Collaborative Pairs Australia

Collaborative Pairs Australia is a unique leadership training program facilitated by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) and Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF).

Developed by the King’s Fund, an independent charity working to improve health care in England, Collaborative Pairs Australia is the program’s Australian trial. It aims to help consumers and health care providers to work together to improve health care.

The program’s key objectives are to:

  • build participant’s skills in developing collaborative partnerships
  • break down cultural barriers that often exist between those providing a service and those receiving a service.
  • Who is the program for?

    The program is for consumers (that is, people who use health services, such as patients and carers) and health care providers (such as doctors, nurses, allied health providers, receptionists and managers) interested in improving how they work together.

    Consumers and health care providers take part as a pair: one consumer, one provider.

    Participants in our region will work together on a shared challenge, project or idea to improve health care in north western Melbourne. The program focuses on the relationship between the pairs, and on building the skills needed to work together.

    Please note that health care providers who take part in the program must work in north western Melbourne.

  • What does the program involve?

    Participants are required to attend five one-day workshops. Each pair brings a shared challenge, project or idea to focus on. In between workshops, pairs receive support from facilitators to work on their shared challenge. The approach is one of ‘learning through doing’.

    The workshops cover the following topics:

    • forming relationships across the health system with people who have different ideas and priorities
    • learning how to handle tough conversations
    • learning how to share your message across your health service
    • learning how to work as equals
    • managing the political context
    • learning about your personal leadership and conflict resolution styles
    • building a support network to develop your partnerships in the workplace.

    The program involves guided reflection, interactive learning and practical activities. It is designed to be flexible and respond to the needs of participants.

  • Program details


    The program is free for health care providers and consumers. We reimburse consumers for time spent attending the workshops.

    Current status

    Round two is complete and an evaluation of the program is underway.
    Stay tuned for updates.

NWMPHN Program facilitators

Image of Louisa Walsh
Louisa Walsh

Louisa Walsh

Louisa is a physiotherapist, lecturer and researcher. She has had a double lung transplant due to cystic fibrosis and is the president of the Heart and Lung Transplant Trust of Victoria. This is a consumer-led organisation that provides practical and social support for people throughout their experience with heart and/or lung transplant.

Image of Dr Chi Li
Dr Chi Li

Dr Chi Li

Chi is a palliative care physician. He has worked in a range of inpatient, outpatient and community healthcare settings across Melbourne and country Victoria. He is involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education, supervision and mentoring. He is also involved in service development, consumer engagement and advocacy through a number of organisations.

Louisa and Chi are very excited to be part of this innovative program. They strongly believe that patients and carers are a vital part of the health care team. They believe that including consumer voices and knowledge will help to address problems in health services and systems.

Louisa and Chi are committed to promoting consumer leadership in health care design, delivery and reform. Their history of working together, their experience as educators and leaders and their enthusiasm to learn, grow and share their skills make them ideal Collaborative Pairs facilitators.