Young people want control over consent, confidentiality and comment

Rowan Munson and Amy Frounks, members of the NHS Youth Forum, share details of the latest campaign they plan to launch at Expo 2015:

At our first NHS Youth Forum residential in 2014 we pinpointed the fact that health care rights were not often explained to young people.

Consequently they had conflicting information around important issues relating to Consent, Confidentiality, Comments and Complaints, or giving feedback about the services that they receive.

Confidentiality, consent and feedback are vital elements to every individual’s health care, including children and young people.

Just like adults, we want to make decisions for ourselves so it is vital that we are aware of our rights, especially in relation to these three areas.

If these aren’t understood, barriers can be created, limiting access to services, and resulting in a poorer experience of care. Whilst children and young people don’t have quite as much life experience, we still have valid rights, we have opinions and feelings and we deserve the opportunity to be listened to and have that feedback acted on.

Amy says: “When I eventually realised I had a right to confidentiality and was of the age and competency level where my parents didn’t have to be involved in all my appointments, and didn’t have to know the ins and outs of every conversation (especially in mental health services), I felt more comfortable to express my thoughts and was able to progress more and achieve better outcomes.

Rowan adds: “Knowing my rights around accessing my records meant I felt able to ask for my GP and Hospital records during a period of painful illness. During this time I was referred and self-referred into various primary and secondary care services. The records I kept avoided me having to explain things over and over again – which was a challenge in itself when you’re in that much pain! It also meant that doctors could discount possible diagnoses and not have to repeat tests, saving money too. If I hadn’t known that I could request my records, I wouldn’t have asked for them.”

We’re incredibly pleased the NHS Youth Forum was able to address these three areas and we have developed a set of posters and a leaflet about these issues which you will be able to see at Expo 2015.

We hope the information is clear and in language that is accessible to other young people so they can be aware of their rights and responsibilities.

We firmly believe that by promoting young people’s rights it empowers us to take ownership and responsibility for our health and care. As young people we can proactively seek out the best services to treat us, and become more confident in talking to healthcare professionals, helping professionals to do their job better and improve outcomes and experience.

We hope these simple posters, written by young people for young people, will help others achieve better outcomes and make experiences within the NHS as good as they can be.

Will you help us? Please print and display the posters in your areas for young people to see, and why not share this blog and links with colleagues too? Thanks!

  • You can find out more about our work by following us on Twitter @NHSYouthForum Importantly, we don’t just talk about improving things, we get on with it and we’re really excited to share our latest campaign.
Rowan