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Strategic decision-making and co-production

Strategic decision-making and the potential of co-production in regional health and care before, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic

Why the research is needed? 

When people who use health and care services, their family and care providers work together they can improve the quality of care. This process is known as co-production. It means health and care providers work with health care users so that services meet the needs of people and communities. Covid-19 has produced big challenges for health and care providers. They have had to make decisions quickly to try to lessen the crisis. This means there have been fewer chances for patients, carers and health care professionals work together as equal partners to find solutions. Because sharing decision making is linked with better outcomes for people who use services and their carers, not involving them is a problem. This research will look for ways to keep the advantages of co-production during times of crisis.

What is already known about the subject? 

A lot is known about how co-production helps to develop more equal partnerships between people who use health are care services, their carers and professionals. The NHS has recognised the value of co-production, as it is a way people with ‘lived experience’ of a condition or illness can advise on what support will make a positive difference to their lives. However, we know very little about how co-production is affected during periods of crisis (like the pandemic) and how the crisis will affect co-production in a post-covid world.

Who we are working with? 

We will be working with a range of people who help to support health and care services across the East Midlands. This will include local hospitals, charities, companies, community groups and universities.

How are patients and the public involved? 

The views of patients and the public are very important to this study and they will help to make sure that we carry out the right research to get useful results. We will be working with patients and the public to help us find out how they would like to share power and decisions with health and care professionals. The study team includes an experienced team of patient and public representatives. This is an independent group of people who will help us make sure the views of patients and members of the public are heard. They will be able to give advice and make sure that our research is asking the most important questions from the point of view of patients and the public.

What we will do? 

Firstly, we will be speaking to local health and care decision-maker about the things that affected the way they worked due to the crisis. Secondly, we will review how different health and care providers used co-production before and during the crisis. Thirdly, we will examine other research to understand the role of co-production in decision-making during periods of relative stability and crisis. Finally, we work with three East Midlands based services, such as cancer care or Mental health services. This will let us see the use of co-production in decision-making at three time points: before, during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

What the benefits will be? 

Co-production means that service users have a stronger voice and greater control over the services they receive. Co-production is the right thing to do for people who use health and care services and their families.

When the findings will be available? 

The finding will be available in January 2023.

How we are planning for implementation? 

We will develop up-to-date information for health and care professionals and patients and the public about shared decision making in times of crisis. Findings from the research will be used to make recommendations and produce guidelines about the best way to use co-production to solve problems. The ARC EM Implementation Hub will help us to share our findings with other ARC teams and partners help them to get the benefits of co-production when they carry out their studies.


Robert Vickers,