Involving users in service planning: a focus group approach


Kelly, L., Caldwell, K. and Henshaw, L. 2006. Involving users in service planning: a focus group approach. European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 10 (4), pp. 283-293.
TitleInvolving users in service planning: a focus group approach
AuthorsKelly, L., Caldwell, K. and Henshaw, L.

This paper outlines the way in which a focus group approach was used to involve service users in the possible reconfiguration of follow-up services for breast cancer patients at a North London hospital. The focus group was used to identify the priority issues for users and the development of an objective questionnaire, to survey all current service users. Within the National Health Service (NHS) the concept of user involvement has been embodied in contemporary health policy, and has become an important constituent of current policy direction. This study was the first stage of a larger stakeholder project that aimed to involve service users and clinicians in developing a new model of breast cancer follow-up service. From the focus group emerged five key themes around breast cancer follow up. They were:
• The need for reassurance after the diagnosis of cancer.
• Continuity of care.
• Privacy and dignity and other elements of the examination technique.
• Information and the detection of new symptoms.
• The opportunity to discuss feelings and worries.
In this paper, the nature of breast cancer follow-up services is outlined, and the difficulties associated with such services are discussed. The background to user involvement within the United Kingdom is explored, and the strategies that have previously been used are considered. The practical issues involved in using the focus group approach are examined, and the experience of using such an approach is outlined in this study. The involvement of service users as a key stakeholder in the process of planning change, through a participatory research strategy, ensured that their voices were heard alongside those of both hospital and primary care staff.

PublisherChurchill Livingstone
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Publication dates
PrintSep 2006
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Nov 2009
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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