The Scottish Government set up the Primary Care Health Inequalities Short Life Working Group (SLWG) in autumn 2020 to identify service improvements and policy actions which could help to reduce health inequalities and improve health equity. The SLWG were clear from the outset that the voices involved in agreeing on recommendations should not simply be those of professionals and policymakers but also of individuals with lived experience of the issues being discussed.
I invited Chance 2 Change (C2C) in January 2021 to take on the role of an expert reference group to the SLWG. Chance 2 Change is an established community peer support group in Glasgow, with historical links to my GP practice but hosted and supported independently by Drumchapel Life / Yoker Community Campus. The group is led by a peer facilitator who was one of the founding group members. The people who attend all have lived experience of long term health conditions and of living with the issues being addressed by the SLWG, such as social disadvantage, discrimination or economic exclusion.
The expertise of the group is grounded in their own experiences of living with the issues being discussed. They were asked to respond to SLWG working papers outlining the themes and the draft recommendations. The group's peer facilitator played a key role in enabling the group to contribute in this way, drawing on both her training in community development and her own life experiences. She used a variety of methods to ensure that the group felt comfortable with the topics and able to contribute to them. The discussions took place naturally as part of the regular weekly meetings of the group over a period of approximately nine months.
This comprehensive report by the C2C group collates all of the feedback from these meetings. The author is the peer-facilitator, Leanne McBride, drawing on her notes and records of their work in which she was also a participant. The opinions and words captured in this report are those of the C2C group. It is presented unedited with the wording and format which she has agreed with the group. They have given their full endorsement that this is a faithful representation of their discussions.
The feedback and contributions from the C2C group have been pivotal in developing the themes for discussion, and the final recommendations of the SLWG. It has been a privilege to work alongside Chance 2 Change, who have offered an honest and often critical voice to the work of the SLWG. Although this is presented as a supporting document, in many ways the work of C2C has been the main achievement of the process. I hope that the voices and experiences reflected here come to have the influence they deserve in shaping a fairer and more just Scotland.
Dr. Peter Cawston, GP, Garscadden Burn Medical Practice, Drumchapel, Glasgow
Thank You Message from Chair of Primary Care Health Inequalities Short Life Working Group
I would like to thank the Chance 2 Change (C2C) group, their facilitator Leanne McBride and Dr Peter Cawston for their input throughout the course of the Primary Care Health Inequalities Short Life Working Group (SLWG) and for their detailed report.
As Chair of the SLWG, I have very much appreciated their input and steer as an Expert Reference Group with lived experience, and their challenge to the group to make sure any change is meaningful to those it affects. The personal approach of C2C in this report, from both their words and images, provide a vital, real-world perspective that should resonate deeply with readers of this report.
In their own words, "working with groups such as C2C should be the norm" and I am looking forward to the continued relationship with C2C as the recommendations take shape following publication of the reports.
Dr. Lorna Kelly, Interim Director of Primary Care NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and Professional Adviser to Scottish Government Primary Care Directorate
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