Gavin Paterson, the ALLIANCE, discusses his first experiences of Self Management Week.
I had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop on self management at a conference organised by Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire. The event was attended by people living in East Renfrewshire who had long term conditions and was designed to raise awareness of self management. During the workshop, I posed questions such as: What keeps you well? How did you find out about self management?
It was an excellent chance to speak to people with long term conditions and hear their first-hand accounts of self management. The majority of people felt that they didn’t receive enough information about their condition or of events in their local area. Quite often they would be asked to access a website when they had no internet access. What’s more, the majority of participants found out about self management through their peers, which highlights the importance of peer led education within self management. Nevertheless, the people with long term conditions and their carers were highly positive about self management and clearly understood the importance.
I was also fortunate enough to attend the Self Management Awards where I listened to some truly inspiring stories about overcoming individual barriers to self management. Hearing about self management first hand refreshes my enthusiasm to continue driving self management forward. The event was a huge success which also enabled people with a passion for self management to network and share success stories.
My week was rounded off by attending the Coproduction Integration and Partnership Conference in Stirling, which was well attended by Allied Health Professionals and Third Sector professionals. It was great to see so many health and social care professionals committed to the values of Coproduction, Partnership and Self management. There was an emphasis on sharing good practice and learning from people’s experiences to improve service. Attending this event allowed me to widen my perceptions as I could gain valuable insight into the role AHP’s play within self management. The AHP’s I spoke to were passionate about self management and coproduction and excited about the Self Management Network Scotland.
Being part of Self Management week allowed me to put what I have learned since starting this post, into practice and enabled me to share my learning with people who have long term conditions, their carers and the people working with them. Moreover, the experience further highlighted the importance of self management and the determination of people to ensure it remains a central focus throughout health and social care.