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New project creates opportunities for the public and healthcare professionals to work together

The Oxford Academic Health Science Network and some of its partner organisations are looking for members of the public, patients and carers (lay people) to take part in a unique project where they will work with healthcare professionals to make a difference to local services.

The ‘Leading Together’ programme trains patients and healthcare professionals together. Participants will be coached by leadership experts and will attend workshops to develop their leadership and communication skills. Armed with these skills and knowledge, they will put their learning into action through real projects.

As well as developing leadership skills, they will also gain knowledge and understanding of the benefits of working collaboratively, build networks and share their expertise and experiences to support learning within the group.

Leading Together is a series of free workshops delivered in groups of around 20 at different times and venues. Each lasts three days spread over three months. The first of which is in High Wycombe in February 2016. Further courses in other parts of the Oxford AHSN region will follow.

Dr Sian Rees, Director for Patient and Public Involvement, Engagement and Experience at the Oxford AHSN, said: “We are delighted to be running this innovate programme with our partners. Involving the public, patients and carers is fundamental to achieving healthcare and research that is truly patient-centred.

“The Leading Together programme is part of a shift in culture, bringing together professionals, patients, researchers, carers and the public to learn new approaches to collaborative working, to really get what it means to co-create services that support empathetic and compassionate care. It will create space to explore what it means to see the world through other people’s eyes.”

Nigel Acheson, South Regional Medical Director for NHS England, said: “The Leading Together programme is the latest step in our commitment to ensuring shared decision-making between patients and healthcare professionals and that there’s ‘no decision about me, without me’.

“I encourage people to come forward and apply to be part of Leading Together. Patients and the public can offer valuable insight into what is important to them, and it’s key that we capture this and use it to develop a patient-centred approach to medical revalidation. This programme will help us to develop a new way of working in the local NHS where there is true joint leadership between staff and the public.”

The organisations which are behind Leading Together are the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, NHS England South and the NHS Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Academy.