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10 November 2023

Making your voice heard in health and social care – a Tea Dance in South London

Caroline Green and Jo Brown were back at Stanstead Lodge Senior Club

Tables with tablecloths and chairs and bunting hanging in the window on a sunny day

On Friday, 10 November, Jo Brown and Caroline Green from the ‘right to a care supporter’ study hosted a Tea Dance at Stanstead Lodge, a seniors’ club in south London. The Tea Dances have become a popular feature in the Stanstead Lodge calendar and the November edition attracted 50 attendees.

The afternoon began with sandwiches, tea and cake, giving guests the opportunity to chat to one another and the research team. Each Tea Dance has a theme that relates to health and social care and this theme runs through the activities and discussions. This time, the theme was ‘making your voice heard in health and social care’.

The first activity was a quiz about some of the organisations, services and documents that exist to promote patients’ voices and rights. The group looked at some of the rights that patients have under the NHS constitution, including the right to be involved in planning and making decisions about your care. They discussed who can access support from the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and the role of the Care Quality Commission as a regulator. The aim was to share a toolkit of ways that patients and their families can advocate for themselves in health and social care settings, acknowledging the limits and imperfections of each.

One of the highlights of the Tea Dance is the poetry open mic where attendees read poems they have written themselves. This is an opportunity to branch out from the theme, and guests shared poems about autumn, Remembrance Day and a personal reflection about having a brother with autism. The event ended with a dance led by performer and writer Kit Green, who hosted the afternoon.

Upcoming half-day conference

The research team will continue working with a smaller group from Stanstead Lodge over the next couple of months to co-create some resources that explain the role of a care supporter and the purpose of the research. These will be launched at their half day conference on Friday, 9 February 2024. The conference is free to attend and you can register via EventBrite.

Image: Stanstead Lodge Senior Club

In this story

Caroline Green

Institute for Ethics in AI, University of Oxford

Jo Brown

Research Assistant