A lesson in considerateness : involving users in designing a new health centre in Pollards Hill, London Borough of Merton

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Participatory appraisal was used by members of a local health forum to involve users in the design of a new health centre in Pollards Hill, as part of an effort to engage local people in addressing wellbeing challenges in the area. This article describes the process, elaborating on the methods used and the outputs of the participatory appraisal. The participatory appraisal enabled local people to be involved in the design planning of the health centre, as well as to name, reflect on and analyse health service delivery and wellbeing issues in the community. Engaging local people in determining the design of new services and improving existing services spares the authorities complaints. More importantly, it allows authorities to benefit from local knowledge - about what works and what hasn't, about where the gaps in provision lie, about solutions residents know of and about needs as residents themselves see them.

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