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St George’s Centre for Public Engagement (CPE) has recently established a school-based young people’s advisory group, led by Dr Louca-Mai and Duncan Barron. This group, supported by funding from the Clinical Research Network (CRN) South London, involves 17 young people aged 13-15 years old. Meeting weekly during the current school term, the young people learn about research and are working with lecturers from the Joint Faculty’s Child Nursing section on the development of Kingston University’s child nursing curriculum; Healthwatch Richmond on how to engage children and young people in work on their experiences of health and social care services; and researchers from St George’s, University of London, King’s College London and others on a range of further projects. Lots of useful learning is emerging from this group experience about involving ‘less often heard’ children and young people. The development, process and outcomes of the group will be evaluated and published in due course.

In addition, the CPE recently obtained a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service grant to support the involvement of young people with lived experience of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in the development of a research proposal on therapeutic engagement in CAMHS inpatient services. This grant will fund workshops with young inpatients and the involvement of a young co-applicant who has previously been an inpatient in a young people’s facility and now undertaking a mental health nursing degree.

The Centre for Public Engagement (CPE)

Based in the Joint Faculty of Kingston University and St George’s University of London, the Centre for Public Engagement (CPE), established in September 2013, has four key areas of work. These four key areas are research, education, service improvement and workforce development, of which patients, public, service users and carers are central. Putting patients and the public at the heart of all aspects of health and social care is a cornerstone of government policy and is an essential part of both health and social care research and education.

Engaging patients, public, service users and carers is central to all aspects of the research process, from concept development to dissemination and to the design and delivery of education programmes. It is often referred to as Patient and Public Involvement (or ‘PPI’). Such engagement increases the quality, relevance and impact of research, and is now a requirement of research funders, for example, Department of Health’s NIHR. It is also a requirement of many regulatory bodies such as the General Nursing Council (GNC) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Colleagues from the CPE run PPI training sessions for both researchers and teaching staff, which aims to augment understanding of what PPI is and how to undertake it. The research focus is on how to best enable PPI to enhance the identification, prioritisation, design and conduct of health and social care research. For teaching, the focus is on how to involve patients, service users and the public in the design, delivery, assessment and delivery of health and social care education.

All CPE training includes insights and expert hands-on experience and knowledge from patients, carers and service users as well as the CPEs Patient and Public Involvement Team.

In addition to the above, the CPE offers a range of services including support for academics and health and social care professionals, service users, patients and carers as well as consultancy. It has both a Research Expert Group (REG) and an Education Expert Group (EEG). These groups include members of the public with lived experience of various health conditions (with relevant training), able to provide lay input in to the development of research funding bids prior to submission, as well as the design and delivery of education programmes.


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