I am a member of a local co-production group that works with the local integrated care board to ensure the voice of people with lived experience is integral to the development and delivery of personalised care.

This Co-production Week, I question if we should limit our celebrations of co-production to just a week?  Because by doing so, are we then acknowledging that, rather than it being a way of working which is done naturally by the system leaders, it is something extraordinary – highlighted by showcasing projects when co-production has been done well?

Them and us

Recently, I was in a strategic level meeting with organisations such as public health, the Integrated Care Board, Integrated Care Partnership and the co-production group I am a member of.  I felt the discussions were about ‘the population’, with a sense of ‘them and us’, rather than a sense of co-production.

From my perspective, all of us are either patients or carers at some point in our lives – even health service managers. We are all born, we all die, and we all have touch points through our lives with health and social care services. 

If the Patients Association’s principles of patient partnership were the ‘golden thread’ through every project, every commissioned service, every decision, with a human connection at the centre, then we would not need a week highlighting co-production because it would be second nature.


We are all linked to family, friends, social groups and if we all thought about those connections, we would always want to be treated as equals, to be fully informed, to make shared decisions, to work in partnership with professionals around our health and care. 

We would want services to be joined up, equitable and fair.  We would want to be able to feed back into those services and our input be genuinely valued, meaningfully acted on and then fed back to us with any changes made. 

We would want transparency and accountability, acknowledging failure, which is just as important as acknowledging success, because then it leads to learning. 

One of my favourite sayings as a champion of co-production is ‘do it with us not to us’. But on reflection that replicates the ‘them and us’ rhetoric – so maybe I should change to ‘do it for us all’ and then co-production becomes the only way to work.

Read the Patients Association's Six Principles of Patient Partnership