"Developing skills and confidence to influence health care decisions"

IMPACT is a training tool for multi-disciplinary groups, which imparts the skills to participate effectively in healthcare decision-making. The Learning & Development team at the Public Health Resource Unit in Oxford developed the tool with Elisabeth Buggins. It was based upon previous work by the National Childbirth Trust 'Voices Project'.

Do you want to........

  • find out how the NHS is structured?

  • know how decisions are made in the NHS?

  • find out about the different sorts of evidence?

  • make sense of the jargon used within the NHS?

  • make the most of working in a team?

  • improve your communication skills?

  • be more confident working with people from different backgrounds?

  • understand how to put your case for change?

  • take home a free binder packed with useful information?

IMPACT is aimed at multi-disciplinary groups of lay and professional participants. Healthcare workers are trained alongside service users in order to argument an understanding of, and respect for, the knowledge, skills and experience each brings to discussions about service design and delivery. Intended outcomes include increased understanding of influences on healthcare decision-making, improved presentation skills, enhanced team-working skills and an insight into the role of evidence in health research.

The training is for

  • Consumers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Carers
  • PCT Board members
  • PALS Managers
  • Patient Forums
  • Anyone who is, or would like to be, involved in decisions made about health.

Each IMPACT workshop takes participants through a range of activities supported by a resource pack, which is full of useful information. All sessions are interactive with many practical elements. The programme includes:

  • looking at the structure of the new NHS with a local and national perspective
  • confidence building and how status can impact on effective communication
  • decision making in the NHS and the value of different sorts of evidence
  • putting together a case for change during which participants develop an awareness of how it feels to be involved from a perspective that is not familiar to them
  • taking participants through an appraisal of a research paper
  • ways to overcome blocks to change
  • principles of effective communication
  • networking and making effective engagement.
An IMPACT workshop takes place over 2 days. Participants engage in a number of interactive sessions, which examine how we think and act as individuals and also in groups.
A 'status' exercise allows people to role-play how it feels to be in a high or low status position. They also experience what it feels like to be an 'equal'.
Communications issues are addressed in several different exercises. In one, participants sit back-to-back with a partner and one of the pair describes a shape or form to be reproduced. The importance of clear, concise talking and active listening are highlighted.
A different communications exercise focuses on seeing the world through another's eyes. Each participant has to think what might be good, bad or neutral about their role as a health manager, clinician or a user of services. The exercise allows people to explore similarities and disparities in world-view, and to broaden one's perspective.
The culmination of the two days is a mock decision-making meeting about a chosen issue where the participants role-play in three groups one as service users, others as managers and clinicians.

At the end of the workshop, participants will:

  1. have improved their communication skills
  2. understand how to develop constructive team relationships
  3. understand what influences decision making
  4. understand the value of different sorts of evidence
  5. have had an introduction to a published research article
  6. have developed critical appraisal skills
  7. be more confident in making informed decisions.

IMPACT is a very flexible training tool and can be adapted to variable training needs (click here for sample).

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: