A trip to Grantham

I had such a good day yesterday, co-facilitating a seminar. Teaching again. Running group discussions, plenaries, facilitating.

Reminded me of those wonderfully enlivening times teaching, getting real learning going on in young, enquiring minds. Nothing like it. Except perhaps acting, because it often is an act and a persona.

I managed to get across the country on an unfamiliar route. My only little faux pas was going to the wrong end of the Starbucks queue at Stockport station and being called back loudly enough for all customers to look up. And then struggling a little towing my suitcase around the tight tables.

I’m a hazard with a suitcase nowadays. Seem to be unable to avoid bumping things everywhere, and over balancing. Walk in swerves, crash the case into seats on the train, into furniture in the B&B…just can’t line me, my case and everything else up. Perhaps having something on the end of my arm is asking too many bits of brain to work together.

Before the seminar started, I had to sort out dates in my calendar, working from a spreadsheet that was not in date sequence. Back and forth, forwards and backwards…found it very confusing, couldn’t quite keep a grasp on the task. Gave up in the end and left it to someone else to sort out.

But then during the seminar I was buzzing…listening, working out dynamics, how to intervene, question, steer discussions…focused absolutely on the subject. Getting commissioners to listen to patients and co-design services with them. Change their paradigm of health care.

“Patients don’t want to take responsibility. They just want to be fixed.”

Hmm. Have you asked them if they want to have a better life, be a bit more active, feel better? Have you asked them what their lives are like? What barriers they have? What makes their self management so difficult? If they have any real understanding of their illness?

Shared decision making. Agreeing life goals. Patient activation. There’s so much that can change and will make a huge difference to people’s lives. If only we ask the right questions, look through the other end of the telescope, turn the mirror around.

And that’s difficult. It means unlearning a lifetime’s habits. The day to day, year on year routines, grinding pressures, seeing those same faces coming back again and again…it’s not surprising clinicians lose sight of what’s on the the other side of the trees. The person. Their patients’ lives.

And that’s the challenge for this project. Put patients on control of their health care, their lives. Change the paradigm.

And I am so proud to be involved in this.

Later we all said goodbye till next time, in ten days, with another CCG.

In the taxi, half way to my B&B, I remembered I had left my suitcase at the event venue.

About turn.

3 thoughts on “A trip to Grantham

  1. This sounds a really interesting project – is it the one you mentioned sometime ago with National Voices? Well-being my way – I think it was called?
    There are so many ‘projects’ going on at the moment all seemingly around ‘the patient voice’ I find it very confusing! For me there needs to be clarification between the projects and organisations that are about enabling patients/carers to take an active part in their treatment, and those that encourage(!) patients to work with clinicians/CCGs etc to change/improve the general conversation and culture between patients and health and social care organisations – such as NHS Citizen, if that is what it’s about.
    I feel they are all getting muddled up and are making many patients take the attitude ‘ I don’t want to take responsibility; I just want to be fixed’, because it’s all becoming too difficult and anyway, the Doctor knows best…


  2. Patients in Control is about changing health care services so that patients have real, understood and shared choices over their care, and the support they need to manage their long term conditions and to live well with them. So we are working with commissioners, since they buy the services from providers. Commissioners design services; we want them to do this with patients throughout the process and through evaluation and ongoing review as well. This project is not about gathering feedback and opinions, PPGs, patient opinion, etc, although these may play a valuable role in informing those involved.

    Patients in Control will be working with CCGs who choose to be involved, across the Midlandsa me East, until the end of March next year. We hope to embed sufficient passion and momentum for change that the changes will continue.


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