Monday 21st December 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Winter 2015
Alan Gow on putting people affected by cancer at the heart of user involvement activity.
Macmillan recognises that people affected by cancer have a rich and valuable insight into the impact of cancer and treatments. User involvement should use that experience to help shape services that we and partner organisations provide.
In 2014 in Scotland, a new approach was developed by the Macmillan involvement coordinators to put people affected by cancer at the heart of user involvement activity. Spearheading the development of a wider Scottish Community of Influence, the Scottish Involvement Group was established to play a key role as partners in helping Macmillan understand what meaningful and sustained user involvement means but also how it is supported, delivered and made accessible for as many people as possible.
The group comprises members from across Scotland, ensuring as many communities are represented as possible. Most have links to support groups and other local community groups. As such, they are in the perfect position to help Macmillan collect, reflect and deliver on local issues.
Retired GP and group member Rob Lester (pictured right) says this about the group, and the wider Community of Influence we’re aiming to build:
‘The Scottish Involvement Group consists of people with first-hand experience of cancer and can provide a link between the professional administrators who provide the services and those who need them. The Scottish Government is asking for people’s views on how health services should be developed over the next ten years. It is vital that people with experience of cancer make themselves heard as we are the ones who use these services. We know what works well and can see where there is room for improvement.’
Our group is working on a response to this government consultation, which is called ‘Creating a Healthier Scotland’.
Creating a spirit of cooperation
Rob perfectly describes our aspiration for the Community of Influence and the Scottish Involvement Group when he says:
‘A new approach to the planning of cancer services is required, so that people affected by cancer are involved at an early stage and their ideas are heard before it is too late to make changes. An ideal situation could exist where cancer services are created in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect between the users and providers of these services. The Scottish Involvement Group’s role is to work through Macmillan and bring people affected by cancer into the decision-making process.’
There is still work to be done to reach even more people affected by cancer and to bring their voices into the wider Community of Influence, and the Scottish Involvement Group will play a key part in that process.
If you would like to know more about the work of the Scottish Involvement Group or to discuss how it was established and developed, please contact me or the Scottish Macmillan Involvement Coordinator Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Macmillan Involvement Coordinator – Scotland
0141 647 6342