What is Co-production?

Date Reviewed:


This report establishes the origins of co-production in health, economic and social arenas. How the concept is used in relation to people with long-term health conditions, how it can be defined, and how clinicians can capture the quality of co-production in consultations are also discussed.

It presents a descriptive model of the skills of clinicians and patients, and the context and outcomes of co-productive consultations.

Its key messages are:

  • Co-production has historical roots in civil rights and social care in the USA. In the UK, co-production in healthcare and social services has gone beyond models of service user consultation towards developing a model of service delivery intended to impact on service users and on wider social systems.
  • Collaborative co-production requires users to be experts in their own circumstances and capable of   making decisions, while professionals must move from being fixers to facilitators. To be truly transformative, co-production requires a relocation of power towards service users. This necessitates  new relationships with front-line professionals who need training to be empowered to    take on these new roles.
  • Patient centredness describes the relationship between clinicians and patients as a meeting of two  experts, each with their respective knowledge and skills.
  • There has been far more emphasis on research and practice on elaborating the clinicians’ skills in the co-productive consultation than there has been on the skills of the patient. 

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