Page 10 - TalkCare_Issue5_Online.qxp_OACP Talking Care Issue 4 July 2017
P. 10

      Long­Term Conditions...Co­production
empowering ‘people’ through collaborative working
   In our ageing population, no less than one in four people are living with a long­term condition and are spending a large amount of their own time managing their care
and support.
Sadly, long­term and complex illness can cause people’s lifestyles to change quite dramatically, having to cope with a range of medication and its side effects.
As well as dealing with these challenges, people with long­term conditions often feel that they are not being listened to by professionals from health and social care, who may be well meaning, but treat them as patients, a name and a number, rather than individuals with their own views and opinions.
It leaves them, their family and carers, feeling powerless, disillusioned and frustrated.
Things they took for granted before their illness, things that gave them enjoyment, are being taken away from them, often for no good reason, because of a failure of the system to place the person at the centre of their own care.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow and I can speak from my own experience as someone with multiple long­term conditions. Fortunately, I found
another treatment pathway, which has led to major improvements in my health and wellbeing and to my family life.
It’s called co­production and it’s a concept that is gaining traction within the corridors of power in the NHS and among leaders in health and social care.
“Co­production acknowledges that people with ‘lived experience’ of a particular condition are often best placed to advise on what support and services will make a positive difference to their lives’.
Co­production means citizens are not only consulted, but are part of the conception, design, steering, and management of services, ensuring that people with long­term conditions, health and social care professionals, carers and charities work alongside one another to co­design services and support.
It means that the relationship between them and health and care professionals should be one of equals, where each is seen as having expertise.
In other words, to plan with them, not for them as is so often the case.
The Coalition for Collaborative Care (C4CC), a grouping of nearly 50 organisations who are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people and communities, is being supported by NHS England to promote this agenda through its contacts and network.
C4CC believes people should be in charge of their own lives and should be the main decision makers about the actions they take in designing their support and managing their conditions.
I’m proud to be a member of the C4CC co­production group which brings together people with experience of long­term conditions, either personally or as carers, to act as advocates for this approach and to influence change within the health and social care sector.
My journey from a person struggling to cope with complex medical needs to having the confidence and self worth to be involved in this work is an example of what can be achieved if people are given a voice.
I was initially asked to take part in a personal health budget pilot. In doing this, I had more control over every aspect of my care, wellbeing and goal setting, which led to me getting the support I wanted and needed to live my life my way.
My confidence and self­esteem grew in tandem and I felt valued and part of my community again.
I was then invited to join the strategic meetings to put together the offer from my local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to others who could benefit from a personal health budget.
Paul Fairweather lives with long­term complex medical needs...
in this article Paula kindly shares her experiences of Co­production and explains how it has changed her life: “I was asked to take part in a personal health budget pilot. In doing this, I was involved in every aspect of my care, well­being and goal setting, this led to me receiving the support I needed to live my life my way”.

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