Our commitment to that principle is embedded in our work, and is one reason why the Care Quality Commission (CQC) contract us to recruit, train and manage Experts by Experience. Experts by Experience are people who have direct experience of using health and social care services, employed to take part in CQC inspections of health and social care services, and visits to monitor the use of the Mental Health Act.
Laura Broughton was a CQC Expert for some years. Her work included helping with the high-profile CQC review of nearly 150 learning disabilities services, prompted by the Winterbourne View scandal:
"Being part of this review was a good experience for me. It gave me the experience of what it is really like for other people who have a learning disability. What happened at Winterbourne View was terrible and should have never happened.
Some of the people I met should have more help in getting a better life. They were often bored and distressed and staff talked to them not as adults but as though they were children. Some of the people weren’t treated as individuals and certainly not in a person centred way. I felt some people didn’t get the opportunities they should have because they couldn’t speak or because others felt their behaviour was challenging.”
As well as being valuable work in itself, the Experts by Experience programme provides much needed paid employment opportunities for people who sometimes find it hard to get work. Laura continues:
“It was good for me because I'm now a lot more confident, I’ve got a paid job as an Expert by Experience. Having a paid job is new for me as it is with a lot of people who have a learning difficulty. I have a voice and I was able to help other people living in these services to have a voice.”
Experts by Experience from Choice Support are featured in videos to help train Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors. See Steve Kuspert, Rafik Hamaizia and Monique Mehra talking about their work in this video:
“I’m both deaf and blind and have some physical disabilities and anxiety. I know for myself that going to a GP or hospital can be quite daunting at times. I can’t lip read which makes communication difficult with medical staff ... you can’t understand what they’re saying. I’ve taken part in CQC inspections at GPs surgeries, residential care homes and one hospital trust. Technology helps me cope. My hearing is still mildly impaired even with the use of bone anchored hearing aids. I use assistive technology for IT needs and speech software. I need a support worker when I do an inspection.”
“I get asked to work as and when CQC inspections come in. Before we start inspectors tell us what to focus on. My role is to talk to the patients or users to give in depth input from their perspective. The inspector may look at other things like food hygiene and the paper work. They may not get the same impression as us EbyEs. What we do is help give a fuller picture to the inspector so they can pull together their report. Some inspectors ask me to do an access audit so I walk around and experience the service as a person with both sensory and physical disabilities. I let them know how accessible the service is. I can share my experience of using electric doors, for example – that’s the sort of thing I would think of that others may not. It’s all about my having that extra bit of knowledge I can use to help add to the inspection.”
Find out more about Choice Support's Experts by Experience work here. We regularly recruit for Experts by Experience in the Central region of England. When recruiting we will post details in the job section of the Choice Support website.
or telephone: 0207 261 4100