Service user involvement: impact and participation: a survey of service user and staff perspectives

Edward Omeni, Marian Barnes, Dee MacDonald, Mike Crawford, Diana Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Over the last 20 years governments around the world have promoted user involvement in an effort to improve the quality of health services. Despite the growing emphasis placed on user involvement in England, there is a paucity of recent studies looking at how service users and professionals perceive the outcomes of user involvement policies. This study aimed to examine the overall levels of participation in service user involvement in mental health services among professionals and service users and ascertain their views on the impact of involvement activity on various areas of service delivery. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of service users and providers within community mental health services. The sampling was carried out across three mental health Trusts, two serving people living in inner-city areas and a third covering a mixed rural/urban population. A questionnaire with closed and open ended questions was used to gather the responses of service users and frontline professionals. As a mixed methods study, the analysis consisted of both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Results: Three hundred and two service users responded to the survey with a response rate of 48%. One hundred and forty three frontline mental health professionals, 26.8% of those approached submitted questionnaires. Almost half of service users (N=138, 45.7%,) and healthcare professionals (N=143, 55.9%) reported having been involved in some form of user involvement activity. Although there were some differences in the responses of service users and frontline professionals, both groups reported that service user involvement was having a positive impact. Conclusions: The findings show that, within the three mental health trusts examined in this study, service user involvement has become widespread and is perceived by both staff and service users to be a good policy. The study had some important limitations. The questionnaire used was based on existing literature, however it was not subjected to psychometric testing. In addition, response rates were low, particularly among professionals. Despite the limitations, the findings are encouraging, offering important of insight into views and experiences of service users and healthcare staff. Further studies are needed to assess and investigate the topic on a national level.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 Omeni et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


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