A Chance to Change Scotland: Chance 2 Change Expert Reference Group with Lived Experience - report

This report accompanies the report of the Primary Care Health Inequalities Short Life Working Group (SLWG). It provides lived experience perspectives on health inequalities and inequity, and on how primary care can address these. C2C worked alongside the SLWG as an expert reference group.

7. Reflections

Working as an advisory group to the Scottish Government has been challenging but equally amazing for the group's confidence.

The reason I believe the project went so well is that C2C is a well-established group who don't feel embarrassed to talk openly in front of each other. Trust is pivotal to obtaining honesty and should be taken into consideration for future projects. Further consideration should be given to the language adopted by the Scottish Government which is often unclear ("jaggy words"). I often required clarification via Dr Peter Cawston in order to enable me to clearly convey the recommendations to the group. This highlights the need for intermediaries to ensure information can be understood at all levels.

The Scottish Government have been fair and flexible in terms of the timeframes provided to the group. However, small local groups of this type are not used to working to these sorts of deadlines and at times it has been challenging to maintain progress/focus as well as balance the wellbeing of individuals and the group.

My main priority (as it should be for any Support Worker) is the wellbeing of group members which sometimes resulted in no work being carried out on the Scottish Government report and instead allowing the group to talk, play dominoes or whatever it might be that they needed to find inspiration. This had a short-term impact on timeframes but in the long-term has enabled the group to complete a meaningful, high quality piece of work.

Some of the themes were difficult to discuss, for example mental health and long-term health conditions which had a negative impact on the mood and energy of the whole group. One of the group members stated "they had never thought about any of the bad stuff at group before and did not like feeling this low in the place that makes them smile". C2C agreed to complete this piece of work but not at the detriment of their health or by diminishing the essence of the group. This is where the group learned to balance work life with wellbeing (turning negatives to positives); the group session was split into two parts with the first half focussed on completing the Scottish Government work and the second half consisting of fun activities such as quizzes, games, etc. Group has always been about people leaving feeling better than they did when they arrived, so splitting the sessions in this way maintained the C2C ethos.

I believe it is fair to say the whole report echoes the need for change but some key factors for success in similar future projects as well as services as a whole. Where to start: listen to the people who have lived it; balance our needs with your expectations, then we can collectively achieve success. The outstanding collaborative work achieved between C2C and the SLWG should not be rare or unique but normal practice. Encouraging collaborative working to become normal practice necessitates action; engagement is key and encouraged when people feel heard and see beneficial change. C2C ask the Scottish Government and all relevant professionals to recognise their power, use it for positive change and create a fairer, more just Scotland.

Leanne McBride, C2C Facilitator


Email: katrina.cowie@gov.scot

Back to top