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Educating for Patient Centred Care: Preparing for the UCLPartners Education Conference 2015

10 October 2015 | Tim Gluck

The 2015 Education Conference, focusing on patient-centred care, has been roughly nine months in planning, but you’ll be pleased to see that I’ve managed to condense it to a page here!

What is patient-centred care?

There are many different components, but a good summary is that it is care that values the patient as a whole personand respects their autonomy through sharing of power and responsibility. It is the care that we would all like to receive.

Why ‘educating for patient-centred care’?

The seed of the idea came from discussions within our department, and also with Tim Swanwick, the Postgraduate Dean for Health Education England Noth Central and East London (HENCEL). Patient-centred care, (or person-centred care) is obviously what we should be aspiring to, but it is too often not the experience of patients in the current services. Trainees and students, of all disciplines and professions, do not always see or recognise good patient centred care, and training structures do not always promote education which highlights this. Luckily we have been able to attract many prominent and excellent speakers and facilitators, most of whom have connections with UCLPartners or the areas in which we work.

The programme developed organically, with very few fixed points at the beginning. As we read more and spoke to different people, we came to the final programme. The conference is a great opportunity to bring together trainees and trainers from all disciplines and professions, and of course patients and carers, to discuss the issues, to share and promote good practice.

Where are patients and carers in all this?

The first person we met when starting to plan this was Fiona McKenzie, the Patient Insight and Involvement Lead, who has been invaluable in putting together the programme in a way that involves patients to the greatest extent possible. We have 30 patients/carers attending who have contributed to all parts of the conference. There are themes to presentations around how we best include the patient experience in teaching, and a workshop around the patient experience, and one on how to involve patients in the planning of education.

What were the headaches?

My biggest headache has been balance – how to balance the input from patients and different groups of delegates; trainees and trainers; undergrad and postgraduate; doctors and non-doctors; mental health and the rest; even between north east and north central London. I have never organised a meeting with such a broad remit or audience. I hope we have succeeded in putting together a programme which appeals to all groups.

The next headaches were the practicalities- I am lucky to be working with a team, primarily Rachana Bhatt and Fiona McCafferty, who have done it all before, so my anxious phone calls are invariably met with “Don’t worry Tim, it will be OK”.

We have had some unusual challenges, with questions like how 20 members of the Chickenshed inclusive theatre company will get access to the auditorium, and whether we ask the venue to put up a ramp which impairs sight lines or just the space in front of the seats. I now go everywhere with a tape measure and know what a 1.6 metre gap between the front row and the stage looks like.

Our final headache has been the printed material – despite all our best intentions, it has been a bit of a rush to finalise. New versions of abstracts and programmes flew across cyberspace, and printing deadlines came and went like buses on Tottenham Court Road! The communications team have been invaluable in making the printed material clear and consistent. It seems that an obsessive nature is an essential in the person specification of the comms team, but the end result shows that this detailed approach really pays off.

How does this align with UCLPartners other activities?

Very well, I hope. Patient-centred care is also a major component of many of the UCLPartners programmes to innovate and bring health gains for patients. The multi-professional aspects and strong patient involvement are central to UCLPartners goals. We hope that the conference will be a meeting of minds and sharing of ideas from other areas as well as education.

Tim Gluck

Tim Gluck is one of the Associate Directors of Education at UCLPartners responsible for professional development. He also works as a Consultant Geriatrician. At UCLPartners he oversees those activities of the education department which do not fall into specialty training.