One of the first things that strikes me about many Policies, Strategies and Plans for Engaging and Involving patients, service users, carers and the public is that they sit apart from the purpose of the organisation where they exist. The second feature is that they often just concentrate on the processes of patient and public involvement rather then its purpose to make research better - more relevant and appropriate, more accessible, quicker and easier to understand. The third feature is that they stop at research rather than connecting it to improving health and wellbeing. Fourthly, they lack measures to assess the added value patient and public insight brings.
The following framework is being developed by the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) as means of setting out the different elements for our Strategy.
Producing a Strategy - Here are some of the questions we are asking.
What is the ambition? (AIM & PURPOSE) - Involving and engaging patients and the public is the means of achieving the ambitions . Involvement is an enabler, a vehicle that provides unique insight to help deliver high quality research to improve future health.
We are talking to people to help set out how the involvement of patients and the public will contribute to the work of the BRC and local people's lives. These discussions will shape our ambition and help make it happen.
About Our BRC (CONTEXT) BRCs provide a vital link between the health services and local patient need that may be different across the country. The way patients and public are already involved will have a bearing on our direction of travel.
We want to briefly tell the local story and mark our starting point as building on good practice
What is the Strategy? (SCOPE) Involvement, Engagement and Participation
We will set out how these are related and reflected throughout our plans and practice
How is it being developed? (PROCESS) We will ensure that we hold the values of involvement and have a process for engaging and involving patients, public and partners
We will report on how we have consulted and made changes to our thinking and to the report
How does it meet with national and local Policies and Reports? (ALIGNMENT) We need to use these reports for references on the wider picture.
We will do a speedy review of relevant documents to check for areas in commonality and difference to show how involving people fits together with other reports
How are we working together? (COORDINATION) BRCs can play vital role in hosting meetings, encouraging partnership working,
We will explain how we are supporting the development of One NIHR at a local and regional level.
Where are we now and in future? (ANALYSIS) We will carry out a simple Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (SWOT) activity
We will base our Strategy on a thorough understanding of where and how patients and the public are currently engaged / involved and where we are heading
How will we know we have made a difference? (REVIEW) Capturing the story, counting some numbers and circulating it with others will help us measure the impact
We will explain how we will test out various ways acknowledging, celebrating and illustrating the ways in which patients, public and partners have changed and improved the BRC
We would welcome feedback so that this is developed in partnership with as many people as possible - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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Derek Stewart is the Interim Director for Patient Involvement at Nottingham BRC