I joined the Patients Council in November 1995. So much has changed in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital since then – mostly for the better!
For the first few years, we held monthly open meetings which were well attended by many, but not all, patients. We ran a very successful pilot project offering individual advocacy on the old Ward 5 – a precursor of the present highly regarded individual advocacy team in the hospital. And we offered individual advocacy to people moving from long term hospital care into the community in the late 1990’s, a process which was documented in the publication in 2009 of our booklet ‘Stories of Changing Lives’.
We started to look for other ways to reach out to patients in the hospital, for example drop-ins in our offices and in the Church Centre. We eventually settled on holding collective advocacy meetings on the wards. This idea was piloted in the Orchard Clinic and we now cover all the acute and rehabilitation wards including IPCU; Eden and Comiston wards for older people, and CAMHS Tier 4 services.
I started as a part-time admin worker and gradually progressed to development work, initially with older and younger people, but now working with patients on acute and rehab. wards as well. I really enjoy the work. It’s been a privilege to meet so many amazing people over the years: patients, staff, and especially the incredible volunteers who run the Patients’ Council and offer so many hours of unpaid work that makes a difference to so many lives.
Maggie McIvor, the Patients Council