Rene SmitMy name is René Smit and I am native Dutch (1966). I have lived in Amsterdam for almost 15 years before I decided to follow my heart and my dreams; to live and to work in the UK as a Social Worker (HCPC- SW38862).

I have been working in the field of Social Work since 2005/2006 until the present day, mainly working with adults subject to class A and B substance misuse.  I have worked in  several mental health hospitals in Amsterdam as well as I have worked with homeless clients.

I have also been involved with clients with severe psychiatric disorders and violent and criminal behaviour/tendencies and who therefore got convicted by Dutch Justice. This includes imprisonment for the offence itself and the obligation for treatment in a forensic psychiatric clinic equivalent of the British I.P.P- Imprisonment for Public Protection System.

My last position in the Netherlands was about working in a shelter for about 90 homeless woman with children who were the victim of domestic violence and mainly subject to  physical or sexual abuse.

I came over to London in 2012 to start my job as a Child Protection Social Worker in Richmond upon Thames for the duration of 2 years, before I started my position as a  Special Guardianship Social Worker in the joint Boroughs Kingston – and Richmond upon Thames  called “Achieving for Children”.

It has always been my passion to help vulnerable adults and children in person, but it has also always been a strong wish and drive to do something for larger groups of clients who have (mental) health needs.

For that I was engaged in the Dutch Labour Party (“Werkgroep Patiënt Centraal”). This is a national Dutch working group for health issues affiliated to the Dutch Labour Party. They advise the Labour Party Members of the Dutch Parliament and Party Governing Board. I had the privilege to be the secretary. In addition, I also was a Labour Party board member and treasurer of the departmental board district West in Amsterdam.

I am still involved in politics while living in London. I am currently the chair of the Dutch Labour Party in the UK as well as I was the Chair of the Richmond Park Constituency Labour Party. I am currently the Chair of the European Social Democrats in London. This is an alliance of 8 European Social Democratic Parties from the European continent as represented in the UK.

Health is a part of the public domain and it is a matter of ”common civilization” that even within the current developments of (wished) privatization and the “free market forces” (mental) healthcare should be accessible and payable despite someone’s financial situation or social background, which also includes that quality offered to any client should be the same. Any Government should guarantee the citizens a minimum standard package of services and quality and reasonable timescales to obtain medical advice and treatment. This is common in the Netherlands; a basic package for any client and the opportunity to pay more for additional needs if wished by individual clients.

I have been a member of the Central Council for the past 3 years and I am eager to continue my position.

I declare that as a nominated member to the Central Council, that I do not have any  financial or personal interests  in the provision of health or social care.

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