Equal Partners?!?!

So I very rarely write blogs as I often lack the motivation or time as I struggle managing my own health. Depression is an ongoing battle that most of the time I’m winning but when challenged with those of intransigent views on what my role is or should be I find it very hard

Recently I made clear that the following quote should remain in our trusts Partnership Strategy which I was involved in writing

Equal Partners definition:

“Working together as equal partners with a mutual respect for each others experience and expertise”

I’m sure many of you are thinking “that’s bleeding obvious” as many of us have promoted this sentiment.

I’ve found that most staff in my trust either accept this or fully believe in it.

Now as we have integrated physical and mental health services we’ve had a welcome influx of staff from physical health who talk co production principles but often in very old tic box ways of doing things.

I was working with one person who couldn’t get his head around me being anything other than a “volunteer” who “represents the organisation and its values” with no choice on how my time will be used, other than very limited options

After time I managed to show him why working in partnership is so important and maintaining some, if not all your independence is crucial.

This person now sends me emails on all sorts of stuff around working in partnership and collaborative leadership which is fantastic.

More recently I’ve been up against it with another person from physical health who was taken on in a senior position. Its been tough going for us both as I’m not one for backing down and nor is this person.

The power imbalance has been extremely challenging and key to addressing this is the basic co production principle of the quote above

I’ve been told that a service user can never be equal to a nurse, “because a nurse has responsibilities!”

This indignant response said a lot about how myself and others are viewed. That somehow we don’t have responsibilities or hold equal value.

To this I say, we all have responsibilities and those of us with long term conditions that have impacted our lives in ways many of you simply can’t imagine. We have the responsibility to keep ourselves alive and not give up. We often have loved ones we care for who also depend on us to keep them going.

Whose time is more valuable, a doctor’s time or a patients time?

Before you jump to an answer the patient is terminally ill with months to live waiting for the doctor to call them through. The doctor has all these qualifications but his time is limited between patients.

Whose time is valued more, the patient with months to live or the doctor who is treating them?

I’d answer the patient every time but my point is we must value them equally and respect the experience and expertise of them both

So why is it so hard to accept we are all equal partners and we both have ownership of the NHS. Why should a nurses time be seen as more important or the expertise of the patient not recognised or understood?

Most patients know just how much experience and expertise we have gained managing our own conditions and we also see the crazy system flaws that not only cause staff problems but those of patients too

Until we accept we are all equal partners and that involving patients as equals and from the start of a project is crucial, then the NHS will continue to decline and ultimately break if we don’t come together as one movement for change

2 thoughts on “Equal Partners?!?!

  1. This is a conversation that needs to be had, and thanks for starting it here ! 🙂

    Leaving aside questions of whether services for mental and physical health can be said to be ‘integrated’ when they probably are not (everyone likes the talk of ‘a one-stop shop’, even if it’s rarely the reality, when push comes to shove*), what strikes home on re-reading this posting is the personal, the things that make us all tick, and should make all of us count with others :

    To this I say, we all have responsibilities and those of us with long term conditions that have impacted our lives in ways many of you simply can’t imagine. We have the responsibility to keep ourselves alive and not give up. We often have loved ones we care for who also depend on us to keep them going.

    * So people opt out of having their records shared across the NHS, because they know that they have a better chance, if they do, of not being treated as ‘hysterical’, etc., or otherwise fobbed off…

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  2. Daljit Saini says:

    I totally agree. United we stand and devided we struggle or fall which is a challenging area anyway but by working together it dosnt have to be. Service user expertise and experience is vital inorder to maintain and improve things within our organisations and really help the most vunerable. Foundations were layed many years ago re service user and carer projects which worked very well indeed.

    Like

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