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David Griffiths: Co-production and Community Engagement at Medequip

David Griffiths - Managing Director (Medequip)

In my last blog on why language matters I said Medequip will never make claims about co-production, instead we would make sure our partners and people who use our various services could speak for themselves.

So, I was very pleased to hear in National Co-production Week (5-9 July) that, in one of our contract areas, we are working with the local Healthwatch to collect people’s experiences of using our service. This is a great piece of joint-working.

Whilst Medequip has a long history of keeping people independent for longer, it is the Healthwatch organisation in each area that has the skills, and indeed the duty, to enable people to shape, influence and improve NHS and social care services.

I look forward to working with the commissioners and Healthwatch to continue building on the efforts of a great many people who have kept the services of both organisations operating in such difficult times.

In addition, Medequip is working with a community development organisation to make sure we have a model of feedback that involves the wider community too. I’m very excited about this work.

Lots of people and organisations, including Medequip are rightly talking about “working with the community”, and we have already taken some practical steps towards this. For example, we recently made a commitment to work with the Huddersfield Giants Community Development Foundation.

But as I talk to people across the country, in areas where we already work, and in areas where we think we could provide a great service, I’m learning that “working with the community” means many different things.

That’s why I asked for help.

Each area has its own unique organisations and challenges as well as dealing with many common issues.

The pace of NHS and social care integration is different.

Some areas have more well-developed infra-structure and funding arrangements to support the voluntary sector. Rural and urban areas are obviously different, but so too are the large metropolitan areas.

For a large organisation like Medequip this means arranging our work on co-production and community engagement flexibly, building our skills and supporting our people. Sometimes it means thinking small, sometimes big. Sometimes technology and data will be the answer, sometimes it will only play a small part.

Whatever the case. I promise that myself, and Medequip, will be curious, ask questions and listen carefully before jumping in with our (my) ideas on what’s needed.

So, to finish, recently I was pleased to see a potential Local Authority partner requesting bidders show how they would use an “ethnographic approach” to developing the service. Someone we work with described this as the process of “deep hanging around with people”.

I think he means getting to know people and listening to them and I think that’s another great way Medequip can help people stay independent for longer.

If you are an existing or potential partner of Medequip, or use our contract or retail services why not get in touch to let me know what you think.

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