Who are 'we'?

How do we make a difference as a member of the public in health and social care research and treatment?

Maybe you put a few pence in a tin, maybe send some clothes to a charity shop, maybe you climb mountains, run miles, swim seas, assist at a support group, set up a self help group, mention a concern, write a letter, complain, fill in a questionnaire, join a committee, help a researcher or take part in a clinical study, an audit of care or complete a patient reported experience measure. 

Then, there are all the professionals: the care workers, clinicians, scientists, researchers, nurses, social workers, opticians, dentists, pharmacists who are members of the public and also take part in many of the activities listed above.

Each action has the same purpose - to make a difference. There are tens of thousands of us doing what we do best to help improve people's lives in research and the delivery of services.

The laws of physics tell us that for every action there is a reaction. so how do we make sure that the reaction is one that will make a difference? How do we best work together? How can we share ideas that work, learn from mistakes?

This blog will set out to answer some of these questions, probably ask far too many more and catalogue many of the people we meet who - make a difference.

Please, join this conversation! Help create and develop a dialogue based on mutual respect, commitment to equality and diversity, enjoyment of life and robust challenge. Add to the list of activities by telling me what you do to - make a difference?

As for me...

Born too many years ago in Ayr, Scotland. Trained as a bad drama teacher but got better. Learned loads from young people who experienced challenges in life and got into difficulties in school. Smoked far too many cigarettes, diagnosed and treated successfully for throat cancer because my clinicians were interested in best evidenced based care. Started by giving a few talks about how good the staff had been, saying thanks and asking for improvements...

Went on to Chair a national patient group in cancer research, then appointed as chair of a Primary Care Trust, a crime reduction partnership and a Citizens Advice Bureau.

A Teeter @DerekCStewart

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