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Involving people in designing our services is helping improve experience

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  • 2024
  • March
  • Involving people in designing our services is helping improve experience
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The story of Luis serves as an inspiring testament to his pivotal role as a Lived-Experience Ambassador for the Mid and South Essex Community Collaborative (MSECC) Wheelchair Services. MSECC is a partnership between the community services of Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT), North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) and Provide Community (Provide).

Living with spinal muscular atrophy, Luis discovered that the initially provided wheelchair didn’t meet his requirements. His proactive approach prompted a review of his needs, resulting in the provision of a new wheelchair that dramatically enhanced his independence.

Luis, who travels extensively for work, says his wheelchair is instrumental to his life. “I regard my new wheelchair as my superpower, it has enabled me to realise my full potential both professionally and personally, and for the first time I am proud to be the breadwinner for my family.”

Impressed by Luis’s experience and insights, Matthew Goddard, Head of Community Occupational Therapy, Adult Speech and Language Therapy, Equipment and Southend Wheelchair Services, invited him to become a lived-experience ambassador. Recognising that services may not always see opportunities, Matthew values the life experience that ambassadors like Luis bring to the collaborative effort, acknowledging the continual room for improvement in service delivery. He says, “Working within our system can often feel like a puzzle, having Luis on board with us supporting this work with his lived experience is like finding the missing piece”.

As someone already working as a diversity and inclusion consultant, Luis saw this as an opportunity to contribute to improving the wheelchair service experience for others. In his role, Luis actively participates in service meetings, offering solutions and perspectives to address challenges.

Luis’s involvement in one meeting led to valuable suggestions, such as using simple infographics and criteria crib sheets to make the process more understandable for service users. He brings a patient’s voice and a fresh perspective to the service, contributing to a positive impact on the overall experience.

While acknowledging the robustness of the wheelchair services, Luis also recognises the importance of consistency in provision across all locations. He is committed to making a difference and contributing to the gold standard ambition for all three service providers.

If you are interested in finding out more about how your experience can help make a difference, you can contact:

Watch a short video from Luis online here.

EPUT: epunft.pet@nhs.net

NELFT Patient Involvement Team: involvement@nelft.nhs.uk 

Provide Community Customer Engagement: Provide.customerservices@nhs.net

Watch a short video from Luis online here.

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