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

Are you a consumer advocate, provider of health services, clinician or community member committed to the following?

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 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.

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