Co-production: Giving Communities a Helping Hand

News item posted: 17 March 2017


Co-production* is an important factor in health integration. By empowering communities, it delivers improved health care, innovation and better outcomes for patients, according to a new report by the NHS Alliance and Turning Point, with the support of National Voices.

Raising the Bar: Driving Co-production through Clinical Commissioning puts co-production at centre stage to show examples of how community development approaches have successfully delivered significant improvements in health and wellbeing of local populations. 

The report is the output from a policy workshop chaired by Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Turning Point's Chief Executive. It reflects on successful examples of best practice as well as on current barriers to effective co-production.

According to the report, "there is good evidence that co-production works for communities to foster health protection, tackle health inequalities, promote behaviour change and promote effective patient and public involvement." But one of the main challenges is to ensure that the co-production approach can be scaled up. To meet this challenge, Raising the Bar identified four steps that need to be taken:

  1. Creating local community resources by developing place-based approaches to resources and budgets that cover the full gamut of public services within a community.
  2. Changing culture and behaviours in the NHS by supporting GPs to work differently in their practice; by supporting clinical commissioners to work with partners and communities to develop co-production; and by creating an effective communications campaign that helps commissioners understand 'What's in it for me?'
  3. Joining up planning with and in communities through health and well-being strategies and the JSNA (joint strategic needs assessment) by creating examples of best practice.
  4. Showing commissioners and those co-producing services the power of building evidence-based practice and how to put co-production and community development to work. Dr Brian Fisher, PPI lead, NHS Alliance, said: "We are keen to move beyond ideas and into action. We need to create a cohesive and integrated policy that supports co-production to improve health and wellbeing. We also need to think about how local commissioning partnerships can create a shared vision that supports co-produced services, designed and delivered with local people."

Lord Victor Adebowale, Turning Point's chief executive, said: "Co-produced projects such as Turning Point's Connected Care are innovative in the way they integrate care and give the public a voice. I want co-production in health to become the rule and not the exception. If this is realised then it could have a profound impact on people's lives."
One of the case studies highlighted in the report is the Health Empowerment Leverage Project (HELP). Further details can be found at www.healthempowermentgroup.org.uk/
Full report attached.

*Co-production means delivering public services in an equal partnership between providers, service users, their families and communities.