Effective consultations help people give and receive good quality healthcare. But too often these conversations are difficult or frustrating for clinicians and for patients – especially if those patients are young people.
TalkLab's Better Conversations programme came out of truly collaborative work involving young people, their clinicians and their carers. It aims to help all these groups get the most out of consultations through the conversations they have with each other.
If you are interested in using Better Conversations, the information below gives you everything you need to get started.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Who is Better Conversations for?
The Better Conversations programme is for all healthcare professionals interested in improving the well-being of young people through better communication during their medical consultations.
The resources on this page are designed to help you get the programme running in your workplace.
Who designed it?
Better Conversations was designed by the very people who are involved in - and affected by - the paediatric consultation process: young people, clinical staff and their parents and carers. This was achieved through a series of interactive, facilitated workshops, deliberately arranged on 'neutral ground' away from a hospital setting. The workshops aimed to build a shared understanding of what gets in the way of effective communication and, later, to think about what could be done about it.
A small coordinating group handled the logistics of setting up workshops and translating ideas into a finished product. However, Better Conversations is, in a very concrete sense, a product of the participants themselves: in addition to contributing to workshops, many gave permission for video footage of their stories, experience and ideas to be used in the final website.
What does the programme consist of?
The programme consists of:
The Better Conversations website for health professionals, available at www.talklab.nhs.uk This brief online training uses videos to cover the major issues that can arise during consultations with young people and their parents/carers. It gives tried-and-tested strategies to tackle these issues, actively involve young people in making decisions about their care, and promote effective communication.
Promotional materials for use by staff and patients in outpatient clinics. These aim to help create a culture in which consultations that actively involve young people are not only expected but actively championed. The materials include promotional leaflets, posters, staff lanyards and DVDs for use on waiting room screens.
A step-by-step guide to using Better Conversations in an outpatient clinic. The principles can easily be adapted for any setting.
Help staff get trained - Make sure all staff know about the Better Conversations programme and have completed the online training website at www.talklab.nhs.uk. Certificates of completion and lanyards printed with the TalkLab logo are available for staff who complete the training. Lanyards help identify Better Conversations-trained staff to young people, promote awareness of the programme amongst staff and, importantly, help foster a shared sense of ownership of the process towards 'getting consultations right'.
Set up the clinic environment - Display posters and leaflets in waiting rooms so that patients, parents and carers are aware they can expect a high standard of consultation. If you have display screens in your waiting room, you can use the TalkLab DVD. Put posters in clinic rooms so clinicans are reminded to apply Better Conversations principles.
Welcome patients by giving them a TalkLab leaflet on arrial at reception. The leaflet gives patients an insight into what they should expect from their consultation and how they can make their “voice” heard.
Run your clinic
Gather feedback - Collect feedback from staff and, if possible, patient representatives, and use this to further refine and improve the experience for young people.
Do I need permission to use Better Conversations?
No, but we'd love to hear from you if you do.
Get in touch and let us know how you're getting on.
Posters, Leaflets and Other Resources
Quantities will vary by setting, but as a rough guide we recommend:
1 X A3 poster per clinic room (and a few spares)
10-20 X A5 posters to be scattered around the waiting areas
1 or 2 DVDs for the plasma screens
50 Lanyards for staff members
Leaflets for every clinic patient (to be printed on hospital printer)
Access to the training website is free and is available courtesy of NHS London and the London Deanery.
Support materials are available to purchase at the following prices:
A5 posters for waiting areas – cost for 2 posters on one A4 sheet – 75p
A3 posters for clinic rooms – cost per poster – £1
Patient leaflets – download free of charge
DVDs – optional – £25 each
Lanyards – optional – £1.50 each
Alternatively, to reduce costs, posters and leaflets can be downloaded for free and printed at your hospital or local printer.
Recommended ordering quantities
300 x A4 leaflets
(Hospital to print)
25 x A3 posters
(For clinic rooms)
20 x A5 posters
(For waiting areas)
2 x DVD
50 lanyards for staff
Leaflets should be printed and/or copied double-sided.
Download or order posters
Alternatively, you can order posters direct from our supplier:
DVDs can be ordered direct from our supplier: