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Evidence based patient/public voice: A patient and public involvement audit in the field of sexual health

Meyrick, Jane; Gray, Debra


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Jane Meyrick
Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology

Debra Gray


Background: The National Health Institute constitution enshrines the central role of patient and public involvement (PPI) in order to place patients at the heart of the NHS. The sexual health field presents unique challenges for PPI in the tension between current PPI practice versus the need for confidentiality/feelings of shame/stigma. However, there is little evidence around the goals, evaluation measures or theoretical underpinnings of PPI. Objectives: In order to improve current PPI practice in the sexual health field, audits were carried out on PPI plans in both service and research sectors. Methods: 18 local sexual health service contacts completed the audit through snowballing. The tool was refined and five research projects completed the audit from the Health Protection Research Unit in BloodBorne and Sexually Transmitted Infections. Responses were collated and a thematic analysis by two independent researchers carried out. Common areas for improvement were identified. Results: Audit tool responses evidenced wide variability in practice. Issues included conflation of PPI work and qualitative research; limited 'patient satisfaction' approaches; lack of PPI goals; methodological reliance on 'visible' methods such as focus groups; lack of responsiveness around patient needs and poor resourcing of PPI work. Research specific issues included 'late' PPI after key decisions had been made and poor lay summary validity. Discussion: Two audits evidenced a range of areas for improvement of PPI practice in sexual health. Clear definition of 'what PPI is for' aligned with evaluation measures would begin to build an evidence base for the contribution of patient voice.


Meyrick, J., & Gray, D. (2018). Evidence based patient/public voice: A patient and public involvement audit in the field of sexual health. BMJ Sexual && Reproductive Health, 44, 267-271.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 23, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 18, 2018
Publication Date Oct 31, 2018
Journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health
Print ISSN 2515-1991
Electronic ISSN 2515-2009
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Pages 267-271
Keywords PPI, sexual health, audit
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : © 2018. Reuse of this manuscript version is permitted strictly pursuant to the terms of the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license: This article has been accepted for publication in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health (2018) following peer review, and the Version of Record can be accessed online at


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