Health Education England's Co-production in Learning for Better Health Project brings together a network of individuals interested in using dialogue to improve services from the perspective of professionals and service users. The process is structured around a role play model or ‘simulation’ model of engagement.
Health Education England's Co-production in Learning for Better Health Project is run by a range of professionals from different backgrounds, united by their previous experience working with the London Deanery, an organisation that was responsible for the continued training and professional development of London’s medical professionals, and is now the Professional Support Unit, supporting the professional development of clinicians working in the capital. All the professionals involved in this project have a common interest in the area of co-production, and specifically how best to engage people from different backgrounds in meaningful dialogue with balanced discussion from multiple parties. The Professional Support Unit is collaborating with this project on the basis of their expertise and experience in communication; one of their aims is the continued improvement of communication between patients and professionals in healthcare.
The aim of this project is to bring to together a network of individuals interested in using dialogue to improve services from the perspective of professionals and service users. More specifically, this project aims to recruit partners from wider networks with a view to creating bespoke issue-based workshops catered around partners’ needs.
The process is structured around a role play model; in this instance a specific model termed ‘simulation’; a type of live role play. This model is commonly used in the teaching of communication skills to those in healthcare in order to practice clinical skills, such as the recording of patient histories, or communication skills, such as effectively consulting with patients from a range of backgrounds. Traditionally, feedback would be given by patients and fellow health professionals observing the simulations.
What is unique about this project however, is the live nature of the case study being observed. Over the course of the project so far, it has been found that patients and professionals viewing the simulations live, as opposed to viewing pre-recorded sessions, has revealed several advantages: first, it has allowed for the education of multiple individuals - those viewing and evaluating the role play could learn from it, as opposed to just the medical professional acting out the role play. Another advantage is that this approach has been found to be much more inclusive – those who might lack confidence in reading and writing could more easily engage with spoken conversation. It has also been apparent that observers have tended to be more respectful of the situation being discussed; they have been less likely to interrupt because, for the duration of the role play, it seemed that a genuine patient was telling their story. The scenario had been co-created with group beforehand. This is in contrast to more traditional presentation formats, which can be vulnerable to interruptions from participants and can result in a lack of understanding from those with less accomplished English. Traditional methods, whilst familiar to professionals, are perhaps not to some service users, who may find this approach completely alien. The simulation was found to be more effective at engaging participants.
The group of professionals were partnered with Social Action for Health, a community development charity. Together, they ran two workshops with staff and a mothers’ group from the maternity services liaison committee – one focused on co-production and the other looked specifically at maternity services.
The following outcomes and observations were recorded from the project:
• A further understanding of the importance of empathy and listening on the part of professionals and service users.
• Listening to the other side is important – the example of realising that health professionals have very little time was given.
• The role-play was helpful. During the feedback we built a model of good communication. We want more health professionals to be like that!
• Health visitors need to share their information with GPs more e.g. information about local support groups etc.
• Translators are needed. Language can sometimes create a barrier.
• We need to think about how to get messages to GPs.
• There is a need to recognise the role of carers / partners.
• More support needed for people who have lost a baby. Don’t just send them home from hospital.
What else would people like from workshops / training in the future?
• Empowerment – How can people make truly informed decisions?
• How can mothers help to support each other through difficult times, such as a complex pregnancy?
The other outcome is that a relationship has been built and developed between the groups and as a result, they are now involved in another project focused on re-validation. A link has also been built between these service users and the Professional Support Unit and previously they had not known such organisations even existed.
Hamet Patel - firstname.lastname@example.org
Penny Morris - Penny.MORRIS@southlondon.hee.nhs.uk
Build skills and capacity of participants
Create a shared vision amongst participants
Number of participants
Self selected participants attending as individuals (open access process)
Level of awareness and interest
participants know about some aspects/can roughly articulate some interest
Health and well-being
Limit search to...
... face to face processes
Level of involvement
Children and young people
Ethnic minority groups
Groups with low levels of literacy/confidence
People with learning difficulties