Embedding Consumer Culture in Health and Social Care Education - A University Office's Perspective

Christine A. Rhodes, Lisa J. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Health and social care services are changing - and this change is radical. Service user and carer involvement has been a key aspect of health and social care policy for a number of years. In terms of the National Health Service (NHS), this has been significantly strengthened by the report ‘High Quality Care for All’. The NHS will no longer be a monolith dictating what services it offers. It is beginning to take seriously the views of its consumers: the patients, service users and carers. The NHS is starting to put the patient experience at the centre of everything it does, and its regulators are asking for evidence of public and patient involvement. This process may yet prove to be one of the NHS’ greatest challenges as it transforms to prioritize the consumer viewpoint. Social care, though further down the line in relation to involvement, is now responding to the relatively new personalization agenda. This paper will consider what the university sector can do to embed the consumer and service culture within the education of health and social care professionals. It looks at the challenges of involvement and required culture change, highlighting the key points to address in the early and middle stages of involvement from a university office’s perspective. It includes examples of consumer involvement in teaching, assessment and the selection of students and how their input is starting to make a difference. Finally, the paper outlines what is needed in a development office to establish and support effective service user and carer involvement on health and social care courses in higher education. The article concludes by acknowledging that there is much more work that needs to be done in this field to embed the work of a development office, but that early steps have been promising.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-602
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2010


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