Experience of a NICE lay representative
NICE involves patients, carers and other members of the public in many areas of its work. One of our most active contributors, Susan Bennett, discusses NICE and her work as a lay representative.
Q: In what capacity are you involved with NICE?
A: I'm a lay member of the Interventional Procedures Advisory Committee.
Q: What first prompted you to get involved?
A: I am a trustee of Incontact, the bladder and bowel organisation. Three years ago, Incontact suggested that I should apply to be a patient representative for the guideline development group (GDG) that was developing NICE's clinical guideline on faecal incontinence.
Q: What impact do you think your work as a lay member has had on the committees and guideline development groups you have beeninvolved in?
A: I have helped raise awareness of patient and service user views as well as disability and equality issues.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge?
A: Overcoming my own disabilities, especially my hidden ones such as chronic neuropathic pain, to attend meetings.
Q: Have there been any unexpected benefits for you?
A: Being involved with NICE means I've kept my own skills up to date, such as my IT skills. Generally, it has boosted my confidence and self-esteem.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who has decided to join NICE as a lay member on one of its committees or guideline development groups?
A: Always remember, you are an equal team member. You are the member of the group who has knowledge of living with a condition 24/7 - most professionals only know about the condition.
This page was last updated: 20 August 2009