Advanced Care Research Centre

Symposium Reflections - a PPI view from the audience - Jo Turnbull

Our second PPI symposium reflection comes from Jo Turnbull.

As a person of advanced years with multiple long-term conditions why on earth wouldn’t I be interested in the ACRC and keen to attend the Symposium? - and I wasn’t disappointed. Apart from anything else the glorious spring weather we enjoyed in Edinburgh was so uplifting, but that coupled with 2 full on days was a truly great experience.

Having a daughter quite highly placed in the world of medical research I have never been one to shirk the opportunity to do my bit. In my last job, as Chair of a large Mental Health Trust, was keen to champion research by as many staff as possible, and since I’ve retired, I’ve welcomed the chance to be involved in whatever way I can.

It is an inevitable factor of growing old that one’s fitness decreases exponentially with age and there is an almost direct increase in the number of medications and procedures one is subject to! We all seem to start with high cholesterol necessitating daily statins. This frequently leads to type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure. Arthritis sets in and a few joint replacements follow. One’s eyesight goes resulting in cataract operations. No sooner is one problem identified and treated than another one pops up. In so many instances, however, it is the problem that is treated rather than the person - it is very rare to hear of a holistic approach being taken.

At the Symposium this singular approach seemed to be well recognised. Enlightened professionals spoke about involving patients in their own care and listening; to what was important to them. An acknowledgement that we are all people rather than a series of medical conditions.

There has undoubtedly been a huge cultural change regarding the way patients are treated in the NHS over the past few years. It was particularly good to hear the ideas of the post-graduate students - the future of the various professions - and the challenge they posed to the status quo.

I left the Symposium buoyed up by the enthusiasm of the speakers and the optimistic picture of the future they envisage. I hope that I will be able to take part in many more research opportunities through the ACRC and that I will be invited back to future Symposia to help monitor this progress and to be part of the exciting journey ahead.