Involvement Opportunity – Joining the Dots, Mental Health project

The System Leadership team is working with Otsuka Health Solutions on a project called Joining the Dots. The project aims to enable staff and service users to work together, on computer tools, to make better use of data and information and to co-produce important aspects of their care plans.
Work on the design of this project will continue over the coming months. Service user and carer input into this project is essential to make this project a success.

Service users and carers are now being recruited onto the team. The project will run to the end of March 2016.

The project contains four project groups for which we will be seeking members. Project group members will be paid an allowance for their time of £12.00 per hour plus reasonable travel expenses (in line with AWP expenses policy).

For: Someone who is either a current service user (patient) or carer for someone who uses Bristol Mental Health services, or has been a service user or carer within the last 18 months.

Meetings: Will be held monthly, on weekday afternoons, lasting 2 hours.

How to apply: Please email or telephone Tracy Clack on 0117 354 6202 to request an application pack, check eligibility, or for any other questions.

About the process: At the present time there will be no closing date for recruiting into these roles. Instead we will be undertaking a rolling programme of recruitment. Please apply as soon as you are able.

After applications are received service users and carers will be invited to an informal chat in order to discuss the roles. This will be followed by a decision being made on the candidate’s suitability. Please note that there will be a service user or carer on the interview panel.

Both successful and unsuccessful candidates will be given feedback (if wanted) on their applications, within 3 days of the interview.

We would like to start gathering your views as soon as we are able so please apply as soon as you are able.

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Involvement Opportunity – Gambling problems in primary care setting

For: One member of the public who may have a problem with gambling, or a history of gambling problems.

What: The Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol is looking for a member of the public to join their project advisory committee for a study which is exploring the issue of gambling and problems with gambling. You do not need to have had any experience of involvement with a research project before, but we are particularly keen to make sure that the committee includes someone who has personally experienced problems with their own gambling.

Details: We would ask you to attend and contribute to the project advisory committee which meets once every 2-3 months, for no more than 3 hours, from February 2016 until December 2016. Meetings will be held during the day in the Clifton area of Bristol. There may also be a small amount of reading and work to do between meetings. We can offer £75 day rate for the meetings you attend, and we can also cover travel costs.

More info: Email or Tel 0117 3314515.

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Involvement Opportunity – Talking Therapies

The NIHR Dissemination Centre helps NHS clinicians, commissioners and patients to make informed decisions about which treatments and practices are most effective in health care, social care and public health.

The Centre’s next Highlight – a research evidence digest – will be focussing on talking therapies for depression. It will present the NIHR’s latest evidence on the value of talking therapies of different types. It will explore how useful talking therapies may be to treat depression, either as an alternative to medication or combined with it. Two volunteers are needed to help with the production of this edition, one with experience of talking therapies only, the other who has had both medication and talking therapy. The Centre team would like to interview volunteers by telephone before the end of January and will then agree with each volunteer the way in which their experience of treatment will be presented on the website. The interview and any follow up contact should take no more than an hour. The Dissemination Centre offers an honorarium payment of £25 for this.

You can see an example of how patient experience was presented in the Centre’s most recent Highlight:

If you would like to take part in this project please contact Alison Ford at the NIHR Dissemination Centre: E mail or call Alison on 023 8059 7435. All discussion with Alison will be in complete confidence.

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Bristol Health Partners, Respiratory Health Integration Team (RUBICON HIT)

The RUBICON HIT is working together to improve advice and support for parents and patients, and to improve antibiotic use in the treatment of respiratory infections and is seeking a lay person to join the leadership/management team of the HIT.The role would require attendance at four meetings (±2hrs) of the management/leadership team per year and the post holder would be expected to contribute towards the reviewing and setting of priorities for the HIT as well as helping to monitor the work of the HIT projects.  Support for the successful applicant is available from Bristol Health Partners.

Clinical knowledge is not necessary but an interest in the work of the HIT is.

Payment is available.

For more information or to apply, contact Christie Cabral by email: or telephone: 0117 3314569

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Bristol Health Partners, Active People: Promoting Healthy Life Expectancy Health Integration Team (APPHLE HIT)

The APPHLE HIT is working together to improve health and activity in later life and is recruiting an older person to join the leadership/management team of the HIT.

