Around the table: Patricia Wilson

Patricia Wilson has led a 10 year programme of health services research with a particular focus on patient experience and public involvement. She was based at the University of Hertfordshire until March 2014, where she co-led the patient and public involvement research theme within the CLAHRC East of England. Patricia was chief investigator for the recently completed RAPPORT study which was a 2.5 year national evaluation of public involvement in health research funded by NIHR HS&DR/INVOLVE. In April 2014 she took up a new role as Professor of Primary and Community Care at the University of Kent.

Patricia WilsonA very vibrant discussion on the current state of evidence on public involvement (PI) in research and where we need to go from here. The different perspectives were clear, which makes for interesting discussion but also reinforces the complexity of involvement.

The key points for me were how the landscape has changed over the past 10 years, for example the wide acceptance that PI is both doable and needed in trials. However, the evidence suggests that there is still work to be done to embed PI as normal everyday practice in all research. The current focus in evidence has been around evaluating impact and we need to move on from this. Suggestions for a future research agenda reflected participant’s individual perspectives, so there was a stimulating range including methodology, co-production of knowledge, and cultural change. 

We also need tools that can easily record and audit PI and also encourage reporting of PI that was not the ideal but we can learn lessons from, and is probably more reflective of everyday practice. We also need to learn the language of the different stakeholders so that we can present PI, for example to commissioners, in a way that will help them to see the value added component of PI.