24 May 2021
A new book, ‘COVID-19 and Co-production in Health and Social Care Research, Policy and Practice’, has been created by a diverse editorial team and set of contributors. It aims to illustrate how and why co-production can be a more inclusive way to respond to the pandemic and develop more equitable health and social care. The people behind the book have experiences as service users, activists, carers and researchers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated inequalities in societies. The groups most severely affected by the pandemic have so much to share from their lived experience. However, they seem to have largely been ignored in preparing for the pandemic, developing responses to it, and planning for a ‘new normal’ that is better than before. Innovative participatory and co-produced approaches to health and social care research, policy development, service design, and practice highlight the need to tackle health inequalities while offering ways to do so. These approaches can help to ensure this experience-based and often marginalised knowledge makes an important and unique contribution to decision-making.
This book addresses these issues and offers ways for developing inclusive, co-produced approaches to respond to health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, where the search for fit-for-purpose solutions is especially critical. It also illustrates the important role co-production can play after the pandemic in ensuring health and social care is better and fairer than before. The book provides a platform to share marginalised perspectives and experiences.
One of the chapters is written by women involved in the NIHR ARC West project, Bridging Gaps, who have experienced complex trauma. Women with lived experiences are lead authors of the chapter and share the work they are doing to improve access to primary care services for others who’ve experienced trauma.
In their chapters, authors explain their priorities for what needs to be done to address the issues affecting them and how groups and communities who are vulnerable, or have been marginalised or discriminated against can be better served by health and social care. There are also lots of examples of how groups have managed to swim against the tide by co-producing during the pandemic; often working together at a distance. The books highlight how we must go further in finding new and much more equitable ways of working with a diversity of individuals, groups, and communities.
The editorial team (listed alphabetically) is:
More than 100 people contributed to the book, which is available for free as an open access e-book in two volumes, published as part of Policy Press’s Rapid Responses pandemic series. Policy Press are a not-for-profit publisher and publish work that seeks to understand social problems, promotes social change, and informs policy and practice. Open access funding was provided by the Health Foundation.
Oli Williams, one of the book’s editors, said:
“The grave consequences of following the precedents set during this pandemic – in terms of morbidity, mortality, inequality, marginalisation, and ineffective policy – emphasise the urgency with which we must act to do things differently.
“With this practical book, we wanted to illustrate why co-produced responses are valuable and how researchers, policymakers, practitioners, service users, patients, public contributors, communities, and activists can make this happen both during the pandemic and beyond.”
Another book editor is Dr Michelle Farr, Research Fellow at ARC West, who’s also involved in the Bridging Gaps project. She said:
“These books are a great opportunity to ensure that people with lived experience of issues are at the forefront of policy, practice and research, and that their priorities become the basis for our future work together. There are really helpful, inspiring examples in these books of how we can work more collaboratively together in the future”.
The book is being launched at a special event on 22 June, where the authors will give a Q&A.
COVID-19 and Co-production in Health and Social Care Research, Policy and Practice: