Although there is a natural focus in Health and Social Care on financial resources, we know that effective care delivery is equally dependent on good working relationships at all levels – between practitioner and patient, professionals, organisations, commissioners and providers.  Recent debates on ‘compassion’ and ‘trust’ within the health care sector are testament to this.

We believe that taking a systems perspective on strategic change provides an important context for thinking about the nature, measurement and impact of good relationships.

The recent Kings Fund research has pointed out how much patients value good relationships in the delivery of healthcare. WSP are exploring ways to capture this important quality, and to that end met in late November in the beautiful surroundings of Gray’s Court, next door to York Minster, to reflect on our research and early application of an exciting new approach to this challenging issue. In particular, we are seeking to examine the ‘essence’ of relationships and the Relational Value (RV) expressed through the five relational attributes of integrity, respect, fairness, empathy and trust. We were joined on the day by a small group of colleagues from a local council, the voluntary sector and the independent sector; together we explored the emerging framework for evaluating Rv, our early examples of applying this in the field, and the on-going research we are conducting with Leeds University. It was a vibrant day and we really feel the discussions and outcomes can help to energise the complex health and care systems within which we work today.
If you’d like to join the growing network of people interested in this work, to receive a copy of material from the November day, or to have a discussion with a member of the WSP team, please contact us at


Read our blogs:

Relational Systems

Compassion – not just for nurses

 “Thinking about Relationships in Health – more than just a game of billiards”

This part of our website will grow as our research and applications gather pace over the next couple of years:

  • You can find an introduction to our research and news about the appointment of our Research Associate, Dr Paul Grimshaw here
  • You can read about some early examples of our work in this area here
  • You can find links and other useful material about relational thinking here