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What matters to you

by Sarah Onions 09-03-21

HW CCG Clinical End of Life Lead, Palliative Care doctor and Macmillan GP

The What Matters Charter and its entire philosophy really resonates with me personally and professionally. I love the simplicity! Any decision we may make in life, whether social, career or health related can be guided by this core individual premise.


Taking this approach with my patients has resulted in more honest and open conversations. I feel it helps remove some of the complexity of decisions, stripping them back, revealing patient’s core values. Thus creating a much stronger foundation on which to explore patient’s dilemmas, choices and to help navigate difficult decisions.


I see What Matters conversations, not confined to those at the end of life. Understanding a patient’s core values and what matters to them, helps guide patients, clinicians and policy makers in healthcare, throughout the life span. What matters to us may change as we go through life but understanding what makes you tick and what matters to you as an individual is the constant, which will help deliver the promise and vision of personalised healthcare.


I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to What Matters at health commissioning level. I’ve always felt this aspect of health care could be hard to influence from bottom up. And yet, Birmingham and Solihull CCG (BSOL CCG) and Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG (HW CCG) have readily recognised the value of the What Matters philosophy and have been proactive in spreading its message.


BSOL CCG rapidly engaged their comms team to spread the word not just for professionals but for the public too! They have already incorporated What Matters Conversations into their existing advance care planning education across the region. HW CCG’s are discussing how What Matters can be incorporated into their new digital integrated care record. They also recognise that What Matters provides a foundation for opening up discussions on ReSPECT advance care planning.


So, the journey of What Matters is only just beginning and I’m so pleased to see healthcare organisations take on this philosophy. However, the most important part of this movement is you and me, as individuals. What matters to you? Simple as that.

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