Those of us who live or work with rare disease in NI have an important opportunity just now. It’s the chance to make our voices heard- to get politicians and policy makers to hear what’s important to us, what will improve the care and quality of life for those affected by rare disease.
The four UK health departments have together produced a consultation document to form part of the basis for a UK plan on rare disease. The rest of the basis for that plan will come from the responses to this document: this is our chance to influence strategy.
NIRDP will be responding to the consultation as a partnership, and are also encouraging everyone with an interest in rare disease to respond individually. The greater the number of responses, the greater the impact. The government need our help to get this right. We have a chance now to get our stories heard, and the government have to respond.
At the NIRDP/RDUK event on 8 May, there was some valuable information, tips and advice on responding to the consultation document from Nick Meade, Policy Analyst.
- Show your experience, establish why your opinion should be considered.
- Don’t be constrained by the questions asked.
- Only cover the topics you want to.
- Identify any gaps- what have they missed out?
- Give evidence from your experience to back up your point.
- What is good about the plan? Let them know.
- When being critical, give suggestions for improvements.
- Be reasonable.
- Praise, criticise, praise.
There will probably be one indidvidual tasked with reading all the responses, so make it easy for him/ her to grasp your points.
- Be clear and concise.
- Consider the layout.
- Have an introduction and conclusion, use bullet points.
- Ask someone with no interest in rare disease to read it first to make sure it makes sense to a lay person.
email your response to firstname.lastname@example.org
post to Sarah Bramley-Harker, Department of Health, Screening and Specialised Services Team, Room 5W35, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, LS2 7UE
contact your politicians– give them real examples of what you need to see in your area. What will make a difference to their constituents? Remind them that, collectively, rare diseases are not rare and that, since services are patchy and poorly integrated, patients and families can struggle to get the help and support they need.
contact NIRDP– if there are particuar points you want to be sure the NIRDP response also includes, contact us: email@example.com, phone 0800 917 0222 and talk to Sarah McCandless, or post to 6 Ava Crescent, Belfast, BT7 3DU.