From my perspective, the event still didn't have the opportunity to hear directly from people with long term conditions or carers about what matters to them, and that needs addressing.
My apologies if I have mislead anyone.
Dear Rt. Hon Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, Baroness Hilary Armstrong of Hill Top, Lord Archy Kirkwood of Kirkhope, Sir Robert Worcester KBE, DL, Lord Goodlad KCMG PC and Cheryl Gillian MP (GovNet Advisory Board),
As the Advisory Board for GovNet, I wanted to let you know about the Long Term Conditions 2016 conference that took place today that was run by GovNet.
Last year, the event also caught the attention of myself and other patient leaders on Twitter, and we commented vocally on Twitter that it was totally inappropriate for people with long term conditions to not be there. A last minute change was made to include a patient speaker.
But as the event for 2016 was covered on Twitter today, it was like Groundhog day, with no patients or carers who weren't there in a formal professional capacity listed as speakers in the plenary or breakout sessions. I have had no response from the @LTC2016 Twitter account, hence this open letter.
To have an event about long term conditions, without a significant presence of people with long term conditions there, is at best a waste of time and at worst a waste of lives, as systems continue to work around professionals and not with patients.
This is ethically and morally irresponsible and wrong.
If the aim of the conference as state below from the website is true, not having patients and carers there talking about what really matters means that aim can't be achieved. How can you help patients live healthily and independently if we aren't there to tell you how we already live and what would actually help us achieve that? How can you legitimately talk about having leading expert speakers with no speakers holding primarily the expertise of lived experience as non-professionals or non-corporates - now widely recognised as having parity of esteem with professional expertise. Patients and carers are the key stakeholders, of course.
How can something be prestigious without these essential components of a conversation about health?
...The Long Term Conditions Conference 2016 will explore the policies, strategies and best practice being employed to tackle long-term conditions and help patients live healthily and independently.I am not guilty of 'blue sky thinking' or 'wishful thinking' as patients and carers are already involved in conferences. The BMJ are championing this, building on the work of the PatientsIncluded.
Access to leading expert speakers along with the opportunity to actively network with other sector leaders, decision makers and key stakeholders make this the most prestigious event of its kind. The one day format will provide everything you and your fellow delegates require to move forward under the direction of the current agenda and utilise the information delivered on the day...
NHS England have (to varying degrees) involved patients and carers in their high profile events for long term conditions, such as Future of Health (2013, 2014). The Kings Fund often involve patients in their events, as does the College of Medicine. By many, it is now considered standard in healthcare events to hear from people about what matters to them and their personal experiences of health conditions. There are plenty of people like Rosamund Snow, David Gilbert and Ceinwen Giles who have argued the rationale behind this far more articulately that I can, and I would encourage you to read their work.
There are no excuses left for not involving patients and carers and listening to lived experience in events in 2016.
“You can never make the same mistake twice because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, it's a choice.”Myself, my fellow patient leaders and the other 15 million people living with long term health conditions and our carers want to know why you have chosen, in 2016, to ignore half of the conversation about long term conditions.
Anya de Iongh
Person living with long term conditions, Patient Leader