Leading collaboratively with patients and communities

The perspectives and knowledge of patients and service users are an important resource for policy-makers and for those involved in the design and delivery of local services.

The NHS five year forward view talks about harnessing the 'renewable energy represented by patients and communities' and the need to 'engage with communities and citizens in new ways, involving them directly in decisions about the future of health and care services.'

We know that building these collaborative relationships is not always easy and requires a significant shift in thinking from all of us. So we have put together a unique programme to explore how health care professionals can work collaboratively with patient leaders.

Clinicians, managers, patients and service users will learn together how to build productive relationships, exploring how different roles and perspectives can be a constructive force for change.

You will also have the opportunity to join a new national network of collaborative pairs, supported by The King’s Fund, and to contribute your experience to our shared learning about developing a new relationship between patients and professionals.

The leadership of the programme models collaborative working and is co-designed and co-facilitated by Allison Trimble, senior leadership consultant at The King’s Fund and Mark Doughty, Associate of The King’s Fund and a patient leader. We are also very grateful to NHS England for their support of the programme.

Who is it for?

This programme has been designed for pairs from the same local health and care system to work together on a shared challenge.

One half of the pair should be a clinician or manager who wants to find new ways of working with patients and service users. You may want to build more productive relationships with your patients or to develop your thinking about your organisation’s strategic approach to patient leadership or engagement with communities.

The other half of the pair will be a patient or service user leader – for example, a patient and public involvement representative for a clinical commissioning group; lay member of a public body (eg, a foundation trust or Healthwatch) or an individual patient leader trying to use their experience to shape services and lead change. You might also be a community-based leader or a voluntary sector manager who wants to find new ways of working with health and care professionals.

How will you benefit from this programme?

As a clinician or manager you will:

  • learn new ways of working with patient leaders
  • develop the skillset, communication practices and confidence to work collaboratively with patient leaders and community stakeholders
  • explore the challenge of shifting roles from manager/clinician to collaborative partner.

As a patient leader you will:

  • learn how to influence and build constructive relationships with health care professionals
  • access a practical development opportunity to build your personal leadership and communication skills
  • join a reflective peer community and work with other patient leaders and health care professionals to explore your distinctive leadership role and contribution.

Together you will:

  • learn in a practical and supportive environment to make progress on a real-time challenge for your organisation
  • build a productive, collaborative relationship with a partner from your system
  • join a network of collaborative pairs from across the country and contribute to national thinking about what the NHS five year forward view aspirations for a new relationship with patients and communities might look like.

Your local health system will benefit from:

  • the opportunity to build sustainable relationships between patient leaders and health care professionals
  • developing a collaborative team with a shared experience of learning about what needs to be different
  • establishing a collaborative leadership community that reflects your local community
  • support to create new models of care that are co-designed with patients and communities.

What will you do on this programme?

You are invited to join the programme as a pair to work on a particular challenge that your organisation, community or system is facing. You will have space for support and challenge at a number of different levels including access to a peer network to stimulate your thinking and provide feedback. You will have space to develop practical solutions for your shared challenge as well as reflecting on how you are working collaboratively to achieve this. Development input and external speakers will stretch your thinking about what a new relationship between health care professionals, patients and communities could look like and there will be an opportunity to capture learning from your experience and feed this into national thinking.