The Medical Research Council (MRC) has published a refreshed communications and engagement strategy.

There is a section on public involvement on P12 of the document which is the fullest narrative I have seen of their corporate intentions around this aspect of working in partnership with the public.

It is a good document and important to have in the public domain. But I wish the public involvement part had a bit more ‘oomph’ in making a stronger commitment to involving the public in strategic and operational decision-making by the MRC. Also that it appeared earlier in the document and as part of the main strategic aims.

That might help to counter the views some people hold that the MRC’s default way of working with the public is to broadcast high quality
information. For the fact is that there are many excellent examples from the root and branch parts of the organisation which demonstrate how its researchers increasingly see what they do as a joint venture with patients and the public.

The MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL has, for instance, produced a set of stunning new videos about all aspects of public involvement including this one.

The strategy does these activities a slight disservice by underselling their importance to the overall strategy of the MRC. However, it does mark a degree of progress.

[This post is on the ‘asides’ pages where I tend to post short pieces. My full posts are on the main pages as usual]

Just thought it would be good to put a local slant on a national story – the establishment, as from today, of the new NIHR School for Public Health Research  This from Plymouth (Peninsular Medical School), one of the eight centres around the country involved.  They must have very good PR people down there because they seem to be very good at getting local coverage of these things.

National Voices have published an excellent briefing on what the Health and Social Care Act (which received Royal Assent today) means for public involvement in care.’ And how we need to actively follow-up with the new NHS structures and bodies established by the legislation to ensure they keep to the letter of the law.  Read on.

Thought people might be interested to know that the European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (otherwise known as EUPATI) is holding its launch meeting on 27th March 2012 in Copenhagen.  Details and programme here.  I wrote about the EUPATI initiative on my blog in February if you want to find out more.

Also, it would be remiss of me not to draw attention to the fact that Patientfocus have responded to ‘that blog’ about ‘that article’ in The Guardian looking at gathering patient experience and insight.  And a good response it is too.  Thanks Helen.  See her comments on the blog here.

Just had an email from Rare Disease UK (RDUK) saying they are setting-up four consultation days for patient groups to discuss the rare diseases consultation paper put out by the four health departments across the UK a few weeks ago.  Here are the dates:

Wales – Cardiff – 1st May – location TBC /England – London – 3rd May – CBI Conference Centre, Centre Point Tower /Northern Ireland – 8th May – Dunsilly Hotel, Co. Antrim /Scotland – Edinburgh – 10th May – Edinburgh Capital Hotel

You will have to register to attend so I recommend that you keep checking the RDUK  website.  Don’t just turn up!