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Participation Toolkit Scottish Health Council
Before you represent an issue in your public involvement work you must be clear that you are either representing:
your own views
the views of others.
You may be part of a support or special interest group that has developed because of a specific condition or common interest. The main aims of your group may be mutual support and/or information sharing. But although you are sure to get support from your group, don’t forget that your main purpose is to represent the views of service representatives.
With their permission, you can gather the views of other service users within the group in your role as a user representative. But remember people attend a support group for support, so gather their views but don’t enforce your own.
Your main job as a representative on a committee is to provide the patient or carer perspective in a discussion or decision-making process. This may mean drawing on your own experiences, those of a relative or friend or the views and experiences of a wider network of people e.g. other members of a patient, carer or community group.
To have any real influence, you need the confidence to challenge conventional opinion if it seems to you to be misguided or incorrect. You can help your case by supplementing your personal experience with additional evidence. This may be research evidence about the most effective type of treatment or evidence gathered from people about their recent personal experiences of using health and social care services.
There are formal and informal methods for gathering views and the choice of method will depend on what you are trying to find out.
This will provide you with qualitative data, i.e. information from a small number of people about their views and experience that cannot be quantified. Quantitative research is done on a larger scale so that the results can be analysed to provide numbers and percentages.
These visual Emotional Touchpoints are adapted from a tool originally developed by the Leadership in Compassionate Care Project from Napier University.
Public involvement options include:
Don’t feel obliged to gather all the people’s views yourself. It may be better to suggest that the committee or group should initiate a project to gather people’s views. This information can then be used to test or complement the ideas that you’ve brought to the group.
There are a number of ways you can make contact with people in your area as well to hear their views and learn about their experiences. You could:
For further more details information on how to use any of the above go to the Scottish Health Council’s Participation Toolkit. and e-Participation Toolkit.