The role would require attendance at four meetings (±2hrs) of the management/leadership team per year and the post holder would be expected to contribute towards the reviewing and setting of priorities for the HIT as well as helping to monitor the work of the HIT projects.  Support for the successful applicant is available from Bristol Health Partners.

Payment is available.

For more information or to apply, contact Selena Gray (

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Say it for our admin staff!

The departure from PHWE of Kim Thomas, the Team administrator and PA, prompts Hildegard Dumper her manager for the past 3 ½ years to reflect on the vital role a good administrator plays in the success of a project.

The story starts in February 2014, when I was appointed to set up a new team that would support four partners to develop a strong public involvement approach to their work. The partners were Bristol Health Partners (BHP), CLAHRC West, NIHR CRN West of England and the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN), with University of West of England providing the Academic Lead. When PHWE started we were originally based in the offices of WEAHSN in S Plaza. Rosie, Kim and I started our life with PHWE there. It was a time of great optimism and adventure. WEAHSN had just been set up, CLAHRC was embarking on new horizons, CRN was in the middle of being re-organised and BHP was developing a new business plan. This was an opportunity to put in a new approach to public involvement; to challenge the traditional NHS tendency to work in silos, and work in a collaborative way on the issue of public involvement. By sharing resources we aimed to increase the partner’s efficiency and effectiveness in public involvement.

Traditionally there is a big divide between public involvement in health research and public involvement in service provision and improvement. The public involvement staff in each sector rarely works together. We were being given the opportunity to work across these silos, sharing knowledge and expertise and avoiding duplication. There was a sense of adventure that comes with the realisation that we were pioneers in a new way of working and were treading new ground.  PHWE were going to put in place a model that would show how it could be done; we were going to change the world – and the admin post was pivotal to making this a success!

WEAHSN, CLAHRC West, BHP and CRN are all hosted by different organisations. In August 2014, Kim set about bringing together the culture, systems and processes of 4 quite separate host organisations – UHB, RUH Bath, UWE and University of Bristol with NIHR being an additional factor here and there. These were systems affecting how PHWE finance, expenses claims, reporting mechanisms, email addresses, website, codes, passwords etc had to be carried out. Kim became good friends with all the important people in IT, catering, estates, travel firms, HR, hospitality, venues, hotels and so on. She won all of them over with her charm and good humour, always done with such cheerfulness and a ‘can do’ attitude. Perhaps the fact that she came from outside the NHS helped – she brought a fresh eye to long standing challenges. In addition she came with experiences and knowledge of systems and practices which could improve the efficiency of PHWE and hence its partners also. Everything was a practical challenge which could be overcome with a bit of determination.

It was Kim’s patience and dogged refusal to give up that was instrumental in getting the people in the organisations she dealt with to make compromises. Her patience and recognition of her role in educating finance, HR and other staff, on the complexities of the project led to small but significant results. Small but important bureaucratic changes were made; expense claim forms were amended to be more user friendly for public contributors, finance staff were prepared to have some flexibility in managing claims and IT staff went out of their way to help make the different systems compatible.

Her leaving will be a great loss to us all at PHWE. Not just because she is a lovely person, but with her goes all the memory and knowledge that she has acquired in her role. We couldn’t have achieved what we have without her.

So thank you Kim for all your hard work, for having been such fun to work with and for having made the last few years such an adventure!



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New Public Involvement evaluation workshop

Our new workshop on the evaluation of public involvement is developing well.  We’ve run early versions of the workshop with the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England, and in October 2018 for the first time we delivered it for the People in Health West of England regional network’s learning and development programme.  The workshop includes sharing some of the key issues and debates about the evaluation of public involvement, and then outlines three different approaches to help participants plan and develop their own evaluations.  We’ve had really useful feedback and have now taken it to the conference in Newcastle on ‘International Perspectives on Evaluation of Patient and Public Involvement in Research’ 15-16 November 2018.  We are looking forward to sharing the outline of our new workshop and getting further feedback from colleagues to ensure what we offer hits the spot.  We hope that we might find some new collaborators who would like to deliver our workshop so that we can develop it further.

