Involving service users who experience disadvantage and are seldom heard in the Bradford area
The Experts by Experience Group at Bevan House Primary Care Centre is a small group of volunteers which includes people who have had experience of homelessness, or are asylum seekers or refugees. The involvement of the Experts’ Group enables existing and future services to be more responsive to the needs of people who have faced disadvantage and often discrimination.
Bevan House Primary Care Centre in Bradford provides responsive NHS General Practice services designed to meet the needs of people who are homeless or in unstable accommodation, and those who have come to Bradford as refugees or to seek asylum.
Overview of public involvement activity
Bevan Healthcare set up an ‘Experts by Experience Group’ which is broadly representative of its service users. It is a small group of volunteers which includes people who have had experience of homelessness and people who have come to Bradford as asylum seekers or refugees.
At expert meetings, group members choose which service or health problem area to review from our ‘Street Medicine Programme’. This could be anything from asylum and refugee care to chronic diseases such as diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
At each meeting, the experts report on the area that has been under review and produce a final report which will be given to the management team at Bevan Healthcare and an action plan agreed. This will involve members giving their own views and sometimes investigating the views of other groups of service users.
The Experts’ Group has been integral to the establishment of effective research and evaluation in the practice. In recognition of this Bevan Healthcare’s Experts by Experience Group received a highly commended certificate from the National Association for Patient Participation for its work helping to shape the services at Bevan Healthcare.
A complementary Practice Health Champions programme was set up to develop a joint way of working between the GP practice and its patients. The champions focus on supporting the health and wellbeing of the practice community through community engagement and delivery of activities which support self-care, long term conditions and other priorities identified by the practice.
Volunteers are also recruited for other roles in Bevan Healthcare including waiting room buddies and street medicine bus drivers.
You can watch a short film about the successful involvement work carried out by Bevan Healthcare.
Who carried out the activity?
Bevan Healthcare has a volunteer coordinator who recruits and supports volunteers.
What difference has the activity made?
The involvement of the Experts’ Group enables existing and future services to be more responsive to the needs of people who have faced disadvantage and often discrimination. When developing commissioning plans for new and current services, the views and results gathered play an important role.
Members of the group focus on local provision and have also contributed to national discussions with patients and carers on primary care commissioning. The health champions have organised health promotions on issues such as self-care, men’s health and Chlamydia awareness. They also helped develop a patient survey and were involved in the action plan to address issues raised in the survey.
Who should we contact for more information?
How were people told about the difference their participation had made?
Through ongoing contact at meetings.