Realistic Medicine – helping to improve health and social care in Scotland

The Chief Medical Officer of Scotland is inviting residents to join a Citizens Jury in Perth this Autumn

Shared Future CIC are delighted to be working with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Health Council to help improve health services in Scotland. Catherine Calderwood, the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland is inviting a diverse group of 25 local people, chosen randomly from the electoral register to take part in the Inquiry to discuss a topic that is likely to affect us all. In the letter sent to residents she explains:

Since I started in my post I have talked a lot about ‘Realistic Medicine’, which is about making sure our health services are personalised – so that they respond to everyone’s needs.  Members of the Citizens’ Jury will discuss one aspect of Realistic Medicine, share opinions and discuss ideas before trying to agree a set of recommendations

Residents who are contacted are asked to complete a brief application form, the inquiry is open to anyone aged 16 years or over.

What is Realistic Medicine?

Realistic medicine puts the person receiving health and social care at the centre of decisions made about their care. It encourages health and care workers to find out what matters most to you so that the care of your condition fits your needs and situation. Realistic medicine recognises that a one size fits all approach to health and social care is not the most effective path for the patient or the NHS.

It’s not just about doctors. The principles of Realistic Medicine are relevant to  all professionals who use their skills and knowledge to help people maintain health and to prevent and treat illness. This includes professions such as nursing, pharmacy, counsellors, physios and social work.

Realistic medicine encourages shared decision making about your care and is about moving away from a “doctor knows best” culture. This means your doctor or health professional should understand what matters to you personally and what your goals are. You are encouraged to ask your healthcare professional questions about the risks and benefits of your treatment options, whether the test or procedure is really needed, whether there are alternative treatments and what will happen if you choose to do nothing. By asking these questions it is very much expected that you will be able to make an informed choice about the treatment and care that’s right for you.

At the request of the Our Voice programme during 2017 Shared Future were commissioned to produce a literature review of Citizen Jury style processes. This review formed part of a body of work considering if a Citizens Jury would support the process of Realising Realistic Medicine. A copy of the literature review and further information about the Our Voice Programme can be found here.

A brief summary of the Chief Medical Officer’s third annual report can be found below:

What is a Citizens Jury?

A Citizens’ Jury is a way of involving members of the public to help make important decisions.  A Citizens’ Jury brings together a group of between 12 and 25 members of the public who are usually randomly chosen. They talk about an issue, share ideas and eventually come up with a set of recommendations. They are helped by experienced ‘facilitators’ who help make sure everyone has a fair say and that the task is achieved. Over the three days the facilitators will help to make people feel relaxed and able to take part.

The Jury will be asked to consider the question:

‘What should shared decision making look like and what needs to be done for this to happen?’

The first day will start with an opportunity for people to work in small groups and pairs to think through what shared decision-making is and any experiences they may have of it.

The group will then be joined by a couple of ‘commentators’ who are outside experts on shared decision making. They will present to the group followed by a question and answer session. Following this the group will talk about what they heard and what kind of commentators they would like to hear from next. Over the next two days the jury will hear from more commentators before writing and then attempting to agree a set of recommendations on the last day.

The jury will meet three times in Perth during October and November.