Patient and public involvement

What is patient and public involvement?

“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.” - An advisory forum member on PPI at the Trust

We work alongside our experts by experience and value their expertise. We bring together Trust staff and patients, family members, carers and the public to develop and improve our services.


What we do

The Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) team works to ensure that the Trust keeps the experience of patients at the forefront in every aspect of its work. We do this by creating spaces where patients can be listened to and enable them to engage in a number of interesting and rewarding opportunities. By becoming involved is your 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) group is made up of adolescent service users aged 12 to19 years old that are currently accessing or have recently accessed the GIDS service. Service users discuss their experiences 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 with. 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, show young people and their families what to expect at their first GIDS appointment and will be available on the GIDS website.

The group has 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 an ex-service user or carer (on a rotating basis each meeting) with the PPI team manager and includes ex-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. Find out more about the forum.

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. Feedback from both staff and those participating in the panels have been very positive.

Some reflections from panel members

Antonia, a senior CAHMS nurse said this on working with a service user, B:

“B made an excellent contribution to the interviewing process following her interview training. 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.”

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..”

B said:

“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. 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 and 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.”

Download our PPI interview panel leaflet.


How can you get involved?

In addition to our projects, you can provide feedback through the following means:

  • Verbal comments, or written letters and emails (contact details available on the left side of the page)
  • Experience of Survey Questionnaires
  • Small scale surveys
  • Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS) enquiries
  • Attending focus groups
  • Linking with national events

A little more context..

If you are interested in further details about PPI in the Trust you can read our review of strategy 2021-2023. This reviews the work undertaken in patient and public involvement in the Trust directed by our PPI strategy, which was originally intended to cover two years: 2018 to 2020. The strategy itself and this review document were produced by the PPI Team based on our learning and experience. We have consulted with, and included, our patients/service users’ views, and it is produced in collaboration with our service users, team and colleagues within and external to the Trust.

Download our 'Patient and public involvement review of strategy 2021-2023'


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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