How getting people involved can help make the NHS even better

February 24, 2022

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Catherine Dale, HIN Programme Director for Patient Safety and Experience and Sophie Lowry, Implementation and Involvement Manger, provide an update on the HIN’s Involvement Strategy – also a key theme of lively discussions in episode 2 of our Looking After The NHS podcast series now available for listening.

Catherine Dale reflects on episode two of our Looking After the NHS podcast:

“The mechanic doesn’t ask me where they need to put the fanbelt. So why should healthcare experts, who have trained for years, have to listen to someone else?” 

Ayo Chike-Michael and I get to grips with this issue in Episode 2 of our podcast series ‘Looking After the NHS’ which I am delighted to say you can now listen to below.

In this episode we are joined by Cristina Serrão – Lived Experience Ambassador in the Experience of Care Team at NHS England and Improvement. If you want to find out the answer to this question – give it a listen.

We have a great discussion about how involving people in the design and development of services can make the NHS even better. We cover a range of topics including why we should involve patients and what co-production actually looks like in reality. We also grapple with a range of challenges around involvement and consider the benefits, including reducing health inequalities.

I loved recording this episode, Cristina has a real wealth of insights and her passion for involvement is truly infectious! Involvement really is a real priority for me and for the HIN, and I hope this episode brings to life why it is such an important topic for us to address.

Sophie Lowry provides an update on the HIN's Involvement Strategy:

Over the last few months Catherine and I have been working with colleagues and people who live and work in south London to develop the HIN’s Involvement Strategy. We heard:

“No one person, no one part of the system knows the 'right' answer.”
“Patients are people who are more than their condition and diagnosis.”
“You can’t do innovation without involvement.”

Well, here at the HIN we wholeheartedly agree with all of these statements.

This week we brought together some of the people who have contributed to our Involvement Strategy to update them on the progress we have made and also to gather feedback on our emerging approach and delivery plan. This was the first opportunity we had to meet some people in person, and we felt such a buzz being able to socialise in person and use real post-it notes! We were also able to trial a “hybrid” approach, with some people dialling in to join in the discussion. It provided a great opportunity to connect, and our Chief Executive Rishi Das Gupta was able to thank people first hand for their insights, ideas and experiences that are centre stage of our Strategy.

We were delighted to hear that there was broad consensus that we have the basis of a strong strategy, one that will make a real difference to the way which we work and to the impact we have on local health and care systems. We were also pleased to hear that people were encouraged by the fact they could see the outputs from the workshop feeding into the strategy.

You may be asking “why does the HIN need an Involvement Strategy”? Well, we want to build on the HIN’s history of involvement and co-design activity and create a more embedded and consistent approach. We truly believe that the best way to achieve the HIN’s mission to ‘speed up the best of health and care together’, is to work in partnership with people in south London. As we believe that, by sharing their insights and knowledge, people with lived experience of health and social care services can help us to improve and innovate health and social care.

That is why this strategy, and the plan that will deliver it, has been co-developed with people with lived experience, HIN colleagues, other partners and stakeholders (over 65 people in total). We have had some incredibly open and honest discussions looking at both the psychological and practical barriers to involvement and how they can be overcome. And we believe that this transparency has been vital in developing a meaningful strategy that will make a genuine difference.

Catherine and I are so grateful for everyone’s ongoing support in helping to get this right. We will now work to finalise the Strategy and look forward to publishing it shortly and working with our colleagues, both at the HIN and wider, to put it into practice!

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