Patient and public involvement

What is patient and public involvement?

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) includes patients, family members, carers and the public in various aspects of work to help develop and improve the services we offer in a meaningful and informed manner. It is about empowering patients and the public to have a say. It is about professionals in the NHS listening and responding to the views of patients and the public. This therefore promotes a cultural change with the aim to improve patients' experiences of the NHS.


Why involve patients and the public?

There are many reasons why it’s important to involve and consult patients and the public. There is evidence that involving users in service development, running and evaluation is of positive benefit to the services and to the users.

An advisory forum member said the below on PPI at the Trust:

“Patient and service user involvement apart from providing patients with feelings of safety, by being actively involved in issues that affect us, signifies a direct hit on the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health patients… Many organisations have a patient and public involvement group. However, in the nine years I have been in the NHS for my physical health problem and the five years of my mental health issue it is only the Tavistock that first gave me the feeling of equality and acceptance and later established the feeling through my involvement.”

The NHS Five Year Forward View (2014) outlined a vision for a shift in power to patients and the public:

‘One of the great strengths of this country is that we have an NHS that – at its best – is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people…we need to engage with communities and citizens in new ways, involving them directly in decisions about the future of health and care services.’

The Health and Social Care Act also places a legal duty on National Health Service organisations to involve and consult patients and the public in the planning of service provision, the development of proposals for change, and decisions about how services operate. It is about understanding and valuing the benefits of involving patients and the public in the planning and development of health services, with the aim to provide patient-centred healthcare services that meet the physical and emotional needs of the population.

One of the more significant documents is Section 242 of National Health Service Act 2006: The Statutory Duty to Involve. This section sets out how the NHS is expected to involve and consult communities in the planning and development of services.

What we do

We work with patients and clinicians to ensure patients are satisfied by constantly seeking feedback on our services.

The PPI team works to ensure that the trust keeps in mind the experience of patients in every aspect of its work. It does this by supporting people to become engaged in a number of interesting and rewarding opportunities that are available in the trust. Becoming involved provides an opportunity to let us know what, in your experience, you think has worked well and what you feel we could do differently. This can include joining projects like the following:

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) formed a stakeholders group early in 2014 which has become a much valued resource for PPI. The group is made up of adolescent service users aged 12 to19 years old that are currently accessing or have recently accessed the GIDS service. During the group service users discuss their experiences of the service with staff, and give their opinions about how current services can be improved and how new services might be developed.

The group sessions also provide a safe, non-clinical space for young people with Gender Identity Development needs to communicate, share stories, and empower themselves with the support of other people they may not otherwise get the chance to meet, let alone socialise. In collaboration with GIDS staff, and the Communications and PPI teams, service users have co-produced new audio-visual resources for young people and parents on the GIDS waiting list. These new videos, which show young people and their families what to expect at their first GIDS appointment will be available on the GIDS website.

They have also been involved in projects that discussed media and online sharing of personal information safety issues and preliminary projects with Century Films. They have also been involved in writing blogs and sharing life stories on the GIDS website, the recruitment of new staff and enhancing service developments for this national and specialist service.

The forum aims to give people who have used our services a space to raise issues and bring suggestions to the Trust on how we can improve, and support patient involvement and feedback more meaningfully into our services. Topics discussed include the impact of covid on our services, face-to-face versus online therapy, relocation, and Quality Improvement and involvement.

The meeting is co-chaired by a service user or carer (on a rotating basis each meeting) with the PPI team manager and includes service user representation from clinical services across the Trust. Directors from our directorates (Children, Young Adult and Families, Adult and Forensic Services, and the Gender Identity Development Service) attend on a rotating basis, and a non-executive director and governor are also invited to attend. We welcome topics for discussion at the forum from service users, you can find the details for contacting the team on the left if you would like to get involved.

The Trust is committed to involving our service users, their families and carers in having a say in who we employ. In order to achieve this, the PPI team and experienced service user representatives provide training which has been co-produced with one of our service users. You in turn provide us with valuable insights from a non-trust professional about how a candidate might ‘feel’ to a patient, rather than just the candidate’s ability to meet the criteria of the post. The training has been well received, and feedback shows that it has empowered service users to develop transferable skills for external interviews and prepare for work opportunities. So far the experience of including service user representatives has been interesting and exciting, and feedback from both staff and those participating in the panels have been very positive.

Some reflections from panel members

“At the end of last year, North Camden CAMHS had their first service user join an interview panel. B, a young person who has been a regular user of our service joined myself and two colleagues in a half day interview process, interviewing 5 candidates for a clinical role.

“Prior to this B took part in some initial interview training provided by Anthony from patient involvement that enabled her to make an excellent contribution to the interviewing process. On top of developing new skills, it is important to add that B was paid for her time and contributions. We want young people to feel their contributions are valued and meaningful rather than tokenistic. We acknowledged that for B this was time out of her school day and we were in need of her services, therefore monetary payment was appropriate.

“As a clinician I found the experience of a young person on the panel enriching and important. It made me focus my thinking and rationale for views about candidates when as a group of professionals this can often not be challenged. It added an extra dynamic of clinical assessment; how interviewees interacted and managed the questions from B. This is of course one the most important qualities we are looking for when employing a CAMHS professional, but often very hard to evaluate in a formal interview process.”

Author: Antonia, Senior CAMHS Nurse

“I felt able to contribute on an equal level to others on the panel.”

“It was valuable to see what goes into the service you use.”

“It was my first experience of any sort of interviewing: as a candidate or on a panel. It felt a useful experience to be on the other side.”

“It was good to be paid.”

“I hope all teams will embrace the opportunity to have service users on their panels in the future. It is an important way of including the people that use our services in how our services are formed.”

Author: B, PPI panel member

Download our PPI interview panel leaflet.

An exhibition to bring together pictures from the TAP (Team around the Practice, Camden) is currently running at Swiss Cottage Library. There was a successful launch in 2020 with good representation from patients, public and senior trust members. The exhibition was co-curated by the PPI team, a patient representative and Camden council’s art lead. The exhibition is a development of therapeutic work done in the TAP team. Group members are lent cameras for the duration of the group and each week a theme is chosen as a guide. Members then take photos in their own time and bring them to the group to share and discuss.

The exhibition celebrates how photography makes it possible to creatively express and depict experiences to one another, enabling individuals to come together in the interest of promoting personal wellbeing. The exhibition shares a selection of photographs from the groups together with reflections of members about their pictures and the process of taking them.

We are glad that the exhibition is taking place at Swiss Cottage Library, an important public space in Camden, bringing members of the community together and making their stories visible.


How else can you get involved in our work?

If it is not possible to engage in a project, you can also provide feedback through the following means:

Patient and public involvement strategy review August 2019

This strategy builds on the work of the previous PPI strategy (2003) and subsequent reviews. It has been produced by the PPI team based on their learning and experience.

Read or download our 'Patient and public involvement strategy review August 2019'


Contact PPI

If you’d like to get involved or would like to find out more, please email the team at:

You can also write to us at:

PPI Office,

Tavistock Centre,

120 Belsize Lane,



Our acronyms explained

Acronyms explained

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