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Vivienne Byers from Ireland visits GPCC to learn about the implementation of person-centred care


Vivienne Byers portraitDr Vivienne Byers from Ireland is currently on a two week Short-Term Scientific Mission to Gothenburg and The University of Gothenburg Centre for Person-centred Care GPCC. Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) allow scientists to learn from an institution or laboratory in another COST country. COST is the longest-running European framework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe.

Vivienne, welcome to GPCC! Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you are doing here. My name is Vivienne Byers. I am based in Dublin. I am a Senior Lecturer in health policy, and I am also recently Vice Dean of Postgraduate Studies & Research in the School of Business at the National College of Ireland. My area of interest is the implementation of health policy, and I am particularly interested in the implementation of person-centred care.

In Ireland we’ve had a number of health policies and strategies over the last decade that have talked about care being centred around the person and the focus of care being the person. The most recent Department of Health Strategy mentions person-centred care, but, really, there is very limited policy implementation and limited understanding of the concept in practice. And that is why I am here at GPCC, to find out what were the levers that led to setting up of GPCC, what supports it, its success and to look at the evidence that has been amassed here. I am very interested in this and to bring this learning back to Ireland.

I am also comparing the policy and legislation that facilitates implementation in Sweden with that in the Irish system. At a macro level there is a very different legislative environment in Sweden compared to that in Ireland. I am trying to explore the differences and I think some of it is related to differences in national culture.

I originally trained as a health professional, and have worked as a manager in health care, so I also like to look at the effects of policy implementation at the micro level in terms of practices. So I am very interested in exploring how implementation of PCC has rolled out here with GPCC.

You are also involved in the EU-project COSTCares, which is led by Inger Ekman, GPCCs Centre Director. Tell me a bit more about that. I have been involved in COSTCares as the representative from Ireland since it started off in 2016. Initially, I joined the Cost Action as its focus was on quality and cost containment in health care. Then I realised how closely it matched my research interest in person centred care policy and its implementation. In addition, it facilitated me in applying for a short term scientific mission at GPCC, which gave me a really valuable opportunity to engage with researchers and practitioners and learn so much more.

Even though I have had an interest in person-centred care for a long time, I didn’t know much about GPCC until 2016. So, apart from wanting to bring this learning back to Ireland, I also would like to put GPCC on the map and build upon their excellent work. In an area such as implementing person-centred care there is much important learning to be gained from the work at GPCC and crucially it is evidence based! Which is so important.

More info about the COSTCares programme.  
Vivienne Byers’ personal work web page.

Photo: Jeanette Tenggren Durkan