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What does co-production actually mean in practice? asks Hildegard Dumper, the West of England AHSN’s Patient and Public Involvement Manager

You might have noticed there are a number of buzz words currently flying around, the most common starting with the prefix ‘co’: co-produce, co-design and co-create. Even NHS England talks about co-design in its Five Year Forward View. I thought I would share with you my understanding about these ‘co’ words, and what they mean for us.

The first thing we need to understand is that all these ‘co’ words describe an approach to working with the public that regards each individual, regardless of their role, as having a valuable contribution to make. Central to this approach are principles of reciprocity and equality. We at the West of England AHSN have committed ourselves to being guided by these principles and working in a co-produced way.

There are a number of definitions of co-production. The National Co-production Critical Friends defines it as…

‘a relationship where professionals and citizens share power to plan and deliver support together, recognising that both have vital contributions to make in order to improve quality of life for people and communities.’

The New Economic Foundation / NESTA suggests co-production is…

‘delivering public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services, their families and their neighbours. Where activities are co-produced in this way, both services and neighbourhoods become far more effective agents of change.’

 NHS England’s Citizen’s Assembly describes co-production as…

‘service users, or the public in general, working in partnership with service providers or commissioners to jointly make decisions.’

So what does this actually mean for us in practice? There are a number of things that need to be considered when deciding to work in a co-produced way.

1. What’s in scope?

Decide which pieces of work are suitable for co-production and what can and cannot be achieved by involving people in this way.


2. Identify resources

Consider what resources you have available. Think about:

  • Staffing – who will be managing the project?
  • Funding – have you the resources to pay travel expenses and/or people’s time? See our guide to paying expenses.
  • Timing – involving people takes longer. What is your time-line?
  • Identifying suitable people – what kind of selection process would be fair and appropriate?

3. Produce role descriptions

Develop and agree with your public contributors a role description which clearly states the time commitment expected from them, the length of their involvement and payment details (a template role description is available).

4. Create a level playing field

Identify where power imbalances can exist and take steps to minimise them. For example, don’t have meetings at a time that excludes public contributors from attending or from taking part in the background thinking and development of a project.

5. Value difference

Work with a wide range of people, using different people for different pieces of work.

It has been shown that where genuine co-production has taken place, it can deliver better outcomes, support better use of scarce resources and improve the well-being of those involved – clearly a win/win situation for the West of England AHSN.
Posted on February 24, 2016 by Hildegard Dumper, Patient and Public Involvement Manager for the West of England AHSN

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Hallowe’en at the young people’s advisory group (YPAG)

Hallowe’en fell slap bang in the middle of half term this year which gave us a great excuse for a gory themed October YPAG.  The group “decorated” the room with spider webs, spiders, pumpkin lanterns and bats.  Mike provided blood-filled syringe pens and the group had a chance to draw blood from dismembered arms.  Of course there was work to be done, commenting on information sheets for a quality of life survey, deciding on website icons and ranking the issues that most affected them while at school.  Lunch was provided and the researchers all brought trick or treat snacks so no excuse for going home hungry.  Evaluations from researchers were all very positive and the group members all seemed to enjoy the day.  If you are young and would like to join or you  know any young people aged 10 to 17 who might like to join us, please contact Mike to find out more.  If you are a researcher and would like to consult the group about your research, contact Mike as well.

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Nicky Williams moving on from co-chair PHWE

Many congratulations to our co-chair Dr Nicky Williams who has been appointed to the exciting post of National Director of Support & Delivery for Health and Social Care Research for Wales and so will be stepping down from her role with PHWE.  Nicky has been a wonderful champion for patient and public involvement for many years and was one of a small group who came together in 2008 with the vision to collaborate to support involvement in research across the West of England.  This led to the innovative creation of People and Research West of England which Nicky ably chaired from 2010-2013.  With the advent of the West of England Academic Health Science Network and CLAHRC West in 2014, this gave us the opportunity to greatly extend the work of PRWE and embed it in the new West of England partnership structures.  Thus PHWE was formed with a stronger public voice including a public co-chair working alongside Nicky.  Nicky has continued to lead with her characteristic combination of strategic vision and superb facilitation skills.  Nicky will be badly missed by all of us at PHWE but we wish her all the best at her exciting hew national role in health and social care research in Wales.

Posted on December 16, 2015 by David Evans, Professor in Health Services Research Public Involvement at the University of the West of England

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