Consumers and clinicians working together


The Collaborative Pairs program brings health service providers together with consumers to develop and strengthen their capacity to work together to transform the health system. A national trial of the program has just been completed in the Australian context.


“Achieving a more collaborative dynamic will require a change in the way that all of us work. The ability to adapt, communicate and shift between roles will be important for all leaders in developing the collaborative relationship that puts safety and quality at the heart of health care in our communities”

- Alison Trimble, The King's Fund

About Collaborative Pairs

Collaborative Pairs is a Leadership Development program that brings together a consumer, patient, or community leader to work together in pairs with a service provider, clinician, or manager to develop new ways of working together.

Developed in England, by the King’s Fund, the program’s objectives are to build skills in developing collaborative partnerships and to break down the cultural barriers that often exist between those providing the services and those receiving them. It is designed to re-shape consumer leadership and to position the valuable contributions and expertise of both consumers and health professionals to drive system reform.

The program is undertaken in pairs (a consumer and a health service provider/clinician). Each pair identifies a joint healthcare challenge or project that they are passionate about and will work on for the duration of the program. 

Collaborative Pairs aims to help clinicians and service providers value the lived experience of consumers and their understanding of how and what services need to provide as well as consumers valuing the clinical expertise of clinicians and service providers as they build their skills in collaboration and co-design.

Exciting Opportunity for Health Care Organisations to participate in the National Pilot: Virtual Program Delivery

Expressions of Interest for this program have now closed.

CHF is now inviting organisations in the health industry to express interest in sponsoring one or more pairs to participate in the pilot of the virtual delivery of the Collaborative Pairs program.

If you are a health or health care-related organisation that is seeking to:

  • Develop and /or maintain a culture of shared leadership and decision-making
  • Develop and support consumer and clinical leaders who can work together to develop new and innovative ways of working
  • Become a high performing consumer-centred organisation
  • Enable, empower and involve consumers in all aspects of your organisation

Then this may be the opportunity for you.

The Collaborative Pairs Program

The program is undertaken in pairs (a consumer and a health professional/service provider) over a period of five months. The content of the redesigned VIRTUAL program will be delivered by Zoom sessions at regular intervals and supplemented by coaching sessions. Pairs are also required to work on an agreed project for the duration of the program to help them apply their learning and reflect on their collaborative relationship.

The program will be facilitated by a Collaborative Pair (a consumer and clinical lead) who have been trained in the UK by the King’s Fund.

Who is it for?

This program will be beneficial in equipping consumer and clinical leaders to collaboratively:

  • make a difference in their local health service systems,
  • enhance their leadership skills in collaborative leadership and shared decision-making,
  • build effective partnerships and
  • develop new and innovative ways of working.

Cost: $10,000 per pair.

More information can be found in this document.

Enquiries: contact Jennie Parham, Project Lead, Collaborative Pairs Australia
Email: or mobile: 0421 050 401

Hear from our CEO, Leanne Wells about the Collaborative Pairs program

Collaborative Pairs Australia Initiative – the story so far

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) in collaboration with the Kings Fund (UK), four Primary Health Networks in NSW and Victoria and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has undertaken a national demonstration trial of the Collaborative Pairs: leading collaboratively with patients and communities” (Collaborative Pairs) Program in the Australian context. Beginning in 2018 seven programs have been delivered with over 40 pairs participating.

A comprehensive literature review and an external evaluation were undertaken as part of the National Demonstration. The Executive Summary of the Evaluation report and the Literature Review are available below:


Karen Patterson and Jane Cockburn model collaborative practice as they facilitate this program, sharing new frameworks to participants to help them make change and deliver better outcomes together.


Collaborative Pairs Program participants: Jacinta and Nic speak about the program.

What recent participants said

It’s given me a perspective of how it can actually be to sit in a room full of doctors and nurses and people who have, you know, all this knowledge. As a patient you do inherently put them on a bit of a pedestal’

‘Has taught me to value my life experiences’

‘Has given me confidence that what I have to offer is valuable’

‘I know that programs like this work. They change clinician behaviour, they change consumer behaviour and ultimately change the way services are provided.’

More information and enquiries

Jennie Parham, Project Lead, Collaborative Pairs Australia
Email: or mobile: 0421 050 401