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Practitioner-patient pairs to conspire for the future of health care

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A new initiative designed to recruit 4 pairs of professionals and patients is expected to pave the way for a better health care system in Australia.

“The Collaborative Pairs” program made possible through the joint effort of Consumers Health Forum and the program’s developer King’s Fund of London will run the trial period for two years in Australia.

The program aiming for a collaborative relationship between doctors and patients will provide participants with leadership training and support for their local health service improvement innovations and projects throughout the program.

Consumers Health Forum CEO Leanne Wells highlighted, “The program’s point of difference is that it involves clinician-consumer pairs both as teachers of the program as well as participants who learn and implement a reform together as peers.

“This approach takes advantage of the fact that consumers are well placed to identify shortcomings in health services which clinicians and service managers can seek to address.

Ms Wells added that this approach gives great recognition to the role healthcare consumers –their advice and insights—have in changing the system for the better, as well as, a great opportunity for clinicians and patients to learn together to build productive relationships to improve and innovate in health and to make the best of their different roles and perspectives as a constructive force for change.

“We now have national standards that require health services to demonstrate how they involve patients as partners in care. Each side has much to offer the other: the clinician giving the expertise in delivering care and the consumer the experience of care itself.

“Good communication between patients and clinicians results in better outcomes, whether it be better treatment outcomes or better designed and functioning health services.

“Collaborative Pairs will help consumer leaders to form confident, constructive relationships with health care professionals and clinical leaders will learn new ways of working with consumers to tackle some of the system challenges we face.

“In Australia there are several developments in the health system where Collaborative Pairs training can make a contribution. These include the Primary Health Networks which commission local/regional services and enable a stronger role for consumer representatives; the scope for innovation in digitally-enabled healthcare delivery, and prospects of better coordinated care enabled by the Health Care Homes now being trialled,” Ms Wells said.

Senior consultants, Mark Doughty and Tricia Boyle will facilitate the program to these first-ever collaborative Australian pairs to deliver the program in Australia. Following are details of the practitioner-consumer pairs.

Debra Kay and Dr Walid (Wally) Jammal

Debra has worked for many years in community health partnerships. Her qualifications range from leading a consumer organisations, developing accredited consumer engagement training to holding a number of roles in governance and advocacy.

Dr Jammal is a GP and an associate Clinical Lecturer at the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University. He was awarded NSW RACGP GP of the year in 2017.

Louisa Walsh and Dr Chi Li

Louisa is a physiotherapist, lecturer, and a researcher. She developed a cystic fibrosis and had a double lung transplant in 2010. She is now the president of the Heart and Lung Transplant Trust of Victoria.

Dr Li is a palliative care physician who has great involvement with undergraduate and postgraduate education, supervision, and monitoring. He also likes to work with service development, consumer engagement and advocacy in a number of organisations.

Jane Cockburn and Karen Patterson

Jane Cockburn, the consumer lead of this collaborative pair is a passionate consumer advocate with over 30 years of experience in healthcare industry in both the public and private sectors. She founded Kairos Pty Ltd in 2012.

Karen Patterson is a clinician, educator, manager, director and executive in rural, metro, public and private settings. She led models of care, workforce, workplace, policy and academic research activities. She exhibits excellent leadership skills.

Russell McGowan and Dr Paresh Dawda

Russell McGowan, a long-term bone marrow transplant survivor is a consumer advocate and representative in the public and NGO sectors.

Dr Dawda, a GP who came to Australia from the UK, has great passion for patient centred care. He aspires to drive the facilitation of the redesign and reorientation of health care services that focuses on consumers’ needs.

Photo by on Unsplash

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