We open each of our Governing Body meetings with a patient story. This opportunity to hear about the experience of our patients and service users and ensures that the commissioning decisions we make have real people at the heart of them.
A young carer’s story
This short animation, produced by NHS England and inspired by a young carer Health Champion, gives an insight into the lives of children and young people with caring responsibilities. It was shared with our Governing Body as part of a discussion around the Kirklees Young Carers Service which supports those aged from 8 -18 years. More information about this service is here.
Elliot has been living with depression and isolated himself from people. With the help of the pathways scheme, delivered by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, he takes part in many activities such as photography and walking – starting to change his life for the better. You can find out more about pathways here.
Hartshead resident John Laville, suffers from atrial fibrillation, where his heart’s rhythm becomes disrupted for a period of time. This disruption is very unpleasant to experience and, if not treated quickly, can have serious consequences for his health.
In the past, when John experienced symptoms, he had to go to hospital to have his heart checked using an electrocardiogram (ECG).
Now, thanks to a move to bring more care closer to home, John was recently able to have blood tests and an ECG in his GP practice. The results of the test were available within a matter of hours, and thankfully, confirmed that he was fit and well.
John said: “I was impressed by the thoroughness of my GP practice. What better can you have; it’s easy, local and I don’t have to travel to hospital for these tests. A great use of technology and resources; a very good experience”.
By increasing the range of services available close to home, we are supporting more people to live independently and reduce the need for a hospital admission. For those who do need to spend time in hospital, better community services will help to speed up the discharge process too.
“Having had mental illness from a very young age (my first doctors visit was at 8 years old), school was sometimes very difficult. As I grew older, it was just the norm, I didn’t know any different, and to me this was how life was.
I became a mum at the age of 18. The depression grew stronger as I grew older and had more responsibilities. I was 20 when I started on medication. It was just antidepressants to start with and some counselling at the GP surgery once a month. It carried on for another five years until after my second child was born and then the depression really took hold.
By the time my third child was born things just began to get too much. The medication was increased and I was referred to see a psychiatrist. I ended up as an inpatient at one point too.
Having been on medication (21 tablets a day) for nearly 25 years, I knew that this was my life. I even asked the psychiatrist if I would ever be medication free and he said no, I would be on them for the rest of my life. At this point I had tried everything going, psychology, psychiatry, nurses, and counselling. Nothing seemed to make much of a difference.
In 2012 I started an art for wellbeing class. This was to be the best thing that had ever happened in my life. In two and half years my life has been totally transformed. I have been medication free for 16 months, I do inspirational talks about my life, I have three very proud children who now call me their role model (at times they were my carers!).
In May 2014 I went to Buckingham Palace to have tea with the Queen in her garden. Who would have thought that a bit of drawing would change my life so much. It’s more than drawing, its confidence building, its sociable, its empowering! I now have a life and after 43 years of existing, I now live that life.”
Debs has been attending art classes provided by the Creative Minds project. For more information visit their website.