I was recently reading a document by Becky Seale (2016) “Patients as Partners” which outlined the learning from the King’s Fund “Leading Collaboratively with Patients and Communities” (collaborative pairs programme). Health and care professionals, patients, carers, service users and community based leaders were invited to come together in pairs, to explore how to develop collaborative relationships and lead system change.
This started me thinking about collaboration, what it is and the extent to which it is really experienced in health and social care practice. In my experience, when I talk with teams, the usual practice appears to be mostly consultation with patients and service users rather than meaningful collaboration. Within a practice development world view (McCormack et al., 2013) one of the key values in working with people is the principle of collaboration, inclusion and participation (CIP). When I am working with nurse led teams on the Patients First Programme, I try to help them identify how they are currently working and how they would like to improve their collaboration with people. Using the model of participation (as below), I ask teams to think of how they are enabling patients and service users to participate in their project (area of change or innovation) and ask them to rate this according to the model. This usually results in a great deal of discussion and debate. It also creates the chance for the teams to challenge each other about how much participation is really experienced with a view to highlighting a way in which the level of participation can be increased and power shared.