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Co-producing with unpaid carers in health settings



A co-production toolkit for professionals working in and with the health sector.

Download the entire toolkit as a pdf

This toolkit is available in Welsh and English (switch via the language button above). The follow-up / further reading suggestions link to content that is external to the toolkit. Where this is available bilingually, the link will take you to the appropriate language. Where the external content is only available in one language, this is noted.

In co-production, professionals come together with service users and unpaid carers to combine their professional and lived experience, and design solutions that improve services and communities. People’s involvement in co-production offers very tangible benefits, both for the service users and carers, and for the professional teams who support them.

In Wales, the Social Services and Well-being Act, the Well-being of Future Generations Act, and the Health and Social Care (Quality and Engagement) Act, along with the programme for government and the government plan for health and social care, all set a duty on public bodies and boards to involve citizens’ voices in the design and delivery of services. 

While there is an increasing focus on co-production through legislation and statutory duties, we know that it still feels like a vague and risky undertaking for many, and at the time of writing it is widely underutilised - especially in the health sector which is the focus of the Carer Aware programme. 

As a result, services are still trying to meet increasing demand with shrinking budgets, which leads to staffing challenges, delays in support provision, and the narrowing of eligibility criteria to focus on the most severe and urgent needs. Taking a co-production approach would help them to make better use of shared resources, reduce duplication and waste, and leverage the assets and resources of patients, service users and carers - leading to person-centred services, improved outcomes and reduced demand on services through prevention.

We have compiled this toolkit to support healthcare professionals on their co-production journey, along with their colleagues in other statutory organisations, partners in the third sector, and service users and carers who are travelling the co-production path with them.

Our intention is to demystify the concept, offer examples of practice that will inspire and show what’s possible, and offer a set of tools and thinking steps to draw on along the way.