My name is Bernie O’Reilly and I am involved in public/patient engagement through the World Health Organisations Patients for Patient Safety Programme.
Before joining Patients for Patient Safety Ireland I no particular healthcare skills, apart from a willingness to be involved and make a contribution to patient safety in Ireland.
As a volunteer I am invited to share my ideas and opinions, and contribute to conversations about Irish Healthcare. I believe it is good to involve people in discussing the delivery of services that affect us all. When I am a patient, I experience healthcare as a recipient of what others have fashioned. My experience, and that of all patients/service users matters because we live the reality of receiving healthcare. If we do not share our views then policy makers and healthcare professionals are missing out on valuable insight and feedback.
I only involve myself in things that are either part of my life experiences or catch my attention. I joined the group following the death of my husband from sepsis, so sepsis awareness and safe surgical practices are foremost for me. Open Disclosure is also a big issue, and how healthcare engages with people when things go wrong. Since I joined in 2015, I have added other areas of interest such as Infection Prevention and Control, and more recently Medication Safety.
So – how do I contribute?
Patients for Patient Safety Ireland is a collaboration with the HSE and other healthcare organisations in Ireland. Many of the opportunities to engage come through the HSE. I enjoy the support of other members and I think we all bring something to healthcare and to each other and grow in knowledge though our exchanges.
Post Covid19 pandemic healthcare needs to be everybody’s business. To achieve the very best outcomes for patients, patients themselves need to be actively involved. Patient empowerment is about including patients in all conversations about their care and how services are designed. Healthcare built on inclusiveness makes us all participants and ultimately, we create a much stronger healthcare service.
Patients for Patient Safety has the World Health Organisation resources to support it and in Ireland the strength of collaboration with the HSE.
I believe its members have great opportunities to contribute, influence and improve Irish healthcare.