New initiative to give public more say on public health care

30 April 2013

Professor Veronica James

Professor Veronica James

An initiative being launched by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) will give people who use GCU’s School of Health and Life Sciences’ services, and their families and carers, the opportunity to influence all aspects of the work being carried out by the School.

The Service User and Carer Involvement Initiative has been established to revolutionise health and social care by offering the people of Glasgow and beyond a stronger say on issues such as student recruitment, the curriculum, learning and teaching, and research priorities.

The launch event on Thursday, May 2 will bring together a wide range of health professions and social work students, academics, lecturers, policymakers, politicians and representatives from third sector organisations with members of the public who use health and care services.

Speakers will include Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, GCU Principal and Vice Chancellor, Bob Doris MSP, Deputy Convenor of the Health Committee, and Peter Scott, Chief Executive of Enable Scotland.

A showcase of pioneering work already being carried out will include contributions from the mother of a child with a learning disability. She agreed to work with a nursing student in the family home see how it would benefit her daughter and enhance the student’s learning experience.

Professor Veronica James, Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the School of Health and Life Sciences, admits the University is taking a bold step that will re-shape School’s research and the curricula on its 14 health and life sciences programmes, which include nursing, physiotherapy, social work, vision sciences and psychology.

Professor James said: “It takes a change of mind-set, organisation and funding to plan education and research which integrates users and carers and we are delighted to step forward and take the risk, the change and the commitment. The creative partnership between Glasgow Caledonian University and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is focused on how we combine our joint strengths with the strengths of the communities we serve.

“We aim to build a common force that improves all of us. For the School of Health and Life Sciences and SCVO, this means users and carers, their families and friends, are the moral compass which guides what we do and how we should do it, both now and in the future.

Ali Cairns, Head of Development at Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “The unique partnership between SCVO and GCU will see service users and carers involved in all aspects of teaching, learning and research in the School of Health and Life Sciences at GCU. This will result in public health care and wellbeing in Scotland being delivered by a workforce that is informed and shaped by the experiences of people who use these services and their carers. This ultimately will have the potential to transform the lives of people living in Scotland.”