Takeover Day 2015 in the North

Back in July we published a blog about NHS England Takeover Day. David and Chris read it and got it touch to tell us about how they are embedding youth voice in their work and their plans for Takeover Day:

Cancer doesn’t have to stop you being young, but if you haven’t lived through the experience at that age then it’s difficult to know how it could change your life forever.

The best way to gain that understanding is to ask young people themselves, and through that conversation you will also learn how services should be working in order to allow those young people to develop into the adults they are meant to be.

The Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Service based at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, has embarked on an ambitious project to develop a participation and engagement strategy which will not only allow the young person’s voice to be heard, but ensure they have a long term impact on the development of services.

It started with the service being successful in gaining a place on the ‘Transforming Participation Workforce Development Programme’. This programme has been commissioned and funded by Health Education North as part of a wider Transforming Participation Project led by NHS England in partnership with the North East Leadership Academy and Academic Health Science Network. The programme is co-ordinated by Northumbria University.

Attendance on the programme has led to the rapid development of engagement with young people in the service, and included a consultation event which we used as an opportunity to begin the participation process. It was a three pronged approach with three different strands:

First, we asked young people to use the ‘Think then Ink’ boards to write their ideas on the best way to get their views across on the services we offer. Also to tell them how we have listened to their views and what action we have taken.

Secondly, we needed to know what young people think about our current services. We had a life-size cardboard figure of a doctor and a nurse and asked young people to simply put Post-it notes on each figure with their view on what made a good doctor or nurse. We intend to do this for each of the professionals within the multi-disciplinary team.

Finally, we have produced some written patient information leaflets, and we used the event to have face-to-face interviews with young people to look at how to further develop the leaflets, including designs for printing.

The report on our consultation day #whatareyousaying is available here.

In order to maintain the momentum we need to keep things fresh and exciting, so we look forward to being involved in Takeover Day 2015, which will take place on Friday 20 November (#TakeoverDay2015).

We have already established a Teenage and Young Adult lead committee who we hope will generate the ideas and organise the activity, and alongside this we plan to launch our publicity materials.

  • If you have plans for NHS Takeover Day we’d love to hear about them, please email
David Short

David Short RN, RNMS, MSc, BSc (Hons), Pg Dip (App.Psych) is Nurse Specialist/Lead Nurse at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is the principal treatment centre for teenage and young adults’ cancer services within the Northern Strategic Clinical Network.

Chris Layfield

Chris Layfield has a BA (Hons) in Youth and Community Studies and is a Teenage Cancer Trust funded Youth Support Coordinator at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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