The Royal Free London (RFL) has collaborated on a new film which showcases how patients can have a bigger say in the care being provided to them. 

The short film follows patients with two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC), working alongside clinicians and managers, to help make the experience of receiving care better. 

This is part of the clinical practice group (CPG) work being done at the trust, using the latest clinical evidence to ensure all patients have access to the best and most innovative treatments the NHS can offer, across hospital sites.

A survey was sent out and a group of patients came together to collaborate with staff in regular meetings to help re-design the way care is provided.

Ann Woodward, clinical pathway manager for the Royal Free Hospital, said: “Patient co-design is an integral part of the new clinical pathway we’ve developed. As providers we have a different perspective and there are blind spots for us where we don’t see what it is like to be a patient and that’s where it’s so valuable for us to have patient involvement.”

Isobel Mason, nurse consultant for gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital, said: “We realised that if we were going to revolutionise the clinical care pathways we also needed patient co-participation. They needed to be working alongside us.”

Patient co-design has helped transform the service. This has included a significant reduction in referral to treatment times, an enhanced patient-centred appointment system, improved access to clinical nurse specialists and clearer, more relevant patient literature.

Stuart Berliner, a patient panel member, said: “I’ve been a sufferer with ulcerative colitis for over 40 years. I’ve seen improvements in the service especially now when there’s more contact with the specialist nursing team, rather than just seeing the consultant.”

“Both sides have really learned a lot from each other,” added Isobel. “The clinical team have really learned to taken on the patients’ values and for patients the process has helped them understand the issues we face in managing the service. Patients are so grateful for what we do and they want to participate and help us to do it better.”

The film was supported by a grant from NHS England and he film was made with help from the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK.