A couple of months ago I was invited to take part in an 'Expert Patients Course' at my GP's surgery. The title is a bit of a misnomer really as its designed and aimed at patients with a long term chronic health condition such as diabetes or arthritis and the idea is to help them self manage their condition. However I found it very useful and informative.
The course lasted for 6 weeks and at the end of it I was invited onto the committee of the Patients Health Forum for my PCT. I accepted immediately for two reasons. firstly I think it will be another stage for me to 'bang my drum' about RCC drugs and secondly because it will be a way of keeping a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the NHS.
I was certainly right in the second instance. At the first meeting I attended I was invited onto the board of the PCT's 'TeleHealth' new initiative. The general idea of this is that patients with conditions which require regular monitoring - blood sugar readings, peak flows etc - will be able to do their own readings at home, or have a district nurse do them, and the results then sent by a dedicated phone or computer line for assessment at the surgery or hospital. Which sounds like a good idea doesnt it? However, we still have to see how this will work out in practice.
So I may not be able to work any more, and I do miss it when Im feeling well, but by involving myself as a patient in these working groups and committees I may be able to make a difference in some small way. Plus Im meeting a lot of nice people and making new friends. And who knows where this may lead ? Minister for Health next ! ha ha !