We were warned at the beginning of the Darzi programme that the middle bit is stressful. It is. So instead of stressing about all the things that aren’t going right right now I’m going to talk about our fabulous coproduction workshop instead.
You can’t really kick around mental health for very long without hearing something about coproduction, When I did my training at Surrey I was the first intake where one of the selection tasks was coproduced by the Service Users* and Carers** group, they were actively involved in teaching and I was encouraged to have a service user supervisor for my major research – which was brilliant because she was a gifted researcher in her own right. Having had that start much of what I saw labelled as coproduction once I qualified seemed a little lacklustre – often tokenistic, ‘tickboxy’ and limited in scope but there were also pockets of good people doing good things in good services.
I’d assumed that mental health, as in many other areas, had been left behind by the better resourced physical health services, so I was really surprised to find that for most of my Darzi fellows coproduction was a new idea. The idea that services are best designed in partnership with the people that are going to be using them was a new and, in some cases, quite challenging idea. In particular worries about managing clinical risk evoked a lot of professional anxiety. It is to the complete credit of the patient leaders and other expert witnesses who attended the workshop that they treated these concerns with respect and engaged in constructive dialogue.
If you too are new to the idea of coproduction then you’ll have noticed no doubt that I’ve skirted around defining coproduction. This is because this blog post is in fact a shameless attempt to get the internet to help me write my homework. We have an essay on coproduction to do and although I’ll probably get into trouble if I try to coproduce the whole thing (I think that’s called plagiarism in academic circles 🙂 ) I thought it might be interesting to try to coproduce this bit:
“Develop a theoretical model for coproduction…”
I’m allowed to draw on (or even just use) other people’s models such as this one from one of the Daves (you don’t have to be a Dave to be an expert witness for coproduction, but it helps!) The Challenge of Co-Production but it’s going to be way more interesting to see what comes out of a dialogue.
So I would be eternally grateful and may even buy you a beer / irn-bru / beverage of your choice should I run into you if you could help me out by adding your ideas about what coproduction is and isn’t by commenting on this blog post. It doesn’t have to long or in fancy language, but it will help me if you can let me know what perspective you’re coming from (person who accesses a service, person who provides a service, academic etc etc – it’s your label it’s up to you) and if you want to be credited as an author of the final model (as I don’t think Harvard Referencing is at the stage where I can credit @skubakampa yet) then let me know your initials and surname.
If it doesn’t all go horribly wrong I’ll post the ‘Twitterati Manifesto for Coproduction’ (other names are available) back here.
* Yes I know – labels are a pig. This was the name of the group when I was there, so apologies if service users is not your preferred term – it probably isn’t mine either.
** I also know that it isn’t unproblematic to group in ‘and carers’ with service users. I’m sort of stuck with it because a lot of the people I work with can’t talk so involving them in anything coproduction related will usually mean working with the people that know them well, but it’s still a tricky one.