What are the things that are important to you at the moment?

By Sara Twaddle and Rami Okasha


‘What matters to you?’ Today on 6 June is a fantastic reminder for all of us involved in health and social care to encourage, and have, conversations with those we support or care about on what matters to them.

The day is not just altruistic in nature. We know that people who have the opportunity to make decisions about their own care based on their own values and priorities have a better experience. And if we stop and think about how many times each of us, and our families, engage with our care system in some shape or form, it doesn’t take long before we realise how important good conversations with our health and social care staff are to each and every one of us.

So the simple question, "What are the things that are important to you at the moment?" can help lead to a path of recovery or support for an individual that is truly person-centered. It also helps accelerate a shift in the relationship between those who give, and those who receive, care - empowering and enabling individuals to be at the centre of decisions about their care.

However, one of the aims of ‘What matters to you?’ day is to help those delivering care to develop greater intent to simply listen and to understand. This really resonates with us. Recently, our organisations were jointly involved in supporting the development of the Scotland's new Health and Social Care Standards. The intention to listen and understand mirrors a desire in the new standards to provide better outcomes for everyone by ensuring that individuals are treated with respect and dignity, and that the basic human rights we are all entitled to are upheld.

So the ethos behind ‘What Matters to you?’ chimes perfectly with the new standards. They too, were written and developed entirely with the individuals in mind and what matters to them.

For example one of the five principles behind the standards is that individuals are included in their care, and can expect to:

  • receive the right information, at the right time and in a way that they can understand.
  • be supported to make informed choices, so that they can control their care and support.
  • be included in wider decisions about the way the service is provided, and their suggestions, feedback and concerns are considered, and
  • be supported to participate fully and actively in their community.

What Matters To You day and the new Standards share a complete focus on people rather than policies. It is fantastic that, instead of setting out a list of inputs that all providers must meet, we are now shaping discussions around the outcomes individuals want. This has to help everyone focus on what really matters – the experience of the person who uses care.

So we hope you are able to join us in supporting What Matters To You day. Although the focus is on June 6th, the desire is that this becomes normal practice and every day is a What Matters To You day. It is amazing how one simple question can open up a really powerful conversation - whether you are in or outwith of a care setting!