PHM UK: Building a progressive health movement in a time of cuts, extreme and mounting inequalities, social disadvantage and damage

12 May 2014

Merseyside People’s Health Assembly

After registration and a drink in the UNITE café, the event started with introductions by the joint Chairs for the day, Chris Boyle and Val Walsh, providing background information about the  PHM and a reminder about the purpose of the Merseyside People’s Health Assembly, including the (flexible) running order for the day.

The process of sharing experience and testimony was outlined, and this was set in motion by two informative ‘case studies’: Alex Scott-Samuel on diabetes and Judith Varley on mental health. These served to demonstrate the primary methodology being adopted: a peer group process, in which statements of personal testimony were followed by c10 minutes for questions, comment, sharing, exchange and discussion, before moving on to the next speaker / theme. In this way, interactivity between all participants was built into proceedings from the off.

The large, 4th floor room (in this fully accessible building, including wheelchair accessible lifts and dedicated disabled toilets on each floor) was light and sunny, and seating was arranged in an elongated circle. After the Chairs’ introductory statements, personal testimonies were invited from the floor for the rest of the day, and discussion followed where these contributions led us.

The event finished with brief summary statements from the two Chairs, and thanks for everyone’s thoughtful, and at times gruelling, contributions. Our Report of the event would be made available to all those who attended, and to other interested parties locally, as well as to the national PHA in Edinburgh (10 04 2014).

It was expected, and proved to be the case, that as each new testimony was shared, links and overlaps between participants’ personal experience and analysis would become visible, and key issues would resonate and/or re-iterate through the day, as discussion and exchange built up.

CLICK HERE for the testimonies and the full report

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