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Swansea Bay psychologist handed unusual opportunity to represent his country on global stage

A senior psychologist at Swansea Bay has been handed an unusual new role which he hopes can help him forge beneficial links with other healthcare systems around the globe.

Dr Nistor Becia, who has worked in a number of mental health roles over the past 15 years, has been appointed Head of Honorary Consulate of Romania, an unsalaried, part-time role which will involve assisting Romanian nationals in Wales and promoting Romanian trade and cultural interests.

The role will also see him join the Consular Association of Wales, a group representing 18 countries, which meets regularly to network and share projects and ideas for the mutual benefit of member countries.

Dr Becia, pictured below with the Romanian Ambassador to the UK, Her Excellency Mrs Laura Popescu, expects his background in health to give him a unique perspective among the group of nations, which includes India, Canada, France and Germany as he looks to develop connections that can be of benefit to Swansea Bay and the wider Welsh NHS.

Dr Becia said: “I am a big believer in collaboration, exchanging knowledge and building networks, which is why I’m hoping to build links with my counterparts around the world which can be of benefit to all.

“In Swansea Bay we are very proud of our Diaspora Staff Network, which brings colleagues together who are originally from overseas to share their experience and knowledge, which can help us improve the care and support we provide for our patients and communities.

“Being a member of the Consular Association will hopefully present opportunities to build contacts with health systems and research networks in other countries and will also provide contacts if members of our overseas staff require consular support. The health board has recruited significantly from India, for example.

“Sharing a forum with the Honorary Consul for India could be very helpful in assisting individual staff and also in the event of future recruitment.

“Also, in the past I have contributed to websites that have required translation into a variety of languages and I been involved in projects which have required making contact with the leaders of minority communities. Many health board staff are involved in similar activities so for me it will be very easy to help make the necessary links because I am part of a wide network of consular representatives from around the world.

“It’s important to keep in mind one in four staff are from an ethnic minority background.

“In addition to all this, I’m also examining potential links between Swansea Bay and healthcare in Romania. I am hopeful we can look at staff exchange in terms of training, knowledge and innovation.”

A smartly dressed man and woman standing in front of a European Union flag

Dr Becia, who was born in Romania but settled in Wales after completing his doctoral training in psychology in the UK, was invited to apply for the position in part because of his work with an organisation called the Welsh Migration Partnership and Traumatic Stress Wales. His involvement saw him advising on all-Wales mental health policies for minorities, refugees and asylum seekers.

This in turn brought him in to contact with the previous Head of Honorary Consulate of Romania, Diana Stroia, who is leaving the post after being appointed High Sheriff for West Glamorgan.

“I am honoured and grateful to serve the country of my origins and to represent Romanian people in Wales,” added Dr Becia, who will carry out his new role for a minimum of a four-year period.

“In Wales, the Romanian population is second only to the Polish population in terms of immigration from other parts of Europe, so this is an important role.

“Most of the time members of the public are often unaware of an honorary consul’s role until there is a crisis or natural disaster.

“At the request of the embassy, honorary consuls help Romanian nationals, for example, in the event of a hospital stay, a missing person, death, a natural disaster, or other emergencies. I can also visit Romanian prisoners, and in some situations, I can assist citizens in getting in touch with the relevant authorities to issue emergency travel documents. I also maintain close ties with the local Romanian community.

“I am confident that with my background in the NHS, connections to Welsh Government and also experience of working with local authorities, I can make a success of this opportunity.”

Dr Becia is keen to stress that he has only been able to take on the role of Honorary Consulate with the support and blessing of senior staff at Swansea Bay University Health Board.

“As a health board, Swansea Bay has very much encouraged me to take up this role,” he added.

“Of course I had to ask permission and I had to discuss what would be involved. We had to work out how I could do it, using time outside my working hours and perhaps using my annual leave.

“I think the fact the health board has been happy to work with me on this sends out a very positive message. I came to Swansea, having initially been based in London for my training in the UK and I wanted to stay here because it has always been, for me, a place which is welcoming for people from different parts of the world.

“The fact that I’ve always had the health board’s blessing and support to progress and to take on senior and management positions underlines that being from elsewhere has not held me back. This is a great message for all staff who are joining the health board from elsewhere.”

Dr Becia's appointment will be marked by a reception in Swansea on April 3rd. Among those in attendance will be HM Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Mrs Louise Fleet, the Romanian Ambassador to the UK, Her Excellency Mrs Laura Popescu, Wales’ Chief Nursing Officer Sue Tranka, a number of Swansea Bay colleagues plus family and friends.










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