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EMAHSN bursariesCommunity and voluntary groups that provide important platforms for patients to shape local health services have received a funding boost from the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN).

The ten local ‘Patient and Public Involvement’ (PPI) groups have been awarded a total of £15,000 to help meet their running costs – supporting them to continue with their vital work to promote patient, carer and public involvement in healthcare delivery and health research across the East Midlands.

The groups exist to make sure that the experiences of patients and members of the public are at the heart of future decisions about health services. Each of the 10 groups to receive the funding focuses on a key health issue, ranging from young people with long term conditions to mental health, stroke, diabetes and emergency services.

EMAHSN launched the fund 3 years ago because it recognised that these types of groups, all of which operate on a voluntary basis, can find it difficult to cover basic costs such as travel and members’ out-of-pocket expenses.

Mike Hannay, Managing Director of EMAHSN, said that just small amounts of funding can make a big difference and help ensure these essential groups can continue to thrive.

“Patient and Public Involvement groups are at the very heart of health service improvement,” he said. “The East Midlands has a great network made up of many hundreds of volunteers who commit their time to making sure that patients are listened to and that their experiences, ideas and feedback are taken on board by healthcare organisations.

“The groups reach out to many people who otherwise would not have the opportunity to contribute, including underserved communities and people living in rural areas without easy access to transport.

“EMAHSN recognises and values their contribution and these small grants will help to ensure the groups can continue to represent the views of patients and the public on some of the biggest health challenges facing our region.”

Applications for the grants were considered by the East Midlands Patient and Public Involvement (PPI Senate), an independent group of patients and public with years of health service user experience between them. The senate supports health and social care organisations to embed patient engagement.

Grants of £1,500 have been awarded to each of the following groups:

Examples of how the funding will be used:

Polly-Ann Howard from Young Healthwatch Northamptonshire said; “The PPI bursary will be instrumental in us being able to extend our reach with Young People in Northamptonshire, ensuring their voice is heard.”

Tim Sayers from Brightsparks: Arts in Mental Health Group said; “This funding will allow us to develop a more audience friendly website for our organisation, disseminate our knowledge and experience to the rest of the East Midlands whilst actively engaging new friends nearer to home, and to carry out consultation exercises with an expanded group of people who are interested in arts in mental health.”

Peter Rigalsford, PPG Chair, Marisco Patient Group; “We are very pleased and excited to have been chosen to receive a PPI Bursary from the EMAHSN. It will allow us to promote the Marisco Patient Group more widely and enable our volunteers to access training to allow them to provide more and better services for patients.”

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Note to editors:

- The East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) is one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks in England. EMAHSN brings together the NHS, universities, industry and social care to transform the health of the region’s 4.6M residents and stimulate wealth. Current priorities focus on identifying and spreading innovations that address challenges including cancer, diabetes, mental health, atrial fibrillation (linked to heart problems) and liver disease.

- For more information about the EMAHSN visit www.emahsn.org.uk

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