Last Updated: 13th August 2019

The importance of the patient voice

This year’s Scientific Training Programme induction day kicked off with an inspirational and rousing speech from social entrepreneur Damian Chick.

The audience of 300 new trainees listened to Damian talk about how patients need a voice within healthcare. He has worked tirelessly for the past decade, campaigning to get patients’ views expressed and listened to. Too often in the NHS things are ‘done to’ patients, rather than done with them. Damian talked about his own background as a patient, which began as an infant in an incubator that failed – twice. His parents were told he would probably die in the next 24 hours, but he proved them wrong. And while he was left with the disability he has today – cerebral palsy – he hasn’t let that limit his achievements. Damian’s response to a dismissive careers adviser at school was to go to college, then university, achieve a first-class BA Hons degree, and then undertake an MSc in Paediatrics from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. He has since worked with the BBC and Scope UK among others, and is a director of two companies.

Damian used his personal story to illustrate one of his key points to the audience. As they embark on this journey to their chosen career path, remember that every patient has potential that may not be immediately apparent. As healthcare scientists, they can help give that patient the chance to achieve that potential. He wrapped up his talk with a final insight; today’s trainee healthcare scientists will be some of tomorrow’s leaders in the NHS. To ensure a positive, inclusive future for the health service, it is vital that they listen to, and work with, patients now and throughout their career.