Producing co-production: Reflections on the development of a complex intervention

Health Expect. 2020 Jun;23(3):659-669. doi: 10.1111/hex.13046. Epub 2020 Mar 31.


Background: Patient and public involvement and co-production are widely used, but nevertheless contested concepts in applied health research. There is much confusion about what they are, how they might be undertaken and how they relate to each other. There are distinct challenges and particular gaps in public involvement in alcohol research, especially when the study focus is on health matters other than alcohol dependence.

Objective: To explore how patient and public involvement and co-production have been interpreted and applied within a multi-disciplinary research programme in the development of a complex intervention on alcohol and medicine use in community pharmacies.

Design: The paper presents the authors' critical reflection on a grounded example of how public involvement concepts have been translated into practice in the intervention development phase of a publicly funded research programme, noting its impact on the programme to date.

Discussion: Co-production adds another layer of complexity in the development of a complex intervention. The research planning requirements for publicly funded research circumscribe the possibilities for co-production, including impacting on the possibility of stability and continuity over time.

Keywords: alcohol; co-production; community pharmacy; complex interventions; medicines review; patient and public involvement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pharmacies*
  • Research Design