Jaco Marais

Festival Director


Jaco has been a director with GGI since its formation in 2009 and has been involved in developing the organisation as it is today. From the early days when Dr. John Bullivant and Professor Michael Deighan were joined by Andrew Corbett-Nolan, Jaco has over time managed many key relationships with clients and associates, developed the GGI ethical framework and managed communications and international programmes. He has now developed the role of Concept Director — initiating, leading and driving projects that help organisations to utilise the latest technology and thinking available. He was also behind the concept of the Festival of Governance 2015 and 2016. Most recently Jaco designed a staff engagement campaign centered on patient safety. This pioneering initiative created superhero cartoon characters out of real staff members at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

This three-step-campaign consisted of a monthly patient safety memo, a one question digital feedback and a poster. The memos were lead by the contributions of illustrated staff members focusing on Duty of Candour, Falls, Management, Raising Concerns, Better Records and Serious Incident reporting. Feedback is collected via a specially designed digital application by answering one question. This rich qualitative data is instantly analysed by Sentiment360’ s next generation algorithm technology, which is then followed by a poster aimed at both staff and the public on the six patient safety issues highlighted.

The aim of this programme was to raise awareness of the different patient safety issues, to help their hospitals to listen and react quickly to the information collected in order to improve culture and behaviours impacting on patient safety.

Jaco’s background is primarily in healthcare journalism. Past roles included being the press officer of the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM) and editing CARE magazine, a members’ journal for the Health and Social Care Quality Commission (HSCQC). He has articles published in various health journals such as The Health Service Journal (HSJ), Health Investor Magazine and the Nursing Times.

An experienced globe-trotter and qualified yacht skipper, Jaco is also a qualified chef, and is interested in Ayurveda diet and medicine, meditation and yoga. He was born and raised in rural, Afrikaans-speaking South Africa.


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