04 July 2022
By Patrick Wood, Chair of the SCIE Co-production Network. Active in the mental health survivor movement since 1989
In April and May 2022, SCIE facilitated four online sessions with people with lived experience and people who work in services to consider the impact of co-production. We wanted to learn about the difference that co-production makes to people’s lives.
This blog briefly outlines what people said about the overall impact of co-production, and forms part of a longer briefing which will be launched during National Co-production Week 2022.
“Co-production doesn’t feel tokenistic anymore which is a huge change. We aren’t just stoking the engine; we are driving the train.”
Although it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the difference that co-production makes to services, participants mentioned a range of ways in which it has impacted on the health and social care landscape.
Co-production has helped to change the mindsets of people involved in health and social care. Some barriers have broken down and people with lived experience are being recognised as experts. It has helped to develop a richness in knowledge, through sharing good practice and communicating with a wide range of people. Co-production keeps things relevant in a rapidly changing world and increases credibility.
The relationship building element of co-production has helped members of the community feel valued and ensured that professionals attend key meetings. It has also played a significant role in promoting the idea that regulatory bodies and guidance should involve service users from the start.
One participant mentioned that guidelines about bedwetting she was involved in developing are still being talked about and used many years later, which has made a huge difference for children, parents and families throughout the country.
Participants also mentioned that co-production has provided opportunities for service users to work with professionals in interviewing students for university courses, and equipped people with lived experience with the skills and knowledge to find employment.
Although effective co-production can require considerable resources at the beginning, it becomes cost effective in the long run, once it is fully set up. Co-production can provide solutions to problems that you didn’t even know were there in the first place.
If the impact of co-production is to have meaning and power, it’s important not to give up, so we must remain persistent.
“The more we do good co-production, the more others will follow. It encourages further co-production.”