The EQUIP (Effectiveness and Quality in User Involvement Projects) collaboration is a group of organisations and individuals who have extensive experience in working with consumers on NHS Research and Development issues.

We offer paired workshops to consumer members of the Primary Care Projects that have been funded by London NHS Executive Research and Development. The contents of the workshop have been compiled following the results of a needs assessment exercise, and previous work with consumers.

The workshops are free and travel, carer costs, etc, are reimbursed.

Executive Summary

In 2001 EQUIP began the first year of a three year training programme that addressed the training needs of users involved in primary care research in London. This work had been commissioned by London R&D to train the consumers involved in these primary care research projects. The projects aim to be models of partnership working and show that involving consumers can have significant effects for the research process and outcomes.

There are 11 primary care projects involved, including projects that explore topics such as, exploring the risk of falls from older peoples perspectives, developing young peoples involvement in mental health in primary care and promoting testicular self examination and awareness amongst young men with learning disabilities. The levels of support, knowledge and training requirements are different for each consumer and each project, making this an interesting and challenging programme. Some projects have involved consumers since the outset, others have recruited consumers further down the line, making the involvement issue individual to each project.

After carrying out a needs assessment, the following learning objectives were agreed.

  1. Describe how the NHS works and where R&D fits in
  2. The research cycle and how research priorities are defined
  3. Understand what enables effective R&D to take place
  4. Governance, basic research methods and terms
  5. Communication skills, recognising what influences decision making
  6. Being clear and confident about their role in the network.

The first few workshops were presented with another training organisation and covered areas such as definitions of user involvement, networking and breaking down barriers between health professionals and consumer representatives. The third workshop looked more specifically at the research cycle and research methods.

EQUIP have learnt a number of things since the first year, including:

  • Projects need stable context to thrive
  • Too many differences in methodology, timescales, client group and expertise between the projects
  • Most projects need help with recruitment
  • Tension between shared workshop-style support and meeting the needs of specific projects
  • Need to model inclusivity – 2 parallel training programmes created confusion.

It is EQUIP's belief that multidisciplinary training is the best model of working and we are now in a position to undertake this type of training for both consumers and researchers. This will help participants to begin to develop relationships and to understand each other's cultures and values. It is envisaged that this will contribute to a more effective network.

EQUIP and the projects will be planning the training strategy for the next 2 years at a working group to be held in August 2002.

For further information or to discuss commissioning a workshop please contact:

Public Health Resource Unit, Institute of Health Sciences, Old Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF
Tel: ; Fax:
E-mail: