In order to truly “put people first”, I believe we need to actively engage and work in collaboration with the people that will be impacted, across all levels of decision-making processes within NHS funded healthcare. In order to implement innovative change and most importantly, changes that will have a meaningful impact for the communities that we serve, I believe that people’s individual expertise in their own lived (and living) experience, including people with caring responsibilities, needs to be embedded across all systems of NHS funded healthcare. Involvement work is not only the responsibility of the individuals that are experts by experience to hold, but everyone within the system and together as collective human beings.
During my time working within the PPN South East, working with and alongside experts by experience has been an absolute privilege and enriching learning experience. One of the main elements that attracted me to work within the PPN South East was the integration and emphasis of involvement throughout all of its workstreams, including at its conception. The 4Pi National involvement standards framework (here) emphasises the importance of ‘principles, purpose, presence, process and impact’ for involvement work. Within the PPN South East, we have implemented this through creating a co-produced involvement strategy, in order to develop shared language and expectations within our specific workstreams alongside experts by experience. The involvement work within the PPN South East has been routinely recorded in a co-produced impact log, classifying different levels of involvement (participation, consulting, involvement, co-design and co-production) in addition to recording the impact of involvement, with invitations for reflections from both staff members and experts by experience. Impact is routinely presented and discussed within the quarterly PPN South East Board alongside experts by experience to celebrate what has been achieved and notably, how to further develop our involvement work going forward. Most importantly, the involvement strategy and impact log were co-created at its conception alongside experts by experience from the ground up with the functional purpose within the PPN. It is both context specific and will continue to evolve over time, and would look different elsewhere depending on the involvement work undertaken.
One question that has resonated with me is: what is genuine and meaningful co-production and what isn’t it? How can we make this a live and on-going discussion with the communities that we serve, where our answer will develop, change and be shaped through what we learn and discover together?
Senior Assistant Psychologist
PPN South East