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Co-design - Working with Patients
Patient Experience

Co-design - Working with Patients

In these straightened times, RWT has to take a serious look at how to make the very best use of the resources that we have to bring the best possible care to our patients and communities.

RWT has already started this process and, in re-defining our strategic aims as ‘Care, Collaboration, Colleagues and Communities a way forward comes clearly into focus.  

By collaborating effectively, communities and colleagues are the key to providing the care that our community desires, deserves and expects. The tool that brings them all together and coordinates our endeavours is a fifth ‘C’ – Co-production.

Co-production is the fusion of patients, communities and colleagues to discover what patients and communities really want and need from the NHS.  Rather than simply delivering care pathways and asking patients ‘How was it for you?’, co-production stands traditional service design on its head. We bring patients and communities together and ask a broad spectrum of our local service users what services they need and how they would like them to be delivered. We listen meaningfully to their responses and evaluate what can honestly be delivered within the scope of the available resources. 

Next, we plan with them how to achieve their ideal service and we work with them to put those changes into place. Then we jointly evaluate, as changes take place, what the effects are and whether they are bringing the real change that people want. The question can then be asked,

‘Have we delivered the service that you said that you wanted?’

Over the course of the last year, RWT has been working with the University of Wolverhampton to see how Co-production works in practice. Patients who have been affected by stroke, young people and their representatives and people with learning disabilities have been very actively involved. Some of the developments that have been identified are small, some have the potential for very significant improvement and some are still under development. What links them all, however, is that they are the developments to our services that participants want to see and are enthused about. The participants feel involved and valued. 

“It was good to be able to say something and have people listen, the nurses asked us lots of questions and then we changed things to make it better, we was a real part of the team”

Quote from Susan and Diane Baker, participants, Learning Disability Team

The colleagues and patients from the Stroke Team have identified a need for a digital app that would enable people with neurological impairments to contribute more easily and effectively to service design. Although resource and governance issues have still to be resolved, this has given a usable framework to enable staff to ask, to use and to involve patients. 

The colleagues and patients from the Children’s Team has developed a survey format to which children and young people can relate more easily and which will result in more meaningful involvement and feedback for a service that is too-often informed by adult voices.

My Journey with the Paediatric Rheumatology Team (PDF, 41Kb)
My Journey with Speech and Language Therapy (PDF, 38Kb)
Questionnaire on Usefulness of Sheets (PDF, 41Kb)

Those participating in the Learning Disability Team have put together a logo design and poster. This encapsulates in words and images the need to respect and involve people with LD in decisions that relate to their care journey. This is now being used as a discreet sticker/indicator on patients’ beds to help staff to realise the patients’ needs and then to understand and fulfil them.

Learning Disability Team Logo (PDF, 916Kb)
Learning Disability Team Poster (PDF, 246Kb)

The NHS Constitution for England states that:

“The patient will be at the heart of everything the NHS does. It should support individuals to promote and manage their own health.” 

In bringing patients to the table in the design and development of health service delivery we are doing the right thing. We are delivering care with the community not to the community.

RWT is keen to expand Co-production and for patients and staff to benefit from working together to develop our services. The Patient Experience team is here to support RWT Teams and patients in this aim. If you or your team are keen to learn how to achieve excellence in care by involving patients, then we will be only too happy to help.

For more information, please contact: rwh-tr.patientexperienceteam@nhs.net

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham