The story of this blog….

Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog.

I started writing this blog in 2010 when I was CEO at the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). It was then a way of keeping AMRC member charities up-to-date with what was happening in health research policy and debate.

When I left AMRC in 2011 the blog travelled with me. But it became more of a personal outlet. A place where I could celebrate, commentate, critique, connect, laugh and, yes, sometimes express frustration about all things public involvement and engagement in health research and care. It also became a really important way for me to communicate with the public involvement community when I became National Director at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

But my main motivation behind the blog has always been to share my passion for public involvement and engagement – with patients, carers, the public, researchers, health professionals and anybody else who came this way. I hope those who have visited have drawn encouragement, connections, information and the occasional bit of good advice from it and that you will too.

There are many better and more expert writers on public involvement and engagement than me. Also, journals that now regularly publish excellent articles and papers on the subject (unlike when I started). My good fortune has been in being able to provide some personal insights from the heart of NIHR: the UK’s largest health research funder which is rightly and widely respected for what it has achieved in public involvement. Plus an ability to turn these insights into something readable and quotable fairly quickly.

I should add that I have never been paid for any of my blogs. Nor have I amended or changed a blog because someone didn’t like something I wrote. I have sometimes written blogs about new initiatives or announcements when asked, but only if I thought they were worth covering. The choice of what I have written about and how has been entirely mine.

Bloggers will tell you how time-consuming maintaining a blog can be. To date I have written almost 1000 blogs. Inevitably some are better than others! But then the vast majority have been written on my 40 minute train journey to and from work. So apologies for the occasional lapse in spelling or grammar. It was probably because my train had arrived at Charing Cross and the carriage doors were opening!

Talking of doors opening it is now October 2019 and I have moved again to become the Executive Director at the Academy of Medical Sciences. It has a fabulous public engagement programme among many other things.

But if am realistic I suspect I will have less time to write for my blog in the future. In any case I would like to develop other opportunities if I can. Plus when you’ve written 1000 blogs on the same subject it’s inevitable to repeat yourself which is interesting to neither me or you as a reader.

However, there will still be the occasional new post, certainly more poetry (on this and my other site) and you can still find everything that’s been written up until now in the pages above.

All things have their time and most especially blog posts.

Turn, turn, turn.

Simon

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