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Members and stakeholders – how inclusive?

It is important to consider how inclusive an alliance wishes to be.  In the spirit of collaboration and shared governance this has to be something the founder members discuss and agree.  There is a clear distinction between the numbers during the establishment phase and the reach of the alliance longer term.

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Considerations are likely to include:

  • UK vs England vs regional.
  • providers: aiming for all or just some big specialist and/or district general hospitals (DGHs)?
  • specialist societies.
  • patient groups.
  • charities and the voluntary sector.
  • professional bodies including those from whole multidisciplinary team.
  • commissioners.
  • any key workstream or agency in the sector.

It is also important to consider who will be members (those who pay), and who will be stakeholders (advised, informed and co-opted), who do some of the work.

Identifying key stakeholders outside the specialty is also important.

These may include:

  • procurement.
  • national safety.
  • Regulators.
  • GIRFT.

At this stage a number of carefully-chosen founder members should be invited to ensure the alliance is manageable in the establishment phase, with a view to expanding membership later. UKOA is UK-wide and a mix of different sizes and types of unit were invited to join rather than starting with only the large specialist providers. To be as inclusive as possible the alliance founder member invitation included influential organisations such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the College of Optometrists. This was to ensure there was strong multidisciplinary professional input and active patient and external stakeholder involvement.