North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) and Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) invite you to apply for this unique leadership training program.

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

Collaborative Pairs Australia is a trial of the program in Australia. The aim of the program is to help consumers and health care providers 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 (health service users such as patients and carers) and health care providers (doctors, nurses, allied health providers, receptionists, managers) who are interested in improving how they work together.

Consumers and health care providers take part in the program as a pair (one half a consumer and the other half the health care provider). They 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 building the skills needed to work together.

Health care providers who take part in the program must work in north western Melbourne.

What does the program involve?

The program involves attending five one-day workshops.

Each pair brings a shared challenge, project or idea to focus on during the program. 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 has been designed to be flexible and to respond to the needs of the participants.

Program details


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

Current status:

Round two has now been completed. An evaluation of the program is currently underway.

Stay tuned for updates. 

NWMPHN program facilitators


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 heart and/or lung transplant journey.


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 new 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 healthcare 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.

More information

Further details about Collaborative Pairs Australia is available on the Consumers Health Forum website, including a list of frequently asked questions.

If you have any questions, please contact Brodie Preston on 03 9347 1188 or email