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Patient and carer involvement in healthcare education, service delivery and research: avoiding tokenism
  1. Joanna Smith1,
  2. Annie Dransfield2
  1. 1 School of Healthcare, Lecturer in Children’s Nursing, Leeds, UK
  2. 2 Retired – Further Education Lecturer, Carer, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joanna Smith, School of Healthcare, Lecturer in Children’s Nursing, Leeds LS2 9UT, UK; j.e.smith1{at}

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We are delighted to have been invited to write this editorial on patient and carer involvement in health education, service delivery and research. Within developed countries, the involvement of patients and carers has become central to healthcare delivery. Health services, research and education policy directives, particularly with the UK, are explicit that patient and carer input is an integral part of healthcare. Input ranges from service design and delivery, across the research processes to the development, delivery and evaluation of programmes of study offered to healthcare students. The overarching aim is to ensure healthcare delivery, research and the preparation of health professionals is more responsive to the needs of the patient and their carers.1 Valuing and listening to patients and carers is central to the quality agenda, including ensuring care is patient and family centred, and there is appropriate use of resources that meets patient needs figure 1.

Figure 1

Dimension of quality care.7

The potential benefit of patient and carer involvement in healthcare education, service delivery and research include an opportunity to influence the healthcare agenda from service developments to identifying research priorities, becoming empowering to influence change and having greater ownership of services.2 In relation to healthcare delivery, a move away from a paternalistic to more inclusive approach is essential as patients, and carers as appropriate, increasingly take responsibility for, and share in …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.