Who should take part

Those eligible to take part in a JLA priority setting workshop must have personal or professional experience of the health area in question:

  • Patients or carers with direct experience of the health area being discussed, or representatives from patient support groups, patient charities etc
  • Clinicians – a balance of appropriate clinicians for the health area being discussed, e.g. specialist nurses, consultants or senior registrars, paediatricians, GPs, surgeons, physiotherapists, dieticians, advice line nurses, speech therapists.

It is recommended that a minimum of 12 people and a maximum of 30 are recruited. The more participants, the more difficult it will be for everyone to have their say and come to a consensus. Some people can struggle to participate in larger groups.  The Steering Group should consider if this will cause stress to its particular stakeholder group and either adjust the numbers accordingly or consider having four smaller breakout groups, rather than the usual three.

The Steering Group should agree a list of ideal range of types and numbers of people to attend the final workshop, for the workshop organiser to recruit.  Generally, workshop participants are recruited in a range of ways, for example:

  • through the survey
  • through the Partner organisations and the Steering Group’s extended networks
  • through an open call on social media and via the PSP’s mailing list.

Workshop participants decide the final order of the priorities, so it is important that the PSP is confident that a range of voices and perspectives are represented and that they are transparent about how they were selected to take part.

Selection should involve a screening process to ensure an appropriate mix of participants, so that a diverse range of professionals and patient/carers are identified. It should not be done on a first-come-first-served basis.  The Steering Group should also consider whether it is important to have a variety of geographical areas represented at the workshop, bearing in mind the costs of travel and perhaps accommodation that this will incur.

Clinicians with research interests as part of their role are eligible to take part in the final priority setting workshop, if they also treat patients and are currently clinically active.  They will need to declare their research interests.

The JLA considers achieving a balance of clinical and patient viewpoints more important than the representativeness of each participant.  This is important, because most examples of priority setting show “clinicians are more involved than patients in the whole process[8]. Participants are encouraged to share biographical information about themselves and their perspectives of the condition under discussion before the workshop in a Declaration of Interests and Needs document, which is summarised and given to all workshop participants on the day.

Finally, with the JLA Adviser, the Steering Group should decide whether they wish Steering Group members to be present at the workshop.  Some Steering Group members may decide they can legitimately be involved as participants, or they may decide that a new set of voices should be brought in to make the final decisions.  They may simply wish to observe. 

[8] Stewart R and Oliver S (2008) ‘A systematic map of studies of patients' and clinicians' research priorities.’ London: James Lind Alliance