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Partnership project brings patients and clinicians together to improve care


The University of Wolverhampton and the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) have teamed up to undertake a co-production project co-designed by patients and clinical staff to ensure that service pathways are developed in equal partnership. 

Academics in the University’s Institute of Health have joined forces with staff representing teams from Learning Difficulty, Stroke and Children and Young People departments, on a 10-month project to learn about co-production principles, ‘how to do’ co-production and co-create with their respective patient communities. 

The project has been supported by a £20,000 grant from The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust Charity. 

The areas were selected based on Patient Feedback data from a variety of metrics including the Friends and Family Test, Complaints and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) National Surveys. 

The project will consist of a series of practical workshops involving patient representatives and clinicians with a view to redesigning and developing patient centred products such as toolkits and learning maps. 

Lucy Palmer, Learning Difficulty Specialist Nurse at RWT, said: “It’s really important to have input from patients with learning difficulties in order for us to design appropriate services which are fully accessible to them. We have worked with patients before in terms of getting their feedback, but this is a further step forward towards improving our services and it’s been amazing to see how enthusiastic our patients have been in these workshops.” 

Susan and Diane Baker from Upper Gornal, both learning difficulty patients, have been working with the group on the project.  Diane said: “We have both worked with NHS hospitals in the past doing role plays, they’ve asked us to help with ideas on how they can improve the hospital experience for us. We’ve both been in and out of hospitals and we’ve trained lots of nurses and staff at hospitals to help them understand what patients like us need.” 

Susan said: “We’ve worked on lots of materials in the workshops, working in groups, creating a map of the learning difficulty journey when we were in hospital – signposts and that type of thing, symbols that we are working on so that staff know we have learning difficulties - like a picture of a sunflower to help patients be more cheerful and to help staff know who we are."


Alison Dowling, Head of Patient Experience and Public Involvement at RWT, said: “The Trust is always looking at ways in which we can involve our patients and their loved ones to help shape our services and learn from each other’s experiences. One of the fundamental ways do to this is through the involvement of co-design. 

“We are really excited to be undertaking this piece of work collaboratively with the University of Wolverhampton to pilot the development and process of co-production principles for the Trust. We will then decide how we could consider using co-production in four specific areas of the Trust as projects for improvement, including an agreed action learning plan going forwards.”  

Dr Martin Bollard, Head of Nursing in the University’s Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, said: “I am very excited to be part of this project and look forward to working with colleagues and patients from one of our key local health partner organisations.  

“Nowadays within NHS and Social Care practice, policy and research, co-design is an ideal way of bringing patients and communities together, with the ambition of developing equal partnerships to influence their care pathways.”  

Picture caption: from left to right Lucy Palmer, Learning Difficulty Specialist Nurse at RWT, Learning Difficulty patients and sisters, Diane and Susan Baker and Lynne Westwood, Senior Lecturer & Course Leader in Learning Disability Nursing at the University of Wolverhampton. 

Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days. 


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