We hear direct from patients

We are delighted to be part of an exciting programme in Devon which aims to put patients at the heart of their NHS care and this week we heard direct from rheumatology patients.

The Individual at the Centre Programme (IATC) is run by North, East, West Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG).

The programme is made up of 15 projects and one of them focuses on rheumatology patients. We have supported that project by helping organise an event, on 17 March, which brought experts, who work in rheumatology in the region, with more than 30 patients and members of patient groups, including the patient body Healthwatch, Plymouth & District Rheumatoid Arthritis Group (PADRAG), the Plymouth Expert Patient Group and the Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

The aim was to make it possible for them to develop services together and the event yielded lively discussions and patients shared their stories, giving real insights into how they experience services.

Paula Varndell from the South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN) said: ‘This first Patient Voice event was a great opportunity for us, the CCG’s commissioning, medicines and clinical teams, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and Derriford Hospital’s rheumatology service, to hear how patients would improve the services they receive. Patients also got to hear about work that is already underway to improve their care. It’s been really exciting to be part of bringing together a group of people who could have a very positive impact on how services are designed and delivered in the future.’

The event included lots of information about work in the region to improve the experience of newly diagnosed and existing rheumatology patients.

It is anticipated that the IATC programme will include further events which bring together patients and NHS staff.

We are working with The Work Foundation on a project to gain greater insights into how rheumatology patients cope in the work place.

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