Healthcare must commit to working more closely with patients, The King’s Fund has said. This meets the aspirations for developing new relationships with patients and communities outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View, says the body.

“We need to shift away from a ‘them and us’ model to a more collaborative one and make sure these relationships are embedded into our organisational structures,” commented Mark Doughty, senior consultant at The King’s Fund.

A paper from the organisation, Patients as partners: building collaborative relationships among professionals, patients, carers and communities, highlights how patients can be encouraged to get involved and then supported to work in advising on health and social care development.

Five practical ways for developing collaborative relationships among NHS, patient and community partners are suggested:

1.    Find your collaborative partner

2.    Invest in developing leadership and collaborative relationships

3.    Make time for learning – and share it

4.    Go where the energy is – working bottom up

5.    Embed collaborative activity – ensure new ways of working are accepted by others and enabled to spread.

Case studies in the paper are drawn from the Fund’s national Collaborative Pairs programme, which supported patients and health professionals to work together on a wide range of local initiatives.

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