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Gillian Talbot, Carer, Expert by Experience and Carer Council Chair

It's Carers Week and a great opportunity to catch up with Gillian who tells us more about her roles and what she enjoys about them.

Can you tell us about your role as Carer Council Chair.

I have very recently been elected as Chair of Carer Council having served as a Vice Chair for six years.  I am passionate about making carers more visible. I will do all I can to promote this and build a platform showcasing the skills and knowledge that unpaid carers bring to HPFT.  I have been undertaking the CQI Leadership Training course and believe this will be very useful in enabling Carer Council members to take on small innovative projects which will benefit service users as well as carers.

Please tell us about the journey you took getting the Carer Essential Training to the online training platform Discovery?

The idea came about because I was a Carer Trainer on the Carer Essential Training course which we undertook through Microsoft Teams as a virtual training session. The training at this stage took approx one hour forty-five minutes. I had an idea that if the training was shortened to under an hour and developed as an e-digital training programme, it could be taken individually and monitored through a learning management system (Discovery).  By making the training more accessible and flexible it would enable all staff to do the short compact course in their own time.

I did a lot of research as to what other training programmes concerning staff awareness of carers were available on the internet plus NHS England's recommendations and requirements. I found there was nothing to match the personalised programme that I was envisioning being tailored especially for HPFT. I also researched what HPFT could provide in the way of facilities to produce and roll out the training and then monitor its uptake. I discovered that everything could be done in house except for the filming of the carer presentation which was an important part of the training module. 

I decided to request the funding from the Innovation Fund Panel for the filming costs. I enlisted the help of the CSWW'S and Chloe Carson from HealthWatch and together we produced a joint presentation. The funding was approved and now the Carer Essential Training in an e-digital format is being launched on Discovery at the beginning of Carers Week.

I am very happy that my idea is coming into fruition.  I am wholeheartedly behind co-production and I feel that this is an example that not only myself but HPFT should be proud of.

What difference do you think Carer Essential Training will make for staff and carers in HPFT?

I believe that if the training is rolled out successfully and staff undertake this short training it will be hugely beneficial not only because it will raise the visibility of unpaid carers,  it will also benefit staff who will learn, in doing the training, that working as a team under the Triangle of Care and involving carers will lead to far better outcomes and recovery for the service user, carer and staff.

What would you say to carers who want to share their experience and get involved in how HPFT shape their services?
I would definitely recommend getting involved. It is only by getting involved that unpaid carers can make a difference.  If we want change, then we have to be prepared to voice our concerns and raise our profile.
We all want better services, for service users and carers; after all, surely services should be co-designed by those that use them.

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