18 May 2015

Chief Exec's Blog - working with carers

blog-mini-orangeI had a great evening in Bath last Wednesday. Thanks to Keep Safe Keep Sane, for hosting an excellent gathering of carers, service users, multi providers and commissioners. I felt a real sense of progress, partnership working and praise for very strong mental health and social care commissioning. Thank you to everyone involved.

I left with three key messages for focus and improvement: More reliable crisis response - if you say you'll call back....call back! Even greater collaboration - still some duplication and but even more gaps.

But the overwhelming message was "When will you start to listen to carers, treat them as experts and involve them as part of the care team?" Carer after carer told the same story of being ignored, patronised or 'fobbed of with confidentiality.'

It would seem that our default position is not to share information in the name of confidentiality. We need to reverse that. We need to ensure that sharing information and involving carers becomes our default, and that refusing to share information is the exception. A carer who had lost her son to suicide is convinced that, had she known more, been able to share more, he may still be alive.

The voice of the carer is critical in providing great care. Let's start to include them as part of the team. They may not have a clinical qualification, but they are, without doubt, experts.

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