How you can get involved in our work as a patient or carer

In the CCQI, people with lived experience of using health services are involved in all stages of our work. If you’ve been treated by a service (a patient or service user), or you’re a family member or friend (carer) of someone who has, you might be able to get involved with our work.  

See our list of networks to understand what kinds of services we work with. There are a few ways you can get involved:

What is it?

The way we review services with our ‘quality networks and accreditation’ includes a peer-review visit. A team of people visits a service for one day to see how they’re performing and give them advice and support.

The team usually includes a few professionals (doctors, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, and so on), a patient and/or carer and often a member of staff from CCQI.

The main job of the patient/carer on the team is usually to get feedback from patients and carers who use the service you’re visiting. We’ll also ask you to contribute to decisions about how the service is performing.

How do I get involved?

There are separate networks for different kinds of mental health services, and hospitals. If you’d like to become a peer reviewer, look at our list of networks and contact the project team of the network you’re interested in.

To qualify, you need experience of using that kind of service or looking after someone who has. You might be asked to complete a telephone or face-to-face interview so we can check you’re suitable for the role.

Time commitment

This is not a full-time role but depending on the number of visits and your availability, you could be working with us for several days a year.

Where will the visits be?

We ask you not to visit services that you’ve used, or ones in your local area, but you can volunteer for whichever ones you want. Please see ‘travel and expenses’ below for more information.

Each of the quality networks, accreditation programmes and audit programmes has committees made up of people outside the staff team to help us make decisions.

If you sit on a committee, you will give your perspective as a patient or carer to the discussions.

Accreditation/Award Committees (accreditation programmes only)

What is it?

These committees usually meet four times per year, every three months. There is a separate committee for each kind of service.

The committee is a group made up of all kinds of professionals that normally work in those kinds of services, and patients and carers.

What does it do?

After we finish our review, we write a report about a service’s performance. The committee looks at these reports and decides together which services can be accredited/awarded.

If they’re not ready, the committee usually gives the service some advice on what they need to improve. The committee will review the service again later after they’ve made changes.

How do I get involved?

If a member of a committee leaves or their term of service comes to an end, we will advertise for applications. Please look at our list of networks and see if there are any places available for the network you’re interested in.

To qualify, you need experience of using that kind of service or looking after someone who has. You might be asked to complete a telephone or face-to-face interview so we can check you’re suitable for the role.

Time commitment

Four days (or half-days) per year.

Where will the meetings be?

In London, but you can also join by phone for some committees.

Advisory groups

What is it?

These committees usually meet several times a year. There is a separate committee for each kind of mental health service. The advisory group is made up of all kinds of professionals that normally work in those kinds of services, and patients and carers.

What does it do?

Helps the staff team at CCQI make decisions about how to run their network, for example they may help set standards, give advice on how we work or organise events.

How do I get involved?

If a member of a group leaves or their term of service comes to an end, we will advertise for applications. Please look at our list of networks and see if there are any places available for the network you’re interested in.

To qualify, you need experience of using that kind of service or looking after someone who has. You might be asked to complete a telephone or face-to-face interview so we can check you’re suitable for the role.

Time commitment

Variable - usually at least two meetings per year.

Where will the meetings be?

In London, but you can also join by phone for some groups.

Payments

We pay patients and carers £50 for a half day (3.5 hours or less) or £100 for a full day’s work. We do not pay for travel time. If you receive benefits, please speak to your benefits advisor before you claim fees from us.

Travel

If you have to travel to get to a meeting or visit, we will organise and pay for your travel (usually train/plane) and a hotel if you need it.

We’ll do our best to make sure you’re happy with the arrangements and will try to take into account reasonable requests. We ask that you tell us what travel you need at least three weeks before a meeting.

Expenses

If you’re away from home overnight, you can also claim back your dinner (within our expenses policy terms). Full-day meetings usually include complementary lunch, and if you’re in a hotel, breakfast will be included in your booking.

You will have a named project link person who you can contact on the team.

If you become ill while you’re working with us, we expect you to look for help from your doctor or mental health team.

If you need to take a break from working with us that’s fine, just let us know. We might ask you to set up a contingency plan with us, so we can find the right people to help you if we think you’re becoming ill.

You may be offered catch-ups after going to visits or meetings, to find out how you felt it went. Depending on the network, you might be offered more formal meetings and/or an appraisal.

Many networks also run patient and carer events so you can meet other people who’re involved.

Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry