Service User and Public Involvement

Service User and Public Involvement Core Group (SUPI)

Staff in a meeting The School of Health and Social Work believes that the involvement of service users and carers is central to the development and quality of our courses. Service Users and Carers are a group of people who have experience of using health and social care services or have caring responsibility for those who have.

By working alongside those that have everyday experience of health care issues, our students are given a real opportunity to fully understand the needs and expectations of those they will be working with.

Service users and carers are frequently referred to as 'experts by experience' and this is exactly what they are. Why learn the theory without receiving advice from an expert!

In turn, involvement in the School's courses allows, service users and carers the opportunity to make a difference by, challenging and influencing the development of courses.

What is the purpose of the SUPI Core Group

The School's Service User and Public Involvement Core Group (SUPI) aims to increase public involvement in the School's Health and Social Work courses. SUPI together with members of teaching staff are working together to ensure that the views and opinions of service users are  represented as much as possible.

Current involvement within the School

We have at least 50 service users who are directly involved with the School's activities, their experiences vary from caring to living with health conditions to experiences of hospital treatment. The School also works closely with a number of charities for example ViewPoint Hertfordshire, Carers in Herts, Healthwatch Hertfordshire, Welwyn and Hatfield Day Services and 2 local schools.

Activities include:

  • Being individually interviewed to share experiences with students and teaching staff
  • Involvement in student recruitment
  • Delivery of presentations or lectures
  • Involvement in Focus Groups, meetings and committees
  • Carry out assessment and curriculum work
  • Provide advice on research strategies and project outlines
  • Help to develop learning resources
  • Attend external conferences at the request of the School

Feedback from students

'Perspectives are changing and as you learn about service users you learn about yourself as  well. You grow with them.'

'Public involvement is an integral part of many of the School's health courses. Here are some of the views from our students.'

'Service user involvement … has made me practice with compassion.'

'Being able to discuss aspects and topics that are sometimes sensitive in practice or [having] no time allows the opportunity to gain a different perspective. Speaking to the service user in a casual manner rather than in practice allows  a barrier to be removed.'

Make your health and social care experience count

If you are a service user or carer and would like to be involved in the education of future health and social work professionals please email Julie Mace, SUPI Co-ordinator. For further advice, please check our frequently asked questions.