How do we get connected? With healthcare, with peers, colleagues, commissioners, policymakers, politicians? It’s a question that goes far beyond the DDN conference – but the spirit of this event confirmed that where there’s a will, things can happen.
On the following pages you will find not just the record of the day’s events, but a host of possibilities, questions and ideas. How can we make sure the relationship between those providing and seeking healthcare is as good as it can be? How do we ensure these all-important interactions are not one dimensional, but create pathways to other vital support services and branches of healthcare? What do we do if we’re not getting the treatment we need?
The crucial component in a day like this is those who come along to say ‘I did it like this and it worked for me’ – call it expertise by experience, service user involvement, or whatever you will. But whether it’s hepatitis C treatment, supported housing, education and training, or taking part in local decision-making, the people who look back after they have tried the route are the ones who leave doors open for the rest of us.
Equally important was the emphasis on ‘having your say’ – PHE, commissioners and researchers all wanted service user involvement in feedback, planning and ‘lived experience’. This surely must give impetus to including peer-led groups and enterprises as a standard component in every local tender.
Claire Brown, editor