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A patient living with a complex mental health condition says co-production has “made a huge difference” to his recovery as he prepares to leave St Andrew’s.

Referred to in this article as EF in order to protect his confidentiality, the patient arrived at the Northampton hospital 17 months ago.

He said: “I was very poorly when I first got here and it’s been a steady journey for me. The staff here have been wonderful and my doctor John Milton has been incredible. He’s helped make me more aware of my thought patterns and he knows when I need a little extra help and support.

“My family are very impressed with how far I’ve come and I’m now the most stable I’ve been in a very long time. St Andrew’s has been a big part of my life and I’m going to miss it.”

EF is now preparing to move onto another hospital which shows just how far he has come within his recovery journey.

He said: “I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved, although I will miss the staff here at St Andrew’s but I’ve promised to stay in touch.”

For EF, he felt the turning point in his recovery was finding out about co-production, an approach which St Andrew’s hugely advocate.

Co-production is essentially where healthcare professionals, patients and the wider multidisciplinary team (MDT) work together to create a care plan which everyone agrees to. The idea behind the approach is to put the patient at the centre of their care.

When EF heard about co-production he decided to find out more.

He said: "At the time I didn’t know anything about co-production so I did some research into it and asked around. It sounded like a really good idea so I decided this was the way forward for me.

“I worked with my doctors and care team to agree a plan forward. All the staff got behind it which really helped and working together really gave me a lot of insight into my health and my condition. It’s made a huge difference.”

EF improved so much that he started volunteering at Workbridge and taking part in training courses.

He also won the internal co-production competition which involved designing a logo to represent the team approach to care plans. It will now be used to promote the charity’s Co-Production Week which will take place in February.

Dr Inga Stewart, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Research Fellow, who is the charity’s Chair of the staff and patient co-production working group, said: “EF is a shining example of how co-production can really benefit and empower patients.

“Co-production is about recognising and using everyone’s diverse knowledge, experience and perspective to drive recovery - whether they be a patient, service user, staff member, carer, or another individual.

“It also means working together as equals and making best use of our strengths to find ways of doing things that benefit everyone. EF certainly did this and we’re hugely proud of everything he achieved while he was here and we wish him well for the future.”