Closing the Gap through Changing Relationships: evaluation

An independent evaluation of the programme

June 2014

Chih Hoong Sin
Heather Heathfield
Kate Fitzpatrick
Leah Benson

Key topics addressed

  • how and whether each of the projects led to relationships changing;
  • how change was experienced by the different actors;
  • the key barriers to, and promoters of, success.

Our Closing the Gap through Changing Relationships programme funded seven projects, which aimed to change one or more of three types of relationships:

  • between the individual using a service and those who work in health care provision
  • between people using services and the wider health care system
  • between communities and the wider health care system.

In addition to the evaluation report, an ‘improvement story’ was developed for each of the projects. These stories are available to download in the supplement to the report.

The evaluation found that changing relationships is about fundamental change and requires an explicit and sustained focus. It is not something that can simply be articulated or aspired to and then left to happen on its own. Relationships do not change simply because of good intentions. In order to be purposive and stay focused, it is vital to:

  • make changing relationships an explicit objective, state its centrality, and explain the rationale behind this
  • make changing relationships tangible to all key stakeholders in terms of what it looks like in practice. Individuals and groups can then act purposively and reflect on their behaviours on an ongoing basis
  • spell out the likely implications of relationship change, and put in place effective plans to capture and disseminate the evidence of benefits as well as to minimise any anticipated or perceived adverse effects.

Download the improvement stories supplement

Further reading

Learning report

Ideas into action: person-centred care in practice

What to consider when implementing shared decision making and self-management support as part of a drive to make person-centr...

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