Blog / Self Management Week 2020

Blythe Robertson: October 05, 2020

In our latest blog, Blythe Robertson, General Manager for Policy and Partnerships, talks about his involvement in Self Management Week 2020 and his role as a judge for the Self Management Digital Innovator Award category. 


Last week was Self Management Week. I know, I should probably have been writing this post two weeks ago to trail its arrival, but instead let me take the opportunity to reflect on a couple of events from the week and the topic of self management more generally.

Each year, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) hold Self Management Week. This brings together people working across health and social care, the third sector, academics, people working across local authorities, unpaid carers and many more to give a focus on people living well on their own terms with the conditions they have.

Self Management Week 2020 was themed My Wellbeing, My Life. This reflected a shift from condition specific language around self management to more of an emphasis on wellbeing. This has never been more relevant at a population level than during the current pandemic period.

I was lucky enough to be involved with two events. Firstly, there was the showpiece ceremony of the week, the Self Management Awards. Usually a fairly glitzy affair hosted at the Scottish Parliament, this year the glitz was virtual with Zoom playing host to the evening’s events. With rousing speeches from Tom Chalmers, a winner at last year’s awards, and ALLIANCE chief executive Ian Welsh, alongside high praise from Professor Jason Leitch from Scottish Government, the main focus of the evening was the awards themselves.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the judges for the Self Management Digital Innovator award category. The task of judging this was a complete joy as it was so energising to read about all the excellent work ongoing to support people to self manage through various digital approaches. The only downside was the job of picking a winner. This year that honour went to the PAMIS digital passports, but all nominated and submitting projects have my total admiration.

Across all of the various categories, the awards shone a light on inspirational stories linked to self management. This theme was taken up in an event I chaired which built on the Self Management Week 2020 tagline: ‘Everyone has a self management story – what’s yours?’

This workshop session explored self management stories from various perspectives highlighting the opportunity to build lived experience and self management stories into our ways of working as we ‘build back better’ during the ongoing pandemic period. With contributions from Action for M.E., See Me, the ALLIANCE and service design colleagues from NDS, this was a dynamic session that got to the heart of how we translate these stories into tangible developments. This has strong resonance with our service design work, so it was both generally illuminating and directly influential on our day-to-day work.

Since my days leading on self management policy at Scottish Government, to my role at NDS looking to embed diverse the voices of lived experience into our digital developments, the ALLIANCE and their work on self management have been an integral part of my work. The events of Self Management Week brought a timely reminder of how these issues should be at the forefront of all our thinking at this crucial “build back better” time.


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