The purpose of the Patient Partner Project is to explore authentic, patient-centred ways of teaching and learning communication in health and welfare curricula. The concept of a ‘patient partner’ draws on existing Higher Educational programmes that utilise standardised and simulated patients, as well as on community-based programmes involving service users or peer support. Patient Partners are viewed as ‘experts by experience’ and this project creates opportunities for them to participate in the design and implementation of communication training in undergraduate health sciences curricula. However, it is not only the Higher Education institutions that benefit; the project also raises the social standing and dignity of patients and service users within their own communities.

This execution of this project will be primarily located at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. During the project, ten Patient Partners will be recruited from poor communities in and around Cape Town, representing the general socio-economic, cultural and language demographic profile of people who use public health services in South Africa. The partners will receive training and support from health science educators and project-affiliated non-governmental organisations (NGO).

Outcomes over the next three years include; writing a comprehensive literature review report for the project; developing a sustainable patient partner programme; providing opportunities for student mobility and internationalisation, both from South Africa to the EU and vice versa; and building shared curricula and other inter-professional learning materials between South Africa and the EU.

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