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The King’s Fund calls for NHS commitment to a new partnership with patients

The King’s Fund is calling for all NHS organisations to commit to working more closely with patients to meet the requirements of a new relationship with patients and communities outlined in the NHS five year forward view.

The development of patient and community-based leaders is historically under-resourced and undervalued in comparison to the investment in leadership for clinicians and managers. As a signal of the Fund’s commitment to working in partnership with patients, Mark Doughty, co-founder and director of the Centre for Patient Leadership, has been appointed to a new role as a senior consultant with a particular focus on patient leadership.

Also launching is The King’s Fund’s paper: Patients as partners: building collaborative relationships among professionals, patients, carers and communities. The paper looks at what can be achieved by NHS professionals working with patients and looks in detail at case studies drawn from the Fund’s ground-breaking national collaborative pairs programme, which supported patients and health professionals to work together on a wide range of local initiatives. Some of the pairs illustrated in the paper include:

  • a patient working with a consultant cardiologist to re-design local cardiac services
  • a local Healthwatch representative working with the clinical director of a CCG to develop new models of care in one of the vanguards
  • a chair of a local disability group working with a clinical manager to improve neuro-rehab services.

The paper is a helpful guide for people who are interested in working with patients and sets out five practical ways to develop collaborative relationships among NHS, patient and community partners.

Mark Doughty, Senior Consultant at The King’s Fund, said:

‘I'm looking forward to taking up my new post and promoting the vital roles that these collaborative relationships will play throughout the health and social care system. We need to shift away from a “them and us” model to a more collaborative one and make sure these relationships are embedded into our organisational structures. The previous collaborative pairs work that I helped lead was instructive and inspiring for us – this is an idea whose time has come and I look forward to help making it a reality.’

Marcus Powell, Director, Leadership and Organisational Development, The King’s Fund said:

‘We are delighted to appoint Mark into this new role. He brings with him first-hand experience of collaborative partnerships and relationships from his work at the Centre for Patient Leadership. This work has been and continues to be a journey for us but Mark's appointment is a strong signal of our commitment to embedding a patient perspective in our work. We are aware that there are many people and organisations out there doing some really good work in this area – Mark will bring an in-depth knowledge of this work to the Fund. Now is the time for NHS organisations to unite in their commitment to a new partnership with patients and communities.’

Notes to editors: 

  1. For further information contact Hetty Crist, Interim Head of Press and Public Affairs on tel: 020 7307 2594 
  2. The King’s Fund launched their national development programme Leading Collaboratively with patients and communities (the collaborative pairs programme) in September 2015 with £20,000 contributed by NHS England.
  3. We are now recruiting for a second cohort of the collaborative pairs programme starting in September 2016. Pairs will join a five-day programme to develop their collaborative relationship and will also have an opportunity to join a national network of collaborative pairs.
  4. NHS England, Care Quality Commission, Health Education England, Monitor, NHS Trust Development Authority, Public Health England (2014). NHS five year forward view [online]. London: NHS England. Available at: (accessed on 31 May 2015).
  5. Department of Health (2015). The NHS Constitution for England. Available at: (accessed on 30 June 2016).
  6. Mark Doughty full biography: Mark co-founded the Centre for Patient Leadership (CPL) in 2012 where he was responsible for designing their model of patient leadership. This was shortlisted for the Guardian Healthcare Innovation Awards in 2013. He was also a finalist in 2012 for the International Ashoka Changemakers Innovation for Health Award. Since 2012 Mark has facilitated leadership development programmes for more than 800 patient leaders. He has also coached and supported lay assessors for the CQC, the People Champions on the board of the NHS Leadership Academy as well as CCG and Healthwatch chair and board members. He co-authored a series of articles written for the HSJ on patient leadership and his work is quoted and referenced in The King's Fund's report on Patient-centred leadership. Mark has worked as an L&D manager in primary care, supporting staff to develop their leadership potential. He is also a member of faculty at the NHS Leadership Academy, and he runs a business supporting people with disabilities and health conditions to become leaders in their organisations. He has been a member of the BMJ Learning Advisory Committee and an associate with The Employers Forum on Disability and a trustee with Arthritis Care. In 2015 he was chosen as one of the HSJ Top 50 Patient Leaders where he received a ‘star’ award. The judges stated that he ‘is seen by many as originating the idea of patient leaders.’
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