Consumers and Clinicians, working together


The Collaborative Pairs Program brings health service providers together with consumers to develop and strengthen their capacity to work together to transform the health system, and we're rolling out a national trial.


“Achieving a more collaborative dynamic will require a change in the way that all of us work. The ability to adapt, communicate and shift between roles will be important for all leaders in developing the collaborative relationship that puts safety and quality at the heart of health care in our communities”

- Alison Trimble, The King's Fund

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF), in collaboration with the Kings Fund (UK), four Primary Health Networks in NSW and Victoria and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care are undertaking a national demonstration trial of the Collaborative Pairs: leading collaboratively with patients and communities” (Collaborative Pairs) Program in the Australian context.

Collaborative Pairs is a leadership training program that supports the development of the mindset and practices that underpin the culture of shared leadership and partnership and, specifically, joint clinician-patient approaches to program and service development in health and improvement in regional and service delivery settings. 

This unique program is designed to assist clinicians, patients and consumers to learn together to build productive relationships and to appreciate and practice how different roles and perspectives can be a constructive force for change. The program’s objectives are to build skills in developing collaborative partnerships and to break down the cultural barriers that often exist between those providing the services and those receiving them.

The Collaborative Pairs Program is unique and cutting edge in that it brings health service providers together with consumers to develop and strengthen their capacity to work together to transform the health system.


Implementation of Collaborative Pairs Australia

Collaborative Pairs Australia is currently being implemented in four PHN regions over the next 12 months. They are South-East Melbourne, North-West Melbourne, Western Sydney and Western NSW. They are all currently seeking applications from clinicians/health professionals and health service providers to pair up with a client/consumer or community advocate to complete the 5-day leadership program. This is part of a National Demonstration Trial of the King’s Fund Program in Australia. If you either reside or work in one of these regions, have an established partnership and are keen to undertake the program, please follow the links below for further information on program dates and timeframes for applications.

South Eastern Melbourne (SEMPHN)

SEMPHN’s Collaborative Pairs program is being delivered by a pair who trained in the UK but live in Australia – Russell McGowan, a bone marrow transplant recipient, and Paresh Dawda, a GP.  It will be delivered face-to-face, at the SEMPHN Office (Heatherton), with the first course starting 17 October 2018 and the other in February 2019. All the details , including the application form and course dates are on the SEMPHN websiteyou can also download or print the flyer or contact Kym Westbury on (03) 8514 4478 or

NorthWest Melbourne (NWPHN)

NWMPHN Collaborative Pairs Program is being delivered by a pair who trained in the UK but live in Australia – Louisa Walsh, a lung transplant recipient and Dr Chi Li, a Palliative Care physician. Click here for more information at or contact Brodie Preston or Amy Durmanic on (03) 9347  1188 or

Western Sydney PHN (WentWest)

Western Sydney Collaborative Pairs Program is being delivered by a local GP, Dr Wally Jammal together with a very experienced consumer advocate Debra Kay. Both were trained in the UK to deliver Collaborative Pairs and work together on various national and state-wide programs in Australia. Click here for more information or contact Melissa Gibson (02) 8811 7100 or

Western NSW PHN

Western NSW Collaborative Pairs Program is being delivered by an experienced pair, Jane Cockburn a consumer advocate who runs her own company and Karen Patterson who is a very experienced and senior manager in the NSW health system. They are currently recruiting for a program to be delivered in Dubbo early next year. For more information contact Yvette Lloyd

Meet the first 4 Facilitator Pairs

More information on Collaborative Pairs Australia

 Collaborative Pairs Australia : An Overview

Collaborative Pairs Australia: A National Demonstration Trial

Collaborative Pairs Australia and National Health Reform

The Patients as partners publication is helpful in outlining the learnings from the first cohort of participants in the program in the UK. It also demonstrates the type of pairs and the work challenges undertaken.