I had the day off work today, in order to go to what I believed to be a 'user involvement' day, run by Diabetes UK. As it was being held pretty much opposite where I work, I figured it couldn't hurt to go along. It'd be a good chance to network, perhaps promote DiDkA, and promote, and perhaps recruit a few people for Circle D North Yorkshire.
Did you ever go to a party where you turned up dressed in something vastly inappropriate? I felt a little but like I'd turned up to a black tie event dressed in fancy dress - perhaps dressed like a bear.
Whilst everyone was really lovely and welcoming (and the DUK staff seemingly thrilled to see someone under thirty), it became quite clear that the event had a) been slightly misrepresented, and b) I may also have got slightly the wrong end of the stick about the whole thing. The day was about 'Service User Reps', and getting feedback. Do you know what one is? I most certainly didn't.
That's not to say that the day wasn't interesting, because it was. I never knew that the NHS had a constitution, for one thing! I don't know if I would become a Service User Rep - I get the impression that it may well be a time heavy commitment, and especially closer to the autumn, when my Master's course starts, my time is somewhat of a premium. But like I say, I didn't know there was an NHS constitution, and that it turns out that they're legally obliged to listen to us. All interesting stuff. I did also have an interesting chat with someone from the DUK head office!
Maybe I'll just leave my bear costume at home next time!