Connections: The Power of Learning Together to Improve Healthcare in the United Kingdom
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Patient, service user, health, and disability advocacy movements contribute to a stronger voice for patients in healthcare in the UK. The National Health Service, introduced in 1948, funded through general taxation, and free at the point of delivery, is less characterized by paternalism now than at its inception. Successive health reforms, policy directives, and legislation support increasing patient autonomy and choice. With the introduction of the internet, changes in technology, and the growth of social media, patient expectation and behaviour are shifting further towards active involvement in decision-making. Translating policy rhetoric and research evidence into meaningful patient and public involvement practice presents challenges to healthcare professionals and researchers. Co-designing opportunities to learn collaboratively offers ways to strengthen practice through the exchange of experiential knowledge and to generate emergent insight. This enhances relational skills that underpin quality improvement, research, and transformation. Patient and service users eloquently articulate the benefits of learning together and model attributes that are essential to improvement efforts.
KeywordsPatient involvement Applied health research Collaborative learning Emergent learning Experiential learning Exchange network Relational skills Quality improvement Leadership Creativity Influencing Learning Systems thinking
The contributors wish to thank all those in the wider CLAHRC Northwest London community and across the UK who have contributed to the advancement of patient and public engagement and involvement in applied health research, especially Alison Cameron who opened our eyes to co-production and the Exchange Network Co-Design Group: Alison Baker, Alison Cameron, Cherelle Augustine, Ganesh Sathyamoorthy, Jane McGrath, Jenny Trite, Liz Evans, Meerat Kaur, Nicola Kingston, and Nordia James. We mention Margaret Turley for her dedication to championing people with learning disabilities who with Fran Husson masterminded ‘My Medication Passport’; Stan Papoulias and Savi Hensman from NIHR CLAHRC South London for their generous intellectual and peer support. We thank Derek Bell (Director, CLAHRC Northwest London), Julie Reed, and the NIHR CLAHRC Northwest London team, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine research partners, Cicely Marston, Alicia Renedo, Angela Filipe, and Sam Miles. Thanks to Simon Denegri, Jocelyn Cornwell, Samira Ben Omar, Christine Mead, David Gilbert, Mark Doughty, Roma Iskander, Sheila Marsh, Maryrose Tarpey, Helen Hayes, Steven Towndrow, Sandra Howgate, and Lloyd Pestell. Particular thanks to Neil Stillman for his contribution to final revisions, proof reading, and citation support.
This article presents independent research supported by/in part funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) programme for Northwest London. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health and Social Care.
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