Like many of you reading this blog I had watched, on Twitter, this guy (@tommyntour) for a wee while. I was impressed with his enthusiasm, his commitment to his mum and his utter dedication to sharing the message ‘we need to change’. I followed him on Twitter (and he followed me back – my first famous follower, except Nicola Sturgeon of course, she’s quite famous too!), that’s always a good start if you want to share, to engage, to listen. Little did I know of what was to follow.We talked on Twitter, I watched his short films, I was engaged with his tour – the message was simple, there are lots of people out there who are lost, lonely and confused, and within statutory services we weren’t hearing to their voices. I’m not sure that we (in services) deliberately didn’t listen, it was just the voices were often quiet voices, we didn’t hear the message behind the quiet voice – after all, we had systems and processes, as well as protocols to be followed.Tommy was challenging the system, he asked difficult questions about the processes not by shouting and protest, but simply by sharing real stories, stories about his mum, Joan, real stories about the thousands of people who shared their love stories with him, personal stories of how he struggled with each ‘forever change’. All that he asked was for us to reflect on how our daily interactions impacted on people living with dementia and their carers – were they really at the centre of what we were doing?
It was therefore easy to say yes when the opportunity to invite Tommy to Ayrshire arose. I was going to meet someone I’d admired, someone I’d listened to, that I’d shared ideas with. His tenacity, his belief that the campaign could make things better for others is wonderful to see, indeed to hear.
We, in NHS Ayrshire & Arran embarked on our own #makeadifference campaign with Tommy. My #pledge – “I will do what I can to support the campaign in Ayrshire & Arran”, and fortunately in my role I am able to exert a little leadership influence.
And so to our story, and the bits not captured in our film (released today) CLICK HERE. I love working with enthusiastic, motivated people and we’ve got lots of them in Ayrshire. However three in particular stand out regarding the Ayrshire leg of Tommy’s tour – Senior Charge Nurse Lynn McLaughlin, Clinical Improvement Advisor Amanda Johnston (now with the a Scottish Govt) and our Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant Janice McAlister. The three musketeers were assisted greatly by Wendy Rae (Medical Photography Dept) who hand cut every leaf.
We have been working with Tommy and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (@alliancescot) to promote the voice of carers in Dementia Care in our District General Hospitals, our community teams/services and throughout our organisation.
Tommy has given a ‘talk’ to the NHS Board (31.03.14) and eight open talks to staff, venues Ayr & Crosshouse Hospitals, during June and July. A further two talks had to be organised in August 2014 because of the number of staff asking for more sessions.
We have collected pledges from each of these talks and added them to our ‘Pledge Trees’.
All pledges are anonymous, it is the responsibility of each individual to own their own pledge and accompanying action, it not the organisation asking it’s Tommy, it’s personal. It’s a personal ownership approach rather than corporate ‘expectation’.
530 staff have attended 10 sessions (throughout June, July and August). Nurses, allied health professionals, management, administration and support staff, social work, Fire & Rescue and Police – over 270 staff have made and recorded pledges.
Tommy and Janice then took the ‘talks’ out to local authorities and to student nurses at University of the West of Scotland.
This film included in this blog is our story. In January we will take the next step and go back out to our staff asking them (again anonymously) what they have done with their pledge, have they fulfilled it, if not what has been the barrier, what can we (the organisation) do to support them delivering on their pledge.
I hope you enjoy the film, please let us know on Twitter and on the blog itself – we’d love to hear from you.
Tommy – it’s been my privilege to know you, to be able to call you a friend. It’s a delight to be able to share in this journey with you.
Make a Difference Film – viewpoint from Derek Barron, Associate Nurse Director at NHS Ayrshire and Arran
The Dementia Carer Voices team are delighted to share this viewpoint on the Make a Difference film from Derek Barron, Associate Nurse Director at NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Derek and the team at NHS Ayrhisre and Arran have worked closely with the project, especially Tommy Whitelaw, our Project Engagement Lead, and have shown their continued commitment throughout the Make a Difference campaign. Thank you to Derek for sharing his insights and to all of the staff at NHS Ayrshire and Arran for their support.
You can follow Derek on twitter @dtbarron and of course the Dementia Carer Voices team @DementiaCarerVo #makeadifference