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Co-design to deliver service improvement: What does this mean and how can we do it? A qualitative study with upper gastrointestinal cancer patients and professionals

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Anna Haste, Professor Linda Sharp, Dr Richard Thomson, Dr Sarah SowdenORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022 The Authors. Cancer Reports published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. Background: There is strategic objective to incorporate the principles and practice of co-design into routine service development and improvement. Aim: The aim was to explore the concept and feasibility of service co-design with patients and health professionals with regards to the upper gastrointestinal (UGI) cancer care pathway. Methods and Results: Qualitative telephone interviews and face-to-face focus groups in one region of England. Twenty patients completed interviews. Nine patients and ten professionals formed two focus groups. Patients were referred through the urgent (two week) GP referral route and were within six months of receiving their first treatment for an UGI cancer. Professionals were working as service planners and providers of the UGI cancer care pathway. Thematic analysis was undertaken. Six themes emerged: Responsibilities and expectations, Knowledge and understanding, Valuing patient input, Building relationships, Environment for co-design activities, Impact and effectiveness. Based on the themes a checklist has been created to provide practical suggestions for both professionals and patients on approaching co-design for service improvement. Conclusion: This study offers policy and practice partners a clearer understanding of co-design and factors to consider when approaching co-design in real life settings.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Haste A, Sharp L, Thomson R, Sowden S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cancer Reports

Year: 2023

Volume: 6

Issue: 3

Print publication date: 01/03/2023

Online publication date: 08/11/2022

Acceptance date: 18/10/2022

Date deposited: 24/11/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2573-8348

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/cnr2.1748


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Funder referenceFunder name
NHS England Specialised Commissioning, North East and Cumbria