How it works
Collaborative Practice invites local people to gift their time to a local GP practice or health service, working alongside people who deliver health services in a new, collaborative relationship. As a result, the practice and how it works changes.
New services, activities, support and possibilities open up, based on what matters to the practice and what is important to local people. People’s needs are met differently, taking pressure off the service, reducing demand for clinical services, and making life better for everyone.
So far we’ve seen local people (known as champions) deliver over 200 types of activities and counting… from flu clinics to film matinees, community choirs to carer support, belly dancing sessions to ukulele groups.
On one level this approach is simple, but it’s also hugely complex because it involves fundamental culture change. It changes the culture of the practice by changing who is part of the practice family, which in turn changes the business model of the practice.
The magic of Collaborative Practice
Something magical happens when you bring local people into a health service and enable true collaboration. The culture of the organisation changes. And we create a fresh new space where change can happen and lives and services can be improved.
This is neither formal space which has to follow organisational rules, nor informal space where different rules apply. It is a new third space, carved out by the willingness and energy of people working together to make everyone’s lives better.
This third space is at the core of our model: collaborative practice. It provides a freedom from the constraints of the systems and organisations we work in, takes advantage of the diversity of skills and life experience people have to offer, and supports everybody to do and think differently.
This attracts pioneers. The people within our health system who are willing to think and do differently in order to make care better. And the people from local communities who want to give their time and knowledge to make people’s lives better.
Collaborative Practice in action
Altogether Better has been supporting and facilitating the spread of collaborative practice since 2008. We have tested our approach in over 130 GP services - from Bradford to Dorset, Tyne and Wear to Tower Hamlets, and beyond the UK in Ontario.
We’ve also introduced Collaborative Practice in various settings across the health and care system, including care homes, mental health settings, accident and emergency departments, secondary care and young people’s services. Read stories about Collaborative Practice in different settings.
We work with commissioners, services, leaders, clinicians and citizens around the country in a range of different ways. Find out more about how we can help you deliver Collaborative Practice locally.