Your story, my story and all of our stories matter

Written by: Tommy Whitelaw, Project Lead, the ALLIANCE

Published: 18/02/2020

Tommy shares his thoughts on the lead up to 'What Matters to You' day and the new 2019 annual report.

This year “What matters to you?” day (this link will take you away from the website) is set to be held on 9 June 2020.

For several years, health and social care services across Scotland commit to taking part in this national campaign to increase focus on the things that really matter to people who are supported by health and care services in Scotland. The aim of the campaign is to encourage and support more meaningful conversations between people who provide care and the people, families and carers who are cared for.

As a project, we are proud to sit on the National Steering Group and ensure to incorporate the campaign messages into our Intelligent Kindness sessions and resources. In fact, over the years we have collected a number of ‘What matters to you’ case studies and podcasts sharing learning, personal reflections and this year will be no different.

This global movement is really close to my heart because of my personal experience of being a full-time carer for my late mum, Joan. While caring for my mum, too often we felt that in amongst the busyness of healthcare environments that no one ever asked or took the time to listen to what mattered to us. I have shared more of what this felt like to me and my mum in my film “no one ever asked” (this link will take you away from the website).

In my film, I made clear that listening, kindness and understanding has the power to transform carers and their journeys. There is so much value in looking beyond a person’s diagnosis to engage with them as an individual. When meaningful conversations take place supported by active listening, we form therapeutic alliances which support better outcomes for all.  I believe this creates a more meaningful experience for people receiving care and the people who deliver care.

As a project, Carer Voices absolutely supports having meaningful ‘what matters to you?’ conversations based on the five ‘Must Do With Me’ steps:

  • What matters to you?
  • Who matters to you?
  • What information do you need?
  • Nothing about me without me!
  • Service flexibility.

By flipping conversations away from ‘what’s the matter with you’ to ‘what and who matters to you?’ we will have better conversations, better relationships and better care.

In fact, asking and listening to what matters informed approximately 60% of the nearly 28,000 personal commitments we have received to date through our ‘You Can Make a Difference’ Campaign. This spans across 200,000 people through 950 talks in Scotland.

As the ‘What matters to you’ team have released their 2019 annual report (this link will take you away from the website), I would recommend you read the evaluation report as it details what three healthcare organisations have been doing to successfully apply and sustain the ethos of ‘what matters to you?’ in their day-to-day practice.

In support of this campaign, we are looking to support and work with you on creating feedback on active listening and conversations turning good intentions into purposeful actions.

Follow the hashtags #WMTY20 #CarerVoices2020 on Twitter to see what others are doing to create happy and healthy conversations.

Your story and my story – all of our stories matter.

If you would like more information on our work or if you would like to share your work as a case study, please get in touch with the Carer Voices Team at carervoices@alliance-scotland.org.uk

You can also register for your ‘What matters to you day 2020’ resources at whatmatterstoyou.scot (this link will take you away from our website).

Let’s all ask what matters, listen to what matters and do what matters.


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