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

CHF is delighted to be working in partnership with Safer Care Victoria to deliver the Collaborative Pairs Program for SCV staff, partners and consumers. Applications are now open for the Program to be held in Melbourne, commencing December 12, 2019.

Are you committed to the following?

  • Improving health services in your local area
  • Enhancing your leadership skills
  • Developing your capacity to work collaboratively
  • Boosting your capacity to deliver person-centred healthcare

Then this may be the program for you!

Collaborative Pairs is a Leadership Development program which 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.

It is a flagship program of the King’s Fund (UK) and 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 professional/service provider) over five workshops in 3 sessions with two coaching sessions in between workshops. Each pair identifies a joint healthcare challenge that they are passionate about and will work on for the duration of the program. The program is facilitated by a consumer and clinical pair who have been trained in the UK by the King’s Fund.

Hear from CHF's CEO Leanne Wells about the program


Watch the video

Hear from previous Collaborative Pair Program participants Jacinta and Nic.

Watch the video 



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.

What recent participants say about the Collaborative Pairs Program

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.’

Details of the Collaborative Pairs Safer Care Victoria Program

Workshop dates:

Thursday, December 12, 2019    

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Thursday, May 28, 2020

What costs are covered

Safer Care Victoria will cover program costs for eight pairs (16 individuals). Usually valued at $4,000 per person, the program includes:

  • five full day workshops
  • a self-reflection diary for each person
  • access to digital program materials
  • two coaching sessions per pair by the facilitators in between workshop sessions
  •  morning and afternoon tea and lunch on all workshop days

What costs are not covered

Other associated costs, such as reimbursing consumers for their time to attend, are the responsibility of the supporting organisation.

Who should attend:

This program is offered to SCV staff and partner organisations, and the consumers they work with. It will be beneficial to consumers and health service providers who want to make a difference in their local health service systems, enhance their leadership skills, build effective partnerships and develop new and innovative ways of working.


All five sessions will be held in Melbourne’s CBD. Venue details will be confirmed with successful applicants.

Facilitators: Louisa Walsh (Consumer Lead) and Dr. Chi Li (Clinical Lead)

Both Louisa and Chi have been trained in “Collaborative Pairs” by the King’s Fund and have delivered two highly successful programs in North-West Melbourne. They will receive supervision from program architect Mark Doughty (UK) during the program.


How to apply

One application per pair must be jointly provided (ie a consumer and clinician) using the online Application Form. Applications close: COB Monday 18 November 2019

It’s recommended that applicants familiarise themselves with the Invitation to Apply before completing the online application form –an important selection criteria is that projects must align with one of the five domains and or priorities from Safer Care Victoria’s ‘Partnering in Healthcare: a framework for better care and outcomes'

Read the Invitation to Apply

More information

  • CHF and Safer Care Victoria with program facilitators Louisa and Chi will host a joint information webinar in early November for those interested in applying. More details about this will be posted on the website. To register your interest please email:
  • The Patients as partners publication is helpful in outlining the learnings from the first cohort of participants in the program in the UK. It also demonstrates the type of pairs and the work challenges undertaken.