A personal perspective on ‘Patients as Partners’

4th November 2019

Cuttsy+Cuttsy are going to be at the Patients as Partners Europe Conference in London, January 2020. Here at Cuttsy+Cuttsy we’re serious about improving the lives of patients and their families – and personally, it’s why I chose to work in healthcare communications.

In my career, I have had the privilege and honour to work with a lot of amazing people –many of these people happen to be patients. My favourite project   to date, is one where we embraced Patients as Partners as not just an aspiration, but a reality. It started in 2017 when we ran meetings over 3 days with patients who had different types of cancer and their nurses, from across the world. As I listened to each person’s story, I was humbled.

It was apparent that there is not always a huge amount of support or reliable information for new therapies, and healthcare professionals are lacking reputable materials  to direct their patients and families to, rather than being overwhelmed by ‘Dr Google’. From these meetings we were able to form an Advisory Board of patients, nurses, oncologists and other specialists to Co+Create educational materials for a broad-spectrum cancer therapy.

The advisory board truly acted as a partner in the project; they were an extended part of the content creation team. Their insights and ability to contribute to these materials is not just important for the current community, it also enables them to help the people that will be diagnosed in the future. To offer support to those in need when they need it most, and to become a community working together for a common vision – to improve lives. We have been collaborating over the last two years with teleconferences every couple of weeks. I can honestly say I have strengthened relationships with colleagues through this journey and made some excellent friends in this process. Even though we might be in completely different time zones – this has not stopped us becoming partners.

At Cuttsy+Cuttsy this is the kind of work that we are all so passionate about and this is something I will continue to advocate for moving forward – what better way to support people, than by partnering with those who know the most. Whether this is the nurses who interact with patients and their families every day, the healthcare professionals who know patient history and choice of therapies in so much depth or the patients who have simply lived with their disease making their experience invaluable when learning how best to support people in the future.