Humanising Healthcare – Hope for a System under Strain

Group reflects on Humanising Healthcare

SDHI in collaboration with NHS Fife, the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre (SISCC) and the International Futures Forum (IFF) hosted an interprofessional and interdisciplinary seminar and workshop with 20 participants to envision the future  of  a  healthcare system currently under strain. Dr Margaret Hannah, Consultant and Deputy Director of Public Health in the NHS Fife and author of ‘Humanising Healthcare: Patterns of Hope for a System under Strain’ and Graham Leicester, Director of the International Futures Forum (IFF) faciliated the afternoon with SDHI Co-Director Thilo Kroll.

Healthcare systems are under ever increasing performance pressures and exposed to massive rises in expenditures. At the same time criticism of the way we deliver health care grows highlighting the lack of compassion and a detachment of people’s life priorities and choices. Inequalities in health care access, treatment use and outcomes are not being tackled adequately. The research that supposedly generates the evidence base for effective therapies and interventions is selective, exclusionary, de-contextualised and for many long-term conditions flawed. Faced with a growing number of people who manage not one but multiple long-term conditions outside institutions in diverse community settings health care systems lack co-ordinted, integrated quality practice models that are centred around people’s lives and not primary their health conditions.

So, what are the alternatives to the status quo? What can we learn from the past? Perhaps, very timely 2015 saw a re-publication of the book ‘A Fortunate Man: The Story of a Country Doctor’ by John Berger and Jean Mohr. The book had originally been written in 1967 and was based on the sensitive portrait of John Sassall, a GP in the Forest of Dean. It illustrates his relationships with the diverse residents of this rural community and his approach to understanding the delivery of health care in the context of the social and environmental fabric of rural living. A quote from the book illustrates this very well

“Landscapes can be deceptive. Sometimes a landscape seems to be less a setting for the life of its inhabitants than a curtain behind which their struggles, achievements and accidents take place. For those who, with the inhabitants, are behind the curtain, landmarks are no longer only geographic but also biographical and personal.” (pp 18-21)

Margaret Hannah describes in her book the way our current healthcare arrangements are costly, guideline driven and dis-ease and disorder focused. Hope lies in adopting a salutogenic, asset-based approach that works with (not for) individuals and communities as co-creators of health. The workshop identified opportunities for transformational change in the way we deliver healthcare through  co-creation approaches and participatory action research. It also requires the collaboration with non-traditional partners in health, i.e. community organisations, local authorities.

We  are  currently working on a briefing paper based on the  workshop, which we will make available for reflection and discussion shortly.

Graham Leicester capturing ideas from the discussion


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Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences Summer School 2015 Online Booking System Now Open

The programme for the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences Summer School 2015 has been finalised with a lot of interesting and relevant sessions.

The Summer School runs between Monday 8th and Friday 12th June, in Edinburgh. This year, we have opted to have all courses in the same week: a selection of sessions on research and transferable skills, and software training, for students from across the social sciences (irrespective of funding source!!!).

The online booking system is now open and students, irrespective of geographic location or PhD funding, are welcome to book. By popular demand we will have daily rates rather than weekly, and the cost is just £20 per day.

In addition, there are lunchtime events on internships and international students, plus an opportunity to meet leading early career academics. In the evenings there will be a drinks reception, a pub quiz, a film screening and an outdoor social event.

Please tell your students and your colleagues about Summer School 2015, and look at the SGSSS website for more details about the sessions. There will also be a poster available shortly – please get in touch if you’d like a copy to display!

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the SGSSS Events team by email:

Congratulations to Jenna Breckenridge on winning early career researcher award at University of Dundee College Symposium

SDHI affiliated researcher Dr Jenna Breckenridge has won the College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing award for early career researchers. For two years in a row, SDHI researchers have won this prize. Last year, Dr Jacqui Morris received this award. Jenna is an occupational therapist by background and has worked as a qualitative researcher on a number of research projects. At present she is a postdoctoral researcher in the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre (SISCC), which is supported by SDHI. Her research focuses on addressing the inequalities experienced by vulnerable or under-represented groups and improving the accessibility, delivery and evaluation of health and social care services.

Crossing Countries, Challenging Boundaries, Changing Lives Seminar Video Now Available

Postcard Flyer
Jean Cathro
and Judith Drake of the Social Enterprise ‘Crossing Countries’ presented on their 2014 trip to South Africa providing disabled students with opportunities for volunteering and both South African and Scottish partners with many valuable experiences that truly challenged boundaries. The video of the seminar presentation is available now

The second video contains the discussion following the presentation.

Students with disabilities who are interested in joining Judith and Jean on their 2015 trip can contact them directly at  You can read more about Crossing Countries on their website or Facebook page. Or you may follow them on twitter @CC_Travellers


Are most findings in psychology false? An activist’s perspective

The University of St Andrews School of Medicine is hosting this public seminar presented by Professor James Coyne who will deliver a provocative and lively talk on Tuesday 24th March at 3pm in Seminar Room 2 at the School of Medicine.

Prof Coyne - St Andrews Seminar 24-03-15

For further information please contact Gozde Ozakinci (go10

Self management and storytelling networking event

Join the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) for this free networking event to discuss self management and how storytelling can be used to champion the voice of lived experience. Attending the event is free and anyone with an interest in self management is welcome to participate.

This event will take place on Monday 30th March 2015 from 10am – 3.30pm and will be held in the Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee, Old Hawkhill, Dundee DD1 5EN

Along with opportunities to tell your story and hear from others, you will also:

  • Hear more from the Self Management Partnership and Practice team about the Self Management Network Scotland and our development work
  • Learn about the work of Angus Community Health Partnership to support self management illustrated by stories from those who have benefitted from this work
  • Take part in interactive workshops describing how to structure your storytelling and how stories can be used to define personal outcomes
  • Scottish Recovery Network will close the day by sharing details about their Write to Recovery project

To register, please contact Lara at with:

  • Your name and e-mail address
  • Your role and organisation (if applicable)
  • Any access or dietary requirements
  • And please let us know if you are happy for your e-mail address to be shared with other attendees at the event

If you have any questions please contact Lara at the above e-mail address or on 07701289590