New round of Collaborative Pairs (Western NSW) starting February 2020

  • Do you want to make a difference to your local community?
  • Improve your leadership skills?
  • Improve local health care?

Western NSW Primary Health Network and Consumer Health Forum are partnering to deliver a new round of Collaborative Pairs. The aim of the program is to help consumers and providers work together to improve health care in Western NSW.

We are looking to recruit consumer/ health service users and health professionals/ clinicians who have an interest in the following areas:

  • Respiratory illness
  • Diabetes (The Sugars)
  • Mental health and suicide prevention
  • First 2000 days
  • After hours care

 All intending applicants must submit an application (one per pair) by COB Monday 1 Feb 2021 5:00pm.

Application Form Invitation to apply 

For further information about the program, please go to:


 What is Collaborative Pairs

Collaborative Pairs is a leadership training program developed by the King's Fund, an independent charity working to improve health and care in England.

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 Australian trials of this program.

Who is it for?

The program involves working in a pair. One being a consumer or health service user (such as a patient or carer) and the other a health care provider (such as a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, allied health practitioner, medical receptionist or practice manager). Pairs should have a pre-existing relationship.

As a pair you will:

  • Receive free leadership training (valued at $5000) and support from King's Fund trained facilitators
  • Working together on a shared health challenge, project or idea
  • Attend five virtual workshops held between February 2021 and June 2021
  • Network with other pairs and share your learnings
  • The program is free for health care providers and consumers. Consumers will be reimbursed for their time spent attending the workshops. Health Professionals will be provided with compensation for their time and insights, unless already covered by an employer.


How to apply

Consumers and health service providers are invited to apply as a 'pair'. This means you will already know each other before you start the program. Please see the Invitation to Apply for more information.

For more information, please contact

Vicky Smyth, Engagement and Digital Media Officer, WNSW PHN

 Frequently Asked Questions

How much time will I need to commit to be part of this program?

Workshop sessions: Attendance at five full-day sessions

Pair check in - approximately 30 minutes weekly 

  • It is recommended that you think about catching up every week. It doesn’t have to be a long, it's a check-in.
  • As a pair, we have a half hour phone call logged in our diaries every week this is an opportunity to talk about how we are tracking as individuals and our wellness.We also bring one thing to discuss with each other that we were inspired by, was of interest and challenged our own assumptions.
  • If you meet to work on your focus area as a pair, you can include your general catch-up in that meeting. This face-to-face catch-up is also an opportunity to observe each other and communicate differently. You can try out and explore further some of the conversations and tools we will provide you in the program.

Focus area of work

This program should be enabling you to both work on an area of interest for the PHN. The time spent on your focus area is determined by the questions and challenge you are exploring.

What will we be covering in the workshops?

This initiative is about your personal growth as much as the relationships you build and the area of impact chosen.

The workshops will be shaped and co-designed with the participants. We have a range of techniques to share and will base the detailed content on the groups’ needs. Broadly speaking the workshop content will cover:

  • Workshop 1 – the pairs and your relationship.
  • Workshop 2 – exploring and breaking down your area of focus for PHN, what you will be working on together.
  • Workshop 3 – how to work together more effectively and possible options framing and exploring your relationship.
  • Workshop 4 – additional knowledge and techniques that can strengthen your relationship together even more, explore how your work together can be strengthened in this way.
  • Workshop 5 - Sharing your learnings as a pair and as as individuals. Communicating these learnings. Where to from here.

Can you provide some examples of typical "pairs"? What if I am not a service provider or a consumer, would I still meet the criteria? 

Examples of the type of pairs that have been involved in Collaborative Pairs in the UK include:

  • a health professional (GP, nurse, allied health) and a patient;
  • a local community leader and a clinical director of a clinical commissioning group;
  • a director of services and policy for a local charity with a clinical trial services manager
  • a board member of a special needs centre and a lead therapist
  • a local community organisation director and a chief pharmacist. 

Participants must work in pairs on this program as it is about building collaborative relationships. One half of the of the pair needs their experience to be mainly about the nature and type of health services delivered. For example, a:

  • clinician, manager or director of clinical services,
  • PHN staff member involved in commissioning clinical services or developing policy in relation to service provision or clinical governance,
  • rehabilitation providers. 

The other half of the pair needs to have a patient or community perspective of the health system. For example, a:

  • patient
  • consumer
  • carer
  • community advocate
  • community elder
  • a key staff person in a community organisation wanting to partner with health

Do we need to have experience working together as a pair to take part in the program? 

It is not essential that you have worked together to apply for the program. However, it is helpful if you know each other and you have a joint work challenge that you are interested in working on. The program is about building “real time “relationships and so a level of understanding and mutual interest will be helpful to gain the most benefit from the program.

How will I benefit from the Program? 

There are benefits at two levels: for yourself as an individual and as a pair. This unique program allows you to discover and learn about yourself in the context of working together.  As an individual, you will:

  • Discover your personal leadership style
  • Become more aware of your own communication and conflict resolution style
  • Learn how to influence and build constructive relationships 
  • Learn new ways of working
As a pair, together you will:
  • Build a productive, collaborative relationship with a partner from your system
  • Develop the skillset, communication practices and confidence to work collaboratively 
  • Learn in a practical and supportive environment to make progress on a real-time challenge for your organisation
  • Join a peer community and work with other consumer leaders and health care professionals to explore your own leadership role and contribution. 
The Consumers Health Forum of Australia has more information.