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Global Health: Developing Leaders
Policy and Politicians – How to Engage
Alma Mata hosted its 3rd Global Health: Developing Leaders event at the Royal College of Physicians on 26th April. For those of who who weren’t able to make it I’ve put together a brief summary of the main points raised by the speakers in what was an interesting, informative and lively evening. Around 70 doctors and students attended.
The first speaker of the evening was Lisa Cunningham, Senior Public Affairs & PR Officer at the RCP. The focus of her talk was on how the RCP had gone about “influencing change” and lobbying with respect to the Health and Social Care Bill (as it was) and Act (as it now is) and detailed the lessons she had learned during the process. Lisa highlighted 5 main areas:
Her key message was “tailor your message, learn from what you do, and stay positive”.
Next up was Andrew Jones, Senior Partnerships Manager at the Tropical Health Education Trust. He initially discussed the public perception of lobbying, and that often it is associated with large companies, large amounts of money and suspicious motives. However he made the argument that charities have the power to influence great social change through the lobbying process and argued that it is a legitimate part of the democratic process. In 2007 the lobbying industry in the UK was worth £1.49bn and employed 14,000 people.
Andrew went on to highlight some points for individual lobbyists to consider during the lobbying process:
He discussed the challenges facing THET as it campaigns for change in the landscape of volunteering within the NHS, to encourage and support to make a difference overseas. However he also cautioned about lobbying in other countries, where one health minister described his role as “the minister for expatriates with good ideas.”
Finally we heard from Lord Nigel Crisp, crossbench peer and Chair of Sightsavers International. He discussed his experience of policy implementation when Chief Executive of the NHS, including evaluating whether ideas are practical and how sometimes the formation of policy does not necessarily mean anything will happen! He advocated a simple model of policy implementation from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, which requires 3 areas of consideration:
Lord Crisp went on to discuss 4 areas of policy change he had been involved with:
A brief Q&A session followed, with questions on how to manage the opinions of multiple stakeholders during a campaign; the benefits of sending people out to work in poor countries; further details of Lord Crisp’s point about the introduction of competition into the NHS and the work of THET on the provision of medical equipment.
We hope you can join us at the next event – please watch http://www.almamata.tumblr.com for further infomation!