Depression Self Help Group (daytime group) key member, Michael Osborne, talks about his journey through life with and post-depression and how his group helps him stay positive...
Getting involved in health!
There’s no doubt that there’s great potential for designing and running good services when the people using them and the people who run them really work together!
What it patient and public involvement and engagement?
At its core, patient and public involvement means getting people involved in the development, design and improvement of health services. But it’s much more than that....
It has developed as a way of working so that as patients and health service user, we are involved in decisions about our own care, that our expertise is recognised and communities are involved in how local health services are run.
It is part of Government policy for community involvement in all types of public sector services.
The idea was developed by groups such as disabled people and patients using mental health services, who fought hard for many years to get involved in designing and running the services that have an enormous impact on group members’ lives.
The terms 'Patient and Public Involvement' (PPI), ‘Public Engagement’ and 'service user and carer involvement' are usually used in health services. The terms citizen, client, community, consumer or customer involvement are also used at times. Some people choose specific terms such as mental health system survivors to describe their relationship with services. Each term has a different emphasis, with lots of overlap: some people identify with one more than another, or use some terms only in particular situations. The term 'Patient and Public' takes into account the fact that all of us are potential users of health services.
It covers many issues and activities, such as consultation through surveys and questionnaires, working in partnership to improve services, and ongoing groups such as a patient involvement group at the GP surgery, consortia or a local Healthwatch group. Patients and members of the public may also be involved in research about health and social care issues, and education of health professionals.
Involving and consulting with patients and communities is a legal requirement for all NHS Trusts and health care organisations, and is part of current and previous government policy for community involvement in all types of public services. It is one of the elements that are checked in quality monitoring systems, and can influence funding. The importance of listening to the people who use health services is vital, but often it’s only highlighted when it isn’t happening, such as in the recent Francis inquiry report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation.
The organisation of health and other public service is changfing enormously at the moment. Involvement will continue to be very important, but will also evolve alongside changes in how actual services are organised.
People in self help groups are in a unique position to have their say in the development of their local services - as a group they have the power to really make a difference.