Patient and Public Involvement – Plan on a Page

June 11, 2015

Working with a number of our clients over the last year, we have developed a tool to support early planning for patient and public engagement in service change and improvement. Too often people tell us they don’t know where to start, and too often organisations rely on one or two people to sit on their groups to be the ‘patient representative’ or ‘public voice’.

At PPI Solutions we believe involvement and engagement should start at the very beginning and continue throughout any change process but we also believe you have to tailor the engagement approach to fit the needs of the questions you are trying to answer and the people you need to talk to.

The plan on a page is based on our successful training where we explore the commissioning cycle using the analogy of the weekly shopping.

PLAN: By thinking about the foods you like and don’t like then looking in the cupboard, to see what you have run out of. You also need to check how much money you have. Commissioners do this by looking at the health needs of local people, by looking at what we already know about how many people there are, how old they are and the services people use and by looking at the allocated budgets from the Department of Health.

DESIGN: Once you have looked in the cupboards to see what you have run out of, you can then get to the detail about exactly what you want to buy, to help you remember to buy the right things you write a list. Commissioners do this too. Once they have identified what services people need (or which services need to be improved) they work out what the service should look like and how it should be provided (the design of it). Like your shopping list, it gets written this down and called a specification.

BUY: By looking at how much money you have and what is on your list you are able to decide which shops will be best to go to get what you want. For example can you get it all in the supermarket or do you need to go to the market or a specialist shop? Once you have paid for your shopping you get a receipt.  Once commissioners have planned and designed the services for their local population they look at a number of providers and decide which one is best, based on the quality of what they offer and how much it costs. They make a contract with the best one.

CHECK: Once you have brought your shopping home, you use your groceries, in doing so you decide what is good and what is not and use this to help plan for what to buy next week. Commissioners do this too, by monitoring how good the services are that have been commissioned, they do this by getting patient feedback and making sure the services provider delivers services in the way we agreed they would.

If the process of doing the weekly shop is a way to explain ‘commissioning’, we describe a ‘commissioner’ as someone doing the weekly shop for a friend or neighbour, entrusted with their money to buy what they need, with ‘patient and public engagement’ as the way the commissioner finds out what is, ‘in the cupboard’, what should ‘be on the list’, ‘which shops to go to’ and after the shopping has been done find out ‘what was good’ and should be bought again next time. We wouldn’t do our neighbour’s shopping without talking to them, and commissioners shouldn’t choose and buy your health services without taking to you either.

The Plan on a Page is aimed at getting things off to a good start. By going through a number of key questions and identifying the scale of the change and the communities effected, you can consider a range of methods and techniques to suit your needs and the needs of the people you want to talk to. Use the plan on a page to review a number of key questions and options in each column, circling those that apply to you as you go.  Click the image to view in full size.


If you would like to know more about our Plan on a Page or would like to discuss your further support needs please get in touch.

For more information about methods and techniques and a checklist for supporting people to get involved click here.

More information is also available at the Scottish Government Community Engagement pages, and Participation Compass.


Comments are closed.


PPI Solutions provides a wide range of services to help you engage with your communities. Whatever your goals we can create a package, give you support or run training to help you meet them.