Skills for care’s Co-production-in-mental-health

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Case Study

Foreword Barely a week goes by without a discussion about changing health and care ‘systems’. A lot of the right language is used - ‘building services around the person’ and ‘promoting independence’ – but some of it isn’t so appealing – such as ‘self-actualisation’ or ‘patient activation’. However many services overlook a key agent of change in these transformations – the skills, knowledge and experience that people who need care and support can bring. When I promote this approach, I often detect some fear and reluctance. These feelings come from many places - people fear it might raise expectations of things the service can’t afford, that ‘lay’ people don’t have a ‘professional’ understanding of what needs to be, or can be, done, and that it’s a complex and difficult task including people with lived experience in planning and delivering services. But across the sector, there’s lots of talk and expectation around co-production. For example, the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health says: Co-production with clinicians and experts-by-experience should also be at the heart of commissioning and service design, and involve working in partnership with voluntary and community sector organisations. When we commissioned this guide with the National Development Team for Inclusion, we wanted to provide a stepping stone to co-production for those who feel challenged by it, want to do more of it or are wondering where to start. The good news is that there’s no complex process to go through, no ‘one size fits all’ approach and no single solution. A good heart, a commitment to services that work better for people, and a firm intention to work with and value people with lived experience are all that’s required. This guide provides you with some essential information, a bit of encouragement, and a lot of wisdom from people who’ve been successful in developing coproduction. I’d like to thank the organisations that have generously contributed their time and expertise to this guide, including:
  • Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust and Dorset CCG
  • Gloucestershire Young Carers
  • London Borough of Newham’s Co-production Team and ASK Mental Health Group
  • Sandwell Mental Health People’s Parliament, with Sandwell Borough Council and Changing Our Lives
  • Sheffield Flourish
  • 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, with Mental Health Experience-Led Opportunities (MHELO) and Gloucestershire County Council Adult Education Service
I’d also like to thank the National Development Team for Inclusion, especially Kate Linsky and Edana Minghella, for undertaking the ground work with those organisations and writing this guide so clearly. Karen Morse, Skills for Care Skills for care's Co-production-in-mental-health

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