Brandon collaborates with a Bristol university on prescribing course
A group of people supported by Brandon are working with the University of the West of England (UWE) to make their prescribing course more inclusive for patients with a learning disability or autism. Rachel Roberts, Quality Coordinator and Involvement Lead at Brandon, led the project with Debbie Moreno-Chamorro and Ilhem Berrou from UWE.
“It’s really important that we try and create change wherever we can, no matter how big or small," says Rachel. "Anyone in the south west who's going to be prescribing any medicines has to do this course. That can be doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics – a whole range of people from lots of different primary care settings.
“We thought it would be an ideal opportunity to provide those people with a bit more training, and then they might be able to share it with their colleagues, and we can create change through that."
Improving communication in consultations
“Debbie and Ilhem, who run the prescribing course, sent me the competency framework that students are assessed against," explains Rachel. "I went through it and weaved in all the relevant laws, such as the Equality Act, Human Rights Act and Mental Capacity Act, where they would come into play throughout the framework.
“We discovered that the main theme running through, and the most important thing to begin with, was communication between the clinician and the patient. So we decided to start from there and agreed to get a new communication module ready for the start of the next course in September."
"A group of people supported by Brandon went through the competencies," adds Debbie. "They then made a fantastic video sharing what they'd like from a consultation and what they want to know about their own medications. They also provided some top tips for future prescribers. They've done a brilliant job!"
Sharing expertise from lived experience
“Over the rest of the academic year, we’re going to work on creating smaller training video modules," says Rachel. "These will focus on the key laws and other things that are really important to people with a learning disability or autism. We’re also planning to get some live training sessions going, which will be delivered by people with lived experience. Students will get a chance to do a real consultation and our experts will provide feedback."
Kate, who is supported by Brandon and was involved in the project, knows what it's like to be left in the dark about her medication. "The doctor took me off one and put me on another without saying anything," she explains. "I had to phone them and ask why it was being stopped. Because I've been on this tablet for a long time. They said it's not in stock anymore, we can't get it.
"The doctor I had before left and he knew me back to front. The one I have now doesn't even know me, they just see my name on the screen. It's quite difficult. I have to get my mum or dad to speak to them for me, because sometimes I can't."
As a result of this collaboration between Brandon and UWE, every student on the prescribing course is now required to do a piece of work on treating people with a learning disability or autism. "It’s amazing," says Rachel. "I’m so grateful to Debbie and Ilhem for working with us to make this happen." All of the people supported by Brandon who contributed were paid for their work.
You can find out more about the project on the prescribing course website.