Clare Knighton: The challenges of co-production- A Peer Support Workers Perspective

It’s really important that we as service users and patients can talk about service experiences, share common ground and negotiate service improvements together. This, to me, is the essence of co-production: making meaningful change together. However, to do this well takes time and effort all round.

Co-production isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, a tick box exercise and whilst it may add more time onto a project, the outcome of a better fit-for-purpose service is worth the effort.Often there is a lack of time for people implementing new changes to circulate information about involvement opportunities. True co-production takes time, detailed conversations, time to ‘think’ (often left out of NHS change projects) and just general involvement and communication.

I believe that many people do want to involve patients and service users, however, it can sometimes appear tokenistic – usually due to lack of time. For my own experiences I feel fortunate to have been involved fully in several changes that have taken place in my Trust, however, I know there is always more to do.

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I sit on the community engagement panel and have seen first-hand how our involvement has given fresh thinking and ideas to upcoming projects. Our ‘fresh pair of eyes’ often uncover things that haven’t been thought about which clearly help bring about more robust, patient focused changes.

Co-production will be on the NHS’s agenda more and more and will eventually become ‘business as usual’, but until then, we need to think clearly about involving those whom the service directly affects – ‘no decision about me, without me.’

perspective

Clare Knighton

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Clare Knighton is an accredited peer support worker based in Worcestershire.

@knightonstar

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