Public and patient partnerships: how they can address the inequality and finance gap in health and care
Both values-based and evidence-based considerations increasingly point to patient and public involvement as being key factors in achieving better patient outcomes.
Sharing decision-making with patients and the wider local community, encouraging ‘expert patients’, actively seeking and listening to patient experiences and involving patients as co-producers of health services, can lead to improved patient self-management, improved patient safety and more sustainable, person-centred service improvements.
Indeed, the UK would appear to have a very promising foundation for extending and promoting the wider adoption of patient leadership and communities as co-designers of services. The Commonwealth Fund recently cited the UK not only as one of the leading healthcare systems in the world1, but also as the best system in the world for patient-centred care.
Nevertheless, research by Dr Kath Checkland of the National Primary Care Research Centre suggests that few people really know what effective public or patient involvement means or how to implement it effectively. There are questions around who the public or patients are, and how representative patient representatives actually are. She argues that while it’s a positive idea to involve the patient, it is important to be both practical and specific about what this actually means in practice.
Few people really know what effective public or patient involvement means or how to implement it effectively.