Monday, 18 September 2006
More on Patient-Centred health care and articles by John Launer
The first link is about the struggle to free up visiting hours in children’s wards by James Robertson – steelworker, social worker and filmmaker – and the National Association for the Welfare of Children in Hospital. John goes on to point out that patient-unfriendly practice survives in the shape of the dreaded ‘ward round’ where the ill and horizontally disempowered patient in ‘ill-fitting hospital pyjamas’ is treated as a specimen on a slab by the vertical, fully dressed and all powerful clinician and acolytes. Who will lead the changes needed here?
The other link is a grimly comic account of an appointment for an ECG which leads John into musing about why some people working in the health service should be so good at treating people poorly while others – just down the corridor in the same department – are so good at treating them well. It is, he thinks, a moral choice.
The theme of the importance of the patient experience and opinion and how this can be used to create better service has been a big issue in recent blog entries. As well as accessing John’s experience, we have talked about the work of Paul Hodgkin and the Patient Opinion organisation and have given our views to the Department of Health on what we see as the vital emphasis of the new PPI initiative – people before structures.
Time and time again we come back to the question ‘How can the single experience of the health service user be captured and represented in a way that triggers understanding and change?’ What skills and experience do people need to be both users and chroniclers of the service they receive? It is not easy to write as well as John Launer with his experience as a GP and family therapist to back up his skills as communicator and trainer. It is hard to hit the right note when writing pieces about being treated and getting the balance right between whinging and being stereoptypically stiff upper lipped – “Pain? I laugh at it”.
How does that link with large structured user research? See below for our views prompted by a survey by IAPO – the International Alliance of Patient Organisations – on patient needs in 12 countries.