair of Age Alliance Wales, an alliance of 20 national voluntary organisations committed to working together to support and inform the development of legislation, policy and services to improve the lives of older people.
Sarah is passionate about making a difference to the lives of all older people in Wales. As Commissioner, she will ensure that they have a strong voice, and will be a vocal advocate and champion for those who cannot speak up for themselves.
I am a human rights based Commissioner and I am proud to be so. Human rights remind us all about what is right and what is wrong, are key to the protection of those who may find themselves vulnerable or without a voice, but also I have been very clear that a human rights based approach to the delivery of public services is key to driving up the quality of care and support for older people, quite simply transforming their lives.
I am privileged to have been at a Remembrance Service at Linc Cymru Homes this morning with the Association of Jewish ex-Servicemen and Women and the Association of War Widows. A moving experience and time for reflection.
Today, I met with Age Alliance Wales members, a coalition of twenty organisations that, between them, provide invaluable advice, assistance and essential support to older people across Wales. Without them, and without the wider Third Sector in Wales, the lives of so many people, as well as our wider communities and economy, would deteriorate massively
I worked for over 23 years in the NHS and I am very proud of my time there. I am proud of the difference we made and I continue to be proud of NHS services and front line staff. I could discuss the intricacies of health and social care, systems, performance indicators, strategies, plans and polices, but I’m not going to because I don’t design or run services any more.
This week it’s Health and Housing week. Led by Community Housing Cymru, the week will highlight and promote best practice and identify opportunities for collaborative working on housing related issues.
There has been a clear message behind this year’s Dementia Awareness Week – we need to talk about dementia. As well as improving the diagnosis rate and making it easier for people to access help and support that makes a huge difference to people’s lives, talking about dementia will change society’s perception of the condition, which is vital to create dementia supportive communities across Wales.