We all know how important it is for people to get more involved in Health and Social Care – but what support is available for those that do get involved? This week, Claire Fordyce from the Public Health Agency is telling us about their new bursary scheme for service users and carers.
As a service user and carer, getting more involved in Health and Social Care can be a big step. It can be hard to get your voice heard, and access to training to support your personal development is not always easily accessible. HSC organisations often provide training and e-learning packages to develop collective leadership skills, behaviours and build collaborative relationships amongst professionals, patients/clients, carers and communities. However, training, conferences and events outside of the HSC family often charge a fee which can make it difficult for service users and carers to avail of.
The Public Health Agency (PHA), working together with service users and carers has set up a bursary scheme to help address this issue. The Bursary Scheme will provide dedicated funding for service users and carers who work with Health and Social Care (HSC) in Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) and co-production activities. It will support service users and carers who are already involved with HSC and a total of £10,000 is available. Individual grants will be awarded for up to £750 and it is intended that the scheme will enable service users and carers to avail of opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge in areas to enhance involvement and co-production with HSC.
The launch of Health and Wellbeing 2026 - Delivering Together, in 2016 helped to firmly reinforce that we all bring valuable insights to how we can improve Health and Social Care (HSC) services. It clearly outlined that we must work in partnership and in doing so we can co-produce lasting change which benefits us all. In order for that to happen, service users and carers should be offered appropriate support to work in partnership effectively.
Service users and carers are involved in many different ways in Health and Social Care. This includes the involvement in both regional and local programmes including:
There are numerous excellent examples of the power of partnership working for change where service users and carers bring their valuable expertise and insights to help shape HSC to build a system that is patient-focused, resulting in better outcomes for everyone. Some examples of these may be found on the Engage website here.
This is a great opportunity – consider what would support you to get involved and check out the bursary scheme at http://engage.hscni.net/get-involved/bursary-scheme-to-support-service-user-and-carer-involvement-in-hsc/. To apply for the scheme, you need to complete a short application form and submit a report after you have completed the bursary.
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