CLAHRC GM stages successful PPI conference

At a recent conference held in central Manchester, CLAHRC GM showcased patient and public involvement (PPI) within the Patients Research Theme.

Organisers and clients of local voluntary groups, members of PPI interest groups, and staff from local CCGs with responsibility for public engagement in health matters joined researchers from the University of Manchester’s Centre for Primary Care as they presented findings from CLAHRC GM funded studies focusing on the influence of social networks.

Among the presentations, Dr Andy Gibson, from the South West Peninsula CLAHRC, and Dr Jo Welsman, a member of the Peninsula CLAHRC user involvement group (PenPIG), highlighted the activities of their own group. Delegates also enjoyed a demonstration of the CLAHRC GM’s PLANSforyourhealth.org website – an online patient-led assessment for network support, which was launched earlier this year.

Post-conference evaluation confirmed the success of the event, which aimed to promote ways of involving patients and the public in research and to highlight the important social function that community groups play in supporting the health and well-being of patients; a message underlined by a display of posters illustrating the varied activities undertaken by the community support groups represented at the conference. Delegates were asked to comment upon the value of the day and they provided extremely positive feedback, indicating appreciation of the networking opportunity, its value as a learning experience, and a desire to participate in further similar events.

Theme Lead, Professor Ann Rogers, said: “The conference was a great way to bring all the researchers together with some of the voluntary support groups who have played a vital part in this research theme. We wanted to really show them how their contribution has helped us and informed our findings and the way we conduct our research.”

A member of the conference organising committee added: “We want to thank delegates for their contribution to the event. We now intend on producing a manifesto that draws together the views expressed in the discussions that were held. This will be published on the CLAHRC GM website in the coming weeks. Its focus will be a statement of what we have learned and will hopefully provide a roadmap for future PPI strategy. Many local community groups are clearly motivated to engage in research. It’s vitally important that the research community continues to invest time and effort in developing partnerships with these organisations, and ensuring that commissioners of services are fully aware of the significance of the work being undertaken.”

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