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Voices for Improvement

Voices for Improvement is a National Voices project focused on strengthening collaboration between those with lived experience and decision-makers, in the service of improving health and social care.

  • Lived experience
  • Health inequalities

The story behind Voices for Improvement

In 2019, National Voices secured funding from the Health Foundation Q Community to explore how collaboration with those with lived experience patients could be strengthened and how the experience of people could be made more central to improvement efforts in health care. 

What happened?

Working with a diverse advisory group which included members with Lived Experience we co-designed activities to explore where collaboration is done well and identify practice features and characteristics that make it meaningful.

What were the main findings?

We learned from our desktop research, conversations and co-design events, that renewed effort is required to tackle underlying and unaddressed issues of diversity, inclusion, race, power and paternalism. These issues are central to authentic efforts to embed collaboration between different people, teams, organisations and sectors. These remain uncomfortable ‘live’ issues, especially in a post-pandemic context.

We proposed a refined mechanism by which people with experience of living with health conditions, impairment or disability, including carers and existing Patient Leaders, can actively contribute to and lead change, improvement and influencing initiatives.

Valuing Lived Experience and Strategic Co-production

In July 2021 we secured further funding from the Health Foundation Q Community to test a new approach to strengthen collaboration between people with lived experience and decision-makers in health and social care. This built on the exploration into what works well to promote productive relationships, improve insight and influence carried out by our advisory group between May 2020 and February 2021. 

Rachel Matthews and Keymn Whervin co-designed and developed a prototype programme of coaching and mentoring, designed to bring mutual benefit to those with lived and learned experience and improve health and social care. People with lived experience bring important insight to the design and delivery of care, and understand how resources can be directed for better value. However, they do not often get the opportunity to work alongside system leaders to support improvement. 

Voices for Improvement offers Lived Experience Partners the opportunity to provide coaching and mentoring to those in senior positions in health and care. Through 1 to 1 coaching in action learning groups, Lived Experience Partner participants are trained to bring their perspective and insights to support leaders to develop their personal and organisational practice.  

In May 2022, Janssen awarded National Voices a grant to further develop and support the organisation’s work on strategic co-production.

Our Voices for Improvement Learning Report

Valuing Lived Experience – Learning report, and the accompanying Valuing Lived Experience – Summary Report both represent a snapshot of the accumulation of two years’ work and the strength of community behind Voices for Improvement, including The Health Foundation’s Q Community, and the Co-Production Collective at UCL. It brings together learning amassed during Voices for Improvement’s pilot phase, from August 2021 to March 2022. Watch the recording of our launch event for this report here

Our current work in this area

At National Voices, our team brings decades of experience and expertise on how to meaningfully involve people with lived experience in decision making around health and care. We work closely with a community of Lived Experience Partners who hold valuable knowledge, insight, and skills about what it is like to use services and navigate their way within and between organisations. We are here to help you strengthen your organisation’s approach to strategic co-production.