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Earlier this week HSJ announced the 50 foremost patient and citizen leaders in healthcare at the Patient Safety Congress in Birmingham.
The inaugural patient leaders awards recognise the role that patients and citizens play in driving improvements in healthcare by shaping national policy, influencing the NHS nationally and making waves through being involved in their own care.
Jo Fitzgerald’s son Mitchell was one of the first people in England to have a personal health budget. Mitchell was born with a severe disability and complex health needs, but was able to lead a full life at home – in large part because of the increased flexibility and control afforded by his personal health budget.
She founded community interest company peoplehub to share her experiences, and to give a voice to people who have – or who want – a personal health budget. Sadly, Mitchell died in April, as Jo (Jo Fitzgerald’s blog post about Mitchell) described in a moving blog post on the NHS England website but she continues to lead the national personal health budget peer network. The peoplehub peer leaders are key members of the NHS England Personal Health Budget Delivery Team in helping to co-produce and present our development programme for CCGs, and we are delighted to see that Jo’s contribution has been recognised.
Despite Mitchell’s death, Jo says she is determined to continue her work as a patient and carer champion.