Lovely day last week at the NHS innovation Expo, where NHS England asked me to speak about my lived experience with personal health budgets in relation to treating my sensory processing disorder. I was one of two speakers in the session that I participated in, the second being an amazing lady called Michelle who manages the care package for her brother who was left profoundly disabled after he was attacked.
It is always nice to share stories, but it is nicer to meet friends and quite a few were here. Dom Cushnan, who works for the Horizons team at NHS England to promote social movements in the NHS using digital technologies, also attended and was able to introduce me to a number of contacts he had referred me to on twitter.
These included the fabulous Ali Cameron, a mental health activist and all round amazing person and Paula Rylatt who works to develop innovation in South Yorkshire. Far too much coffee was drunk and after getting on the wrong train on the way up from Derby I managed to arrive, breath and begin the speaker session immediately. The years of pretending to be a swan (serene on the surface…) working in agency account management still holds true even after years out the marketing industry.
The Expo itself had some interesting talks on, but as a whole it is still quite concerning to see how much permeation personalisation and the lived experience voice has yet to do. Asking the question about service user involvement in one of the event Q&As I was referred rather quickly to a forum, on a website I had never heard of and told that the innovation under discussion was enthusiastically discussed here, before the next topic was rather quickly moved to. There still seems to be an awful lot of willingness to spend money on bespoke systems that very rarely talk to one another (huge issue in the age of networked systems) when there is usually an open source version available and already doing the same job quite well thank you.
It was certainly interesting to visit such a big corporate event designer for the financial movers and shakers of the NHS. Despite the budget cuts, there is still quite a lot of budget still in flow. The stands of the exhibitors had a very high level of polish which usually means that there are some pretty large deals being cut.