Over the last decade there has been increasing emphasis on patient and public involvement in different aspects of healthcare activity in the UK and internationally. The importance of involving patients and the public in the re-design of a patient-focused healthcare system has become emphasized and strengthened by recent international health policy and the implementation of recent UK legislation (e.g. Local Involvement Networks). Equally, the imperative of patient and public involvement as a central feature of health services research is being emphasized by its integral role in many research funding programmes and initiatives in the UK (e.g. the Health Technologies Assessment).