18 April 2019

Gavin Harding MBE visits Cedar House to support good conversations and outcomes

Gavin Harding is a learning disability adviser with NHS England and expert by experience. As well as having inpatient experience, he has also been Mayor of Selby and the first person with a learning disability to be awarded an MBE. When he and Sam Clark of Learning Disability England offered to visit patients at Cedar House to encourage conversation and discussion about patient experience, we were thrilled to have them.

Gavin and Sam spent two days at Cedar House, being taken care of by two of our patients who showed them around and helped facilitate several workshops with patients. Gavin and Sam also ran a workshop for staff around the Ask, Listen, Do initiative.

Ask, Listen, Do acknowledges that people with a learning disability, autism or both may find raising concerns, offering feedback or making complaints difficult. The initiative aims to educate people with learning difficulties and autism how to do this and what their rights are in terms of asking for additional support. The initiative also educates organisations about what they can do to make this process easier and better for autistic people and people with a learning disability.

The aim of the Cedar House workshops with patients was to create a forum where patients felt comfortable having conversations with people with lived experience; meaning that they were able to really open up. Gavin is visiting lots of services around the country, gathering feedback about Care and Treatment Reviews (CTRs), Discharge Pathways and the Ask, Listen, Do initiative. He aims to not only enable patients to raise individual issues within services but also to gather key themes so that they can be reviewed nationally.

The patient workshops sought to understand patients’ awareness, understanding and experience of both CTRs and discharge processes and pathways. Overall patients were very engaged and felt reassured that they were being asked and involved. To ensure that everybody had the opportunity to be involved, patients who maybe wouldn’t be comfortable in a group workshop were invited to an informal buffet lunch where they could have individual conversations with Sam and Gavin.

A number of suggestions were raised for ways in which Cedar House might improve the opportunity for patients to have these types of conversations and raise any concerns or seek clarification. For example, whilst Cedar House employ a POwHR advocate 30 hours a week to help patients to express concerns or make complaints, it was suggested that our Patient and Family Nurse Liaison could also offer informal drop-in sessions for patients to be able to discuss their concerns or seek clarity.

Overall, the team at Cedar and patients agreed that this kind of collaborative working was really productive and enabled different types of conversations that maybe wouldn’t otherwise have happened so organically. Gavin and Sam will be writing up their experience at Cedar House and feeding back recommendations –which we in turn will feedback to patients, families, carers and wider audiences. We very much enjoyed our time with Sam and Gavin and look forward to receiving the report.

For more information about Ask Listen Do, visit www.england.nhs.uk/asklistendo