We have been working with patients and stakeholders to create a set of principles we believe need to be in place for patient partnership to take place. 

The idea of patient partnership and implementing it in an organisation has been around for a long time, so this is nothing new or game-changing. Take a look at the NHS Constitution or the Long-Term Plan and you'll find recommendations for patient partnership in there. In numerous strategies, reports and resources, it might not be defined as patient partnership, but whatever it is called, the concept is the same. 


Organisations need to work in partnership to ensure services and care are safe, beneficial, and cost-effective. Patient partnership means services meet patients’ needs, and, therefore, achieve better results for them. It minimises money wasted on ineffective services. A system that works with patients will be responsive to concerns about emerging safety problems. Failure to respond to such concerns is consistently a factor in NHS safety scandals, and a major contributor to the NHS’s clinical negligence bill.

Our patient partnership principles are:

  1. Treating patients as equals
  2. Patients who are fully informed
  3. Shared decision making and patient partnership
  4. Recognising inequalities
  5. Seeking patient input
  6. Joining services around patients.

We have created a new work package that includes several measures developed for each of these principles that Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) or organisations can put in place to embed patient partnership. The package also includes how the principles can be achieved, and their success measured. This can include running focus groups, recruiting patients for your Boards, and facilitating co-production with patients and carers. 


In the NHS Confederation’s report, The state of integrated care systems 2022/23: Riding the storm, there was a recommendation around the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England committing to embedding a co-production approach, and that co-production of policy and guidance impacting ICSs should become the norm. The Patients Association can support ICSs to meet their purposes in:

  • Improving population health and healthcare outcomes. 
  • Enhancing productivity and value for money. 
  • Tackling inequalities in outcomes, experience, and access. 
  • Helping the NHS to support broader social and economic development. 

I will be at the HSJ Patient Safety Congress talking about these principles on 18th and 19th September. Please do get in touch if you want to learn more.

Sarah Tilsed, Head of Patient Partnership

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