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Getting service users involved

These pages provide a suite of resources and tools to help NHS organisations plan and arrange effective approaches to involving service users in diabetes services. We hope you find them useful when preparing activities. 

What do we mean by user involvement?

Diabetes UK defines user involvement as the following:

Involving people living with diabetes (including carers and parents of people with diabetes in a dialogue to influence the planning, design and delivery of their diabetes services.

Benefits include: 

  • Improving health outcomes for patients through increased service uptake and better engagement in personal care. 
  • NHS organisations able to design services that meet the needs of their local diabetes community if users are involved early on in any re-design process and kept involved throughout. 

Stages of user involvement

Getting started

To involve service users in any meaningful way, you'll need the following in place:

  • A service improvement goal – be clear on what part of your service you are trying to improve, and that it is specific and measurable. This will give you focus for your involvement work. This is vital in giving users an area to influence, and to avoid engagement being a ‘tick-box’ exercise.
  • Buy-in from your organisation – not only to carry out the involvement activity, but to take forward the changes suggested from your service users. Senior buy-in is vital so that users are able to influence decisions.
  • Appropriate resources – there are plenty of ways to keep costs down. But to achieve good, representative involvement it will take time. 

Stages of involvement

Once you have everything in place for getting started you can work your way through the stages of user involvement:

  1. Plan your user activity
  2. Recruit the right service users
  3. Deliver your user involvement activity
  4. Review and evaluate

You'll need to keep your service improvement goal in mind at every stage.

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