Expert by Experience, Explained

For my first post, I thought I’d share with you a little more information about my work with the Transformation Team at Southern Health, and what exactly being an ‘Expert by Experience’ entails. This is a role that I never thought I would get; I have worked in and out of wards as a peer support worker, but I feel now that I’m actually in position to work with a team to effect real and lasting change through co-production.  My role is within the Transformation Team, a supportive and inspiring group of people with a tangible passion for change and supporting the trust in its endeavours for change.

My role encompasses three aspects. I have been fortunate enough to undergo Quality Improvement Methodology training, which has been an amazing experience; our team is currently working on a project with Kingsley Ward, bringing together people, staff patients and carers, to bring about positive change. We are doing this using the QI training to improve the feeling of safety on the ward for both patients and staff. It’s a project I’m extremely excited to be involved in.

The second part of my role involves using my own lived experience to effect change within the Trust. I feel that it is vital that patient voices are heard in a meaningful and effective manner, and part of what my role includes engaging with and supporting others with lived experience to bring their voices to the table. This also involves supporting the development of the skills and confidence necessary to effect change and be heard. Southern Health are making real strides with their commitment to patient and carer involvement, so this is a really exciting time to be involved in true co-design and production. 

I particularly enjoy this aspect of my role, as I feel it gives me an opportunity to continue working in peer support, is an area that I’m extremely passionate about; I feel it’s so important to the journey of recovery. There are so many benefits to peer support work; the Trust receives a wealth of experience from service users, and patients get a sense of fulfillment, confidence and development of skills.

This was demonstrated recently at a workshop I attended, where I had the pleasure of meeting with a service user who gave thoughtful and passionate contributions. Not only did the Trust benefit from her support, but after the workshop we received a message telling us that, since the workshop:

I’m starting to have real hope that I can return to work in some kind of guise in the future.

Finally, I am also championing the use of genuine patient and carer engagement and employment within the Trust. In the past this has been done very superficially by Southern Health, as a tick-box exercise rather than as an authentic attempt to utilise these experiences meaningfully. However, I feel that the Board is now showing a real commitment to embedding service user experiences and voice at its core, and it is fantastic to support this initiative.

I hope this has given you an understanding of "Expert by Experience." Please feel free to subscribe to my blog for more posts about my personal journey and with the Trust.



  1. make a difference - every day!

  2. The title is appealing. Thank you for sharing and wanting to make a difference in the lives of others.


Post a Comment

Please get in touch if you have any thoughts or questions.

Popular posts from this blog

School Halls Were Battlegrounds - #AntiBullyingWeek


Me, By Experience