In 2013 I worked with the Patient Experience team to have a fantastic event and we really did go all out. I still remember now a colleague on the wards telling me that she 'wished it was Change Day every day.' We had some incredible pledges and many of those have led to long term changes within the hospital.
I had moved on in my professional life by the time that 2014 NHS Change Day was launched, but I was still desperate to be involved, so during this time I became a West Midlands hubbie (NHS Change Day volunteer), helping to advise others in the West Midlands on ways they could get involved. I was shocked to see how many individuals there were in one region that were striving for change.
At this point I took a leap of faith and made a personal pledge to share my story of mental health services to help improve care for others. I still have not finished my work around this and I'm not sure if it will ever be complete as I have so much to say but I like to think that by sharing parts of my journey of a patient, I can help shape services of the future.
By getting involved in NHS Change Day, I was also able to take action in relation to my own care. I started to stand up for myself, share how I felt throughout my treatment and what I'd like to be done differently. At first I was scared: I wondered whether I had the authority to voice my concerns. I built my confidence though as NHS Change Day taught me that no matter who you are, you have the right to make a change. It's thanks to NHS Change Day that I've been able to find the courage to stand up, talk about my personal experiences and make changes to services.
We're now working on NHS Change Day 2015 which I am really excited about! I've seen how NHS Change Day has evolved and each year more and more patients, carers, families and staff are coming together to take action and make changes. This year I am working on a regional level in the West Midlands as a volunteer and I am also working to assist patients and the wider community to become more involved in NHS Change Day.
I love thinking back to the way we've helped to shape the future of the NHS and I get so excited about how we can make even more changes in the future. NHS Change Day has helped me to explore so many avenues of the NHS and meet so many interesting and enthusiastic groups of people. The above picture shows four of us Hubbies, having a mock-up Christmas dinner, laughing, joking, talking NHS Change Day, supporting each other and bonding over brussel sprouts. To me, NHS Change Day is about enabling individuals to come together and form friendships over their love and enthusiasm for the NHS.