The organiser of the Patient Service User Forum licked her lips when she saw me. A Service User! Me. She had captured one, a strange and precious creature for her consultation exercise. What will it say?! Will it kick off? Will it have a hot drink? Or would it prefer something cooler? Will it jump up? Oooh, it’s gone for the tea. Quick! There are no spoons! GET IT A SPOON! Not touched the biscuits, shame. Is it sitting comfortably? Let’s begin.
There were three of us at the Patient Service User Forum; me, the operational woman and a Head of Service.
The Head of Service remains seated throughout, cerebral, pitying and strategic.
The operational woman stands bust outright at the flip chart, pens akimbo. Heels. I am in the hot seat. All eyes on me. The Service User. Interested in what it thinks.
Give it a brief overview. It’s nods. The Service User understands how the session will work. Good. Here come the themes then. Six flip chart sheets, one per theme. Post it notes to record what it says. “Are you ready?”
ACCESS APPOINTMENTS LEAFLETS ASSESSMENT RECEPTION COMMUNICATION
Let it speak.
The Service User speaks. The woman on heels nods eagerly, translating the points into jargon in her head, writing single words on post its with a jumbo pen. Saves time later when it comes to writing it up. The Head of Service stares at me. Active fascination. This is going well. Nearly time to release it and go home. Just one more sheet to go.
The Service User has something else. Let it speak.
” Would you like to know if you helped me to solve my problem”.
We’ve got a lively one here. Write it down Sarah, write it down.
“You did solve my problem, yes, thank you, although it did take 8 months to get any help and the initial assessment made me feel worse. It made me nervous, like it was a test. I didn’t want to be assessed. I wanted you to understand me and then help me as soon as possible. Other than that, it was great. Thank you for asking”.
Write down ‘waiting times’ and ‘understanding’ Sarah. Two separate points.
“Excellent, thank you so much for coming today. We do appreciate it”.
It’s gone. Put the biscuits away. Take the post its down, Sarah. Type them up in the morning. Only 7 more of these to do and then we’re done.
Courtesy of systemsthinkingforgirls