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Since the challenge for the first Q Lab was announced at the end of April, around 70 people have been in touch who want to take an active role in addressing how to make peer support available to everyone who may need it to support their long-term health and wellbeing needs.

We have been delighted by the number of people who want to collaborate on this as we weren’t sure how many people would come forward at this early stage.

In addition to the 70 we’ve had a number of promising conversations with others who are interested, so we are quickly trying to hone our ideas about how everyone can be involved at the level they want to, making the most of their expertise and areas of interest.

We know that technology and online collaboration tools will help, but sometimes you can’t beat a conversation. The team have been hitting the phones to get to know what elements of the lab challenge people are interested in, and how they may want to get involved.

This has taken time but the conversations with we’ve had with Q members and others have been immensely rich in information and insight, giving us some fantastic foundations on which to build on and feed into the initial research phase.

What collaboration means for the Lab

This is something that we’ll be iteratively testing with those who have been in touch over the coming weeks and months. The Lab is aiming to work at scale – looking at the challenge from a national perspective and bringing in a broad range of perspectives, capitalising on the insights of hundreds of Q members – as well as working with a smaller group of people who are also seeking to deliver change at their own more local level. The ability to do these two things simultaneously is one of the more challenging, and exciting, aspects of the Lab.

We’ve been speaking to people about what this might mean for them practically and how we can keep people up-to-date with regular opportunities to take an active role in specific pieces of work. We hope that everyone will have a chance to feed into the research phase in some way, with the majority of people able to meet face to face in July for the deep dive workshop. In the meantime, we will be establishing a virtual space for the group to collaborate on and we will be trialing some online tools within the next fortnight so stay tuned for that.

People we’re working with…so far

  • There is currently a fairly good spread of people from the four UK countries

Wales is the only country that is underrepresented when you compare the percentage of people who’ve been in touch (3%) to the population of the country (5%).

  • About 35% of the group are Q members

We always knew that the Lab would need to work with and beyond Q members, but were perhaps expecting the split to be closer to 50/50. We expect this to change as the Q community continues to grow!

  • Around half of the group work for NHS provider organisations, with a further 17% working for charities or the voluntary sector

These figures are much as we had expected. There is real potential to think about NHS organisations and the charity sector can work more closely together, so it’s great that there has been this level of interest so far. We will be looking to actively target and approach organisations and sectors that we’d like to have more involved. At the moment there are very few people from primary care so if you have suggestions of who we should contact, please get in touch.

  • There is a relatively good spread of roles

Currently around 25% of people are clinical, 25% are managerial and 15% are in quality improvement roles. Also around 12% of people are patient leaders or experts by experience which is fantastic.

Get involved

If you’d like to find out more about the Lab, check out our pages here. Information about how to get involved is here.


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