What Matters to You Day - Blog by Benj

Posted by See Me, 25 May 2017

Our Health and Social Care Policy and Practice Officer Benj McElwee talks about 'What Matters to You?' day, and how it can help to improve health and social care. 

What Matters to You?’ day is on June 6th this year. It’s a campaign to support the Scottish Government’s intention to improve health and social care, so people aren’t being asked ‘What’s the matter with you?’, and instead “What matters to you?” to fully involve people in the decisions that impact on them.

It’s an interesting idea which fits with the right to free, meaningful and active participation in decisions; a right which was highlighted as vital in the Rights for Life declaration.

It also chimes with the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report, 2015-16, Realising Realistic Medicine, and the aim of delivering person-centred care.

This cuts across many Scottish Government and NHS Scotland policies and strategies, including the 2020 Vision for health care services, the Healthcare Quality Strategy, the National Clinical Strategy and Realistic Medicine.

Realistic Medicine’s aim is to reduce harm, lessen the amount of wasted time and effort and prevent needless changes to people’s care, while coming up with innovative new ways to improve treatment. There is a growing international movement around the need to co-create healthcare through shared decision making, to tackle unsustainable and undesirable practices in healthcare – including overtreatment and overmedicalisation.

Describing how this affects day-to-day interactions with medical professionals, Cath Calderwood, the Chief Medical Officer, said: “You should expect the doctor (or other health professional) to explore and understand what matters to you personally and what your goals are, to explain to you the possible treatments or interventions available with a realistic explanation of their potential benefits and risks for you as an individual”.

While the campaign culminates in one day each year, the working group supporting it – led by Scottish Government and Healthcare Improvement Scotland – want to see this ethos embedded in everyday practice.

It is hoped that the movement will continue to flourish and spread from healthcare settings to other areas such as social care, psychiatric settings, and prisons.

There are over 600 registrations from people and organisations to take part in ‘What Matters to You?’ this year, including NHS departments, social care providers, housing associations, and third sector organisations. There will be a lot of information captured to see the impact asking the question can have. To get an idea of the difference it has made before, you can see stories from previous years on the What Matters to You website.

Interestingly, North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership are taking the opportunity to do something different, and asking people in the community what matters to them in terms of health and social care, so they can co-produce their next three year Strategic Plan.

If we are to properly tackle stigma in health and social care, to ensure that people who are struggling with their mental health have the best chance of recovery, we all need to have a say in the decisions that impact us.

Check them out on twitter @WMTYScot and tweet using #WMTY17