“This is quality improvement, citizen participation, plus an intelligent use of community and family assets all rolled into one!”

This quote from an article by the Robert Wood Johnson programme in the US on their visit to Jonkoping in Sweden says it all.

I was lucky enough to visit Jonkoping myself for the 2013 Microsystems Festival as part of my Fellowship with CLAHRC North West London. I had heard amazing things about their radical approaches to quality improvement, particularly in the renal unit, where one conversation between a nurse and a dialysis patient who simply asked, “why can’t you teach me to do that myself?” has led to the complete transformation of the unit. I was interested to see an organisational culture so open to innovation that the nurse felt able to act on the spark generated by one conversation and instigate radical change as a result.

I was lucky enough to meet both the nurse and the patient involved who helped me develop my thinking around Co-production. It was a transformational visit for me in other ways too. I had not travelled for at least a decade due to my illness and as a “patient” opportunities to learn alongside professionals as an equal were few and far between.

Not everyone is lucky enough to visit Jonkoping though so this article gives a real flavour of a healthcare culture that sees patients and families not as simply needs to be met but assets that can form part of the solution.