Published on: 23 February 2023

Lived Patient Experience colleagues bring their own knowledge, understanding and compassion to their roles to ensure experienced voices are heard at all levels within NHS Trusts like Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Nick Richards, Programme Support and Lived Patient Experience colleague at Derbyshire Healthcare, provides support for the Making Room for Dignity programme – a government funded programme to build new pioneering mental health hospital facilities to improve safety, privacy and dignity of patients experiencing mental illness.

In 2016, Nick joined the Trust as he had felt supported when seeking help for his mental and physical needs. Nick sees the benefit of working with those with lived experience to provide a better service.

“Mental health services would not work without the support of those accessing these services. It is important to adapt our environment and ways of working to ensure all people with different lived experience feel a part of Derbyshire Healthcare.”

Nick has been involved in the design decisions of the Making Room for Dignity Project such as sourcing a type of anti-shock glass for cabinets to be used in environments in which patients may become distressed. The programme team have also designed magnetic panels to be used as a lock on doors, for privacy and dignity, but which also allows easy access for clinical staff in an emergency.

Thanks to Nick’s efforts, the Making Room for Dignity programme has been shortlisted for an Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management (IHEEM) award in the ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ category, and featured in national publications such as The Network for his support in co-designing inpatient facilities.

Geoff Neild, Programme Director – Dormitory Eradication at Derbyshire Healthcare, said: “We encourage more people with lived experience to join our workforce so we can understand their perspective on what quality and compassionate care means to them, which is a particular focus for the Making Room for Dignity programme.

“Nick’s input in the Making Room for Dignity scheme has been invaluable and has offered a new level of perspective and understanding to not only the programme but also provided new ideas and ways of working to encourage further diversity.”

Jaki Lowe, Director of People and Inclusion, said: “We have some fantastic lived patient experience and expert by experience colleagues working to develop shared decision-making within a variety of areas across the Trust.

“The importance of co-creating better environments for our patients aligns to the Trust’s values of making a positive difference with respect and honesty to ensure we do our very best to put our people first in the care we provide.”

Nick explained the value of collaborative working and how his role helped to give him a sense of purpose.

He said: “As a result of working with those with lived patient experience, we can give people with a mental illness or disability a platform to not only be represented but to be heard and start to make room for positive action.”

Nick Richards 1.jpg