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Developing good collaborative practice in improvement means bringing together a diverse range of people and creating a space for them to meaningfully contribute. To do so we need to include both people who deliver services and those that use them: patients, service users and communities. So many Q members are working hard to do this.

But if co-production and service user involvement are crucial to the success of health care improvement and there are lots of tools and guides out there to help this, why isn’t best practice widespread?

Exploring this challenge with National Voices

This project will bring together a wide range of perspectives to understand and uncover leading practice about collaboration

Supported by Q, National Voices is exploring the structures and mechanisms that need to be in place for improvement teams and patients to work better together, through a co-design process involving patients, voluntary sector organisations and health and care staff.

This project will bring together a wide range of perspectives to understand and uncover leading practice about collaboration between patients, service users and communities.

What’s the problem?

National Voices early desktop research and our own experience in the Q community, show us that there is widespread consensus that to improve health and care outcomes and design services well requires us to work collaboratively with people who use those services.

However, user experience – where users are involved from the beginning to explore and diagnose problems and develop shared goals  – is not always at the core of improvement work. Without this, people may feel undervalued for their insights and contributions or see their involvement as tokenistic and disengage. As a result, services won’t necessarily reflect what people need and want.

How might this work help?

We think that for meaningful collaboration to happen consistently between these groups and to be embedded in improvement, we need to look beyond the tools and methods to the underlying principles. This project will look to:

  • Make visible what good collaboration between these groups looks and feels like – what are the issues that may need to be addressed in order to build authentic and credible relationships?
  • Understand the mechanisms and structures that create the conditions to be able work across professional and patient boundaries – how can we make sure effective collaboration is sustainable and embedded for the long term, so services are truly designed to reflect patient needs?

By answering these questions, we hope we’ll grow understanding of future work that is needed to make service user and patient engagement in change programmes as effective as possible.

And we will look to put our learning into practice within the Q community too – with a stronger understanding of how we can best support members to create the conditions for productive service user input into their work (within Q and beyond).

How can you get involved?


Share a case example
If you have examples of good collaboration between patients, service users and people working in health care improvement we would like to hear from you! Please send me an email.

Attend the Q community event – 18 and 19 November
National Voices will be sharing learning so far from this work at the Q event, so make sure you register. Look out for the slot on this project. We look forward to seeing you there!

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