Can you imagine a medical practice where there is a patient director working alongside the clinical and operational directors? It’s an amazing idea, isn’t it? But in the UK, at least one musculoskeletal medicine practice has been trying it out.
Sussex Musculoskeletal (MSK) Partnership decided that they wanted to have the “systems, processes and cultures to focus on what matters to people who use our services.” They formed a pool of patient partners – eight people with MSK conditions were paid, trained and supported with the aim of moving them into the heart of decision-making, so that they were at every multidisciplinary team meeting.
These patient partners have been involved in seven major improvement programs, including redesigning pain services, fibromyalgia pathways, plans for decision-making and the integration of physical and mental health provision.
According to a report on this initiative,
In terms of care, we want to get it ‘right first time’ so that people do not have to go here, there and everywhere for different diagnostic and treatment interventions.
Moreover, we want patients to be ‘in control’, ensure that we focus on what matters to people who use our services, embed shared decision-making and support people to live well and manage their conditions as well as possible.
The patient partners have slowly “become trusted equals. It has not been easy and is dependent on clarity of role, shared understanding of purpose, demonstrating benefits and the perennial time, money, space and trust… All things the NHS has precious little of.”
What an exciting idea to put patients right in the centre of making decisions on the policies that shape everyday care! While this might not be happening in Australia right now, it’s very possible that these ideas will slowly change the way we do things.
Director, RSI and Overuse Injury Association of the ACT
Gilbert D. 2018. “Patient leadership for real – The Sussex model for patient partnership” Health Service Journal.
Llewellyn A. 2018. “When can you say you are well again? How do people with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome define recovery?” Body in Mind.
This blog post has been taken from: In Hand The Newsletter of the RSI and Overuse Injury Association of the ACT, Spring 2018. Reprinted with permission.
Date published: 11/11/2019
Last updated: 11/11/2019