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Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Co Production

In its simplest terms, to me co-production means working in partnership with people and taking a shared responsibility on something. For example, we are all responsible for our own health and so working in partnership with your GP, your pharmacist or whoever can help you manage your own health and assist you in taking responsibility is co-production at its finest.

However, co-production does not just mean working together. For co-production to be effective and to truly understand what it means, everyone must be at an equal standing; professionals, patients and the public. It means acknowledging and accepting that everyone brings a particular strength and knowledge that others may not have, working so that not one person is considered more important than another or that one person is seen as knowing less in a way that their opinion and knowledge may be slightly disregarded.

Youth Board is a perfect example of co-production as it is a group of young people sat together with staff and also patients, where no one feels as though their opinion isn’t heard and we all have an equal part to play. We all come together to share our knowledge, experience and opinions and respect that these may differ between us, but this also creates an effective group dynamic, with everyone putting in an equal amount of effort and work (from both the young people and the staff members).

Youth Board also brings creativity and the ability to think outside the box that often can get lost within corporate organisations where there is a lot of pressure to get things done quickly. Youth Board seek to harness these creative skills from our Youth Board members such as using photography to maintain positive wellbeing. Below is an example of Sophie Smith’s work depicting Youth Board working to co-produce an App for Camhs. Great talent!

Checklist for co-production (and younger people):

  • An acknowledgement that it is a partnership, that we must all take responsibility and we each have an expertise (for example, we are the experts in ourselves but may need help in knowing how to manage our health)
  • It is a shared responsibility
  • Not one person is more important, or at a higher level than another
  • Not looking down at someone, or assuming that they don’t know something purely because they are young
  • Using simple language or terminology that everyone can understand so that they can work together (no jargon)
  • Making sure your body language is welcoming, that you don’t appear indifferent to the younger person (give them the same level of respect you would give another adult or another professional)
  • Respecting other people opinions (e.g. just because someone is young, does not make their opinion any less valid or important)
  • Being able to disagree or object to something said without feeling afraid (having the confidence to do so and knowing that what your going to say will be heard)