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 announce that applications are now open for the Inaugural Collaborative Pairs Australia National Program to be held in Sydney, commencing February 2020.

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 three blocks with two coaching sessions in between workshops. Each pair identifies a joint healthcare challenge or project that they are passionate about and will work on for the duration of the program. 

Hear from CHF's CEO Leanne Wells about the program

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

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.’

Details of the Collaborative Pairs — National Registration Program

Workshop dates:

Friday 7 February and Saturday 8 February, 2020

Friday 6 March and Saturday 7 March, 2020

Friday April 3, 2020

Program cost

$8, 000 per pair (equivalent to $4,000 per person) which 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

Who should attend:

This program 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. Ideally, they will be sponsored to attend by their local LHD, PHN or NGO.

Organisations interested in bringing consumers and health service providers together to improve local health service systems and outcomes for consumers, build a culture of collaborative practice and enhance partnerships between consumers, community and health services should consider sponsoring a pair to attend.


All five sessions will be held in  National Prescribing Service Training Room, Level 7, 418A Elizabeth St Surry Hills, Sydney. 


Jane Cockburn - Jane is the consumer lead of this ‘collaborative pair’. She is a consumer herself and also a passionate consumer advocate. Jane has 30 years’ experience in healthcare industry including various executive roles within both public and private organisations. Jane founded Kairos Now Pty Ltd in 2012, her organisation focuses on working with healthcare organisations to build empathy for and get close to consumers, clients and customers. As an expert in this field, Jane shapes collaborative environments that enable consumers to be involved and drive change with the system. She is trainer, capability builder, facilitator, designer and coach. 

Karen Patterson - Karen brings the health professional perspective to the ‘collaborative pair’. Since 1983, Karen has contributed to the Australian health system as a clinician, educator, manager, director and executive in rural, metro, public and private settings. Karen discovered early the power of evidence as a facilitator for change, and has lead models of care, workforce, workplace, policy and academic research activities. Karen has been recognised by her peers for excellence in leadership, for being innovative in challenging the status quo and awarded for leading opportunities to outcomes.

Both Jane and Karen have been trained in “Collaborative Pairs” by the King’s Fund and have delivered two highly successful programs in Western NSW. They will be receiving supervision from Mark Doughty (UK) the architect of the program for the duration of 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 20 January 2020.

It’s recommended that you familiarise yourself with the Invitation to apply before completing the application form. 

Read the Invitation to Apply

More information and enquiries

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