I am very excited to be part of a new Service Users Redesign and Communications Sub Group. The Norfolk and Waveney NHS Mental Health Trust has formed this new group which consists of around 8 Service Users including myself. The group consists of people from Hellesdon Hospital Service Users Council and Service Users from other organisations. It has been formed to ensure that Service Users are included and involved in the NHS Radical Pathway Redesign Programme over the next 4 years.
A pathway is a personal journey through the NHS Mental Health System – what care you will get, what service and treatments you will get and most importantly the quality of those services and care you will receive on your pathway. It is about finding new ways, new ideas to help shape a better and much improved NHS system for Mental Health – quite a challenge I think, especially as the NHS is faced with huge budget cuts.
The Service Users Communication groups aim is about helping to get the Service Users voice heard. Listening to Service Users ideas, their experiences and journeys and using this information to help redesign the different pathways in the NHS Mental Health system. Although there is obviously no guarantee that these ideas will be actually used in the end, the Trust will look at this information and it will go to the right people who are leading the different pathways within the NHS. The groups aim is also to promote awareness about the different pathways to other service users and try and find ways of getting Service Users more involved in the process – it is focussed on communicating the message about the pathways effectively to others.
I was thrilled to be asked by Greta Neiss who is the Radical Pathway Redesign Lead at Hellesdon Hospital to give a comment which may go in the next Pathway Newsletter. Here is my quote:
‘I see the new ‘Service Users Redesign & Communications Sub Group’, as an opportunity for us to share our experience, knowledge and ideas with the Trust to help to improve Mental Health and Wellbeing within the NHS. I feel very passionately about trying to give Service Users a voice to be heard – it’s about good communication – sharing, listening and learning from each other and hopefully this group will help to achieve that.’
This is such an exciting chance for me to be involved in this group and I never thought I would have an opportunity to help redesign anything let alone a new and hopefully much improved NHS system. I really do hope that I can make a small difference and that the Trust and others will listen not only to myself but to all the service users out there who have so much knowledge and experience to share. I really do believe that together Service Users and the Trust and other organisations can rise to the challenge to improve the NHS. It will be a challenge and some ideas will have to be radical but I also believe that sometimes the most simplest ideas often work just as well.
I think it is important to learn from the voice of the Service Users, the Trust and other organisations what actually works within the system as much as what clearly does not work. To redesign anything I think you have to do the ground work first – research, gain knowledge and understanding from the information, before you can even attempt to radically change anything to improve it. I hope that by looking at many different Service Users experiences and ideas that if several peoples views are all saying the same thing, that those repeated patterns of thought will hopefully help to formulate new ideas, improvements and highlight what is going wrong in the system as well as highlight what is working well within it.