Edward Wernick and Steve Manley: Working more collaboratively with patients as leaders

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  • Posted:Thursday 26 November 2015

Speaking at our 2015 annual conference, Edward and Steve, members of our Collaborative Pairs' Network, share their experience of working together to improve local services.

This presentation was given at The King's Fund annual conference on 19 November 2015.


SM: Together, we’ve come here today as a collaboratively pair and I’m just going to take a minute to explain exactly what that means.

The programme has been designed to bring together twelve pairs from across the country.  Each of those pairs is made up of a healthcare professional or clinician, that’s Ed in our case, and a patient or patient representative, and that’s me.  And we’ve been brought together to work on a shared challenge facing our local health system.

So we’ll hear a lot today and we’ve already heard a lot in fact about the NHS five year forward view and a focus across the system on developing a new relationship between citizens, communities and the health and social care system.

From our respective positions with clinical, strategic and community development between us, I think it’s fair to say that we know the challenges of turning this aspiration into a reality.

EW: I think the five year forward view we’re all versed at in this room.  We know that the ethos and the culture in the NHS and social care hasn’t changed, but the world around us has and we’ve been hearing how it’s not fit for purpose, so we’re trying to work on the new model of care.  And then centrally decided that there were certain areas that they wanted to push forward, to be van guard regions and we’ve been appointed as one of those.  There’s four different types within that and we’re the PACS model, so Primary and Acute Care System, so that’s looking at transformational change across general practice, the community care teams, mental health trusts and also the secondary care sector as well.  So it’s a whole system transformational piece.

So we’ve got some good work we’re doing locally, a lot around mental health services where we have truly co-designed services with improved quality from a patient perspective, so the patient experience, financial savings, improved reduction in A&E attendances there.  So we’ve got little pockets where we’ve been doing it well.  So what we’re trying to do is make sure that embed that across the whole programme of work that we’re doing.

SM: So for health watch Hampshire, the van guard project is an opportunity to do what we do best really; to give citizens and communities a stronger voice through creative consultation and community engagement, to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided within their locality.

It’s going to require our organisations to work differently together to evolve beyond one of commissioner and critical friend and move towards this more collaboratively model.  And for me, I think, it’s about the difference experiences and perspectives that we’re bringing to this project.  It’s actually the differences that make us equal.  Neither of us could get on with this work without the other there, without their perspectives involved.

EW: So, for me, it comes down to the premise that by approaching the challenge together, we have an increased chance of development an ideal solution.  So two heads are better than one.  We’re bringing a piece of the puzzle each together, but no one organisation or person has the answer, so it’s truly working on that together.

And when you’re sitting around a table, I sort of think of the sweet spot, where the good stuff starts happening, and if you can get to that place and the different levels within your organisation, so from boards down to within teams and your multi-disciplinary teams, then I think you can really start to get some good stuff happening there.

SM: So we got started on this work back in September with an event for patients, carers and the public to come along and learn more about the project.  Over a hundred people came from a variety of settings in the local community and the learning from that day was captured to form the beginnings of a work plan for what is, quite frankly, a huge engagement task going forward.

So, local people said many things that will be familiar to you I should think, it was familiar to us; we’re like control over our own health and care.  Treat me as a person, not a condition.  I only want to tell my story once. Remember the carers. Break the rules, think outside the box and be creative.

People were keen for a variety of approaches to engagement including creative workshops, the use of social media, community films, pop up shops, focus groups.  Really it doesn’t necessarily matter what that form of engagement is, what matters is that it’s carefully planned, chosen for it’s suitability for the community group or agency in question and located in a setting appropriate for that audience.

We just wanted to leave you with these three questions to think about within your organisations and settings:

    1) Do you currently engage with patients, carers and the public?
    2) Is your engagement truly meaningful?
    3) And what could you do to make patient engagement more meaningful?

And we certainly don’t have the answers, but we think it’s important to start thinking about it together.

EW: Thank you.

SM: Thank you.


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