An opportunity to make a difference for tomorrow’s patient

Date posted: 14th February 2019 An opportunity to make a difference for tomorrow’s patient thumbnail image

Across Lancashire and South Cumbria we are redesigning services to improve the experience, treatment and outcomes for patients. Pivotal to this redesign process are the service users themselves, their first hand, lived experiences provide the truths we need to change.

The blog below is from Chris Curtis, a head and neck cancer survivor from the Fylde coast, who became involved with work to improve head and neck services – both oral and maxillofacial surgery and head and neck cancer services - at a very early stage through to survivorship:

“I am the Chairman of the The Swallows (opens in new window), which is a charity supporting head and neck cancer patients nationwide. I was invited to be part of a steering group made up of a GP, representatives from each of the hospital trusts in the region, commissioning organisations and other NHS staff. The group is looking at how head and neck services can be improved across the whole of Lancashire and South Cumbria.

My role in the group is to provide my perspective as a patient and as somebody who really understands what it is like to use these services as I had throat cancer and, through The Swallows, meet other people who have similar experiences. I am passionate about ensuring that patients remain at the heart of all service improvement and I am happy to make that known on the Steering Group.

It is important that a patient’s voice is included in discussions on a number of fronts, but the most important point is that we are the service user and have walked the pathway from diagnoses through treatment and into survivorship. That means we can offer real experience and advice on the good, bad and improvements which can be made.

The patient voice is one of the most important parts of any review of a service and it is an opportunity to make a difference for tomorrow’s patient.

As the work with Lancashire and South Cumbria is at an early stage, I am pleased that I have been asked to join the Steering Group and will make sure I use my role on it to make a difference for people across Lancashire and South Cumbria.”

Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria is committed to making sure that work taking place to improve services for the 1.7 million people in the region follows best practice for involving and engaging local people. The work on head and neck services is at a very early stage and will involve more patients and local people as the work develops but it is recognised as good practice by NHS England to involve patients with lived experience at the earliest possible stage.

Talib Yaseen, Executive Director for Transformation for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria said: 

“Patient involvement at a very early stage in improving services is essential. It means that we can better understand the patient journey.

Chris is an invaluable member of the steering group and brings experience and passion to the work in head and neck cancer. As the work develops we will be involving more patients and local people to understand how their experiences can help to inform how services will be delivered in the future.”

Across Lancashire and South Cumbria we are working to increase patient representation in priority areas of work through focus groups, events, surveys and social media. To find out more about the work taking place across Lancashire and South Cumbria please visit the Integrated Care System Priorities Page


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