Involving patients and the public in research: Reflecting back and looking ahead

By Claire Ballinger and Mark Stafford-Watson – Chairs, Wessex Inclusion in Service Design and Delivery (WISeRD) group

It’s the end of our first year in CLAHRC Wessex, we have been thinking about our progress in involving patients and the public in our work (or PPI as it’s called), and reviewing where our focus should be for the coming year.  We have settled on five strategic aims:

  • Develop our capacity for patient and public involvement (PPI) in research and implementation programmes
  • Promote our CLAHRC Wessex activities to the wider public (public engagement)
  • Evolve and measure ways to include patients and the public to identify research priorities
  • Develop a group of patient and public researchers
  • Measure the impact of patient and public involvement within CLAHRC Wessex

design 1 smallerNIHR CLAHRC Wessex is a five year programme of research into key areas of health and care, funded by the Department of Health through the National Institute of Health Research. Its aim is to bring the best and latest research into practice in the NHS in the Wessex region, in the south of England.

The six key areas of research are or themes are broadly:

1 Respiratory care 2 Ageing and Dementia 3 Fundamental care in Hospital 4 Public and Primary Health 5 Managing long term conditions 6 End of life and complex care

We are pleased with our progress in a number of areas in our first year: over 35 people are now registered on our PPI database to provide advice and support to our themes; we have started using social media (including Twitter and this blog); patients and the public have contributed to research prioritising within at least a couple of our themes; we have supported patients and the public to carry out research into commissioning for long term conditions (part of our theme 5 work).

Plans to explore the impact of patient and public involvement in CLAHRC Wessex are being finalised, and this will form a major part of our work over the next six months.  We are looking forward to hearing the views of both patient and public ‘theme champions’ from WISeRD and theme research staff about how involvement is making a difference. We will also be seeking out the views of seldom heard groups about priorities for research in fundamental care in hospital.

Thanks to all who have supported us. If you are a patient or member of the public, and would like to contribute to our CLAHRC Wessex work, please do contact us at

Mark Stafford-Watson and Claire Ballinger co-chair WISeRD
Mark Stafford-Watson and Claire Ballinger co-chair WISeRD

Wessex Inclusion in Service Design and Delivery (WISeRD) is a group of patients, members of the public and carers who work with researchers and clinicians to decide on the best way to involve people in our research


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