We spend a lot time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.” – Dr. Prabhjot Singh
(Pictured are: Christo, Vickie, Rebecca and Christopher)
We, at the Innovation Lab (Department of Finance and Personnel), focus on understanding the views of the public in relation to services. We want to put the people at the heart of how public services are delivered and believe that systems and services work better when we take account of the opinions of the people who use them.
We were excited when the Department of Health asked us to work with them to understand peoples’ experiences of their medicines. They have developed a new framework for doctors and pharmacists on the better use of medicines and we want to help ensure this is implemented effectively by understanding how patients feel about their medicines, how they are prescribed and their experience of taking them.
Since we started working on this, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about our own experiences and we’ve been more than a bit surprised about what we’ve learnt about each other and about taking medication. I have asthma and take an inhaler every morning and evening. I couldn’t tell you from one day to the next whether I’ve remembered to take it. I’ve tried to integrate it into my daily routine – it sits beside my contact lenses and toothbrush – I associate it with things I use every day!
Rebecca was prescribed long term medication but after taking that medication for three years decided to try and manage her condition (a food intolerance) in a different way. We were fascinated to hear about how she made that decision and about how she has had to change her lifestyle in order to manage her life without medication.
Christo is a carer for his 86 year old grandmother who is on a range of medication for her blood pressure, memory and arthritis. This can sometimes be challenging as he doesn’t always know what the medication is for and sometimes the medication is changed without him knowing why. It was interesting to hear how a range of people are involved in administering his grandmother’s medication but not involved in the decision making.
We need people to tell us stories like this to help us think of ways to bridge the gap between what we should do and what we actually do.
The Patient and Client Council is helping us connect with people, both individually and as part of focus groups. We want to hear stories from people with experience taking medication, regardless of their medical condition or background.