Ensuring patients have a say is at the heart of the Patient Council, and it’s already making a difference.
Academic studies have shown that empowering patients to take a role in their own care and surroundings can have a positive impact on their feelings of strength and engagement. The insights gained from patients can also form a key part in ensuring robust governance.
It was this learning that led to the creation of the Patient Council ensuring that a representative from each ward has a say, sharing areas of concern that affect them and other service users. The Patient Council meets monthly and includes representation from every ward. It’s supported by clear terms of reference and clear structures to ensure it functions properly and is productive.
For those who serve on the Council, the Discovery Centre is helping them develop essential new skills like how to deliver presentations, chair meetings and take notes. This is to ensure the meeting runs smoothly and function properly, but it’s also about ensuring that people feel confident at being in charge and able to contribute. The Chair and Deputy Chair are changed every three months, offering opportunities for those who would like to become involved.
Patients recognise the impact of their contribution, with the forum offering an opportunity to raise issues, and work collaboratively to find a solution. This is, in a large part, down to understanding what hasn’t worked in the past, and ensuring that patients are in control.
The Patient Council provides a representative at the Secure Directorate Governance Board meeting where they can share any issues and update on progress. At these meetings the board is able ensure that any issues raised by the Patient Council are dealt with – essential in building trust and making a difference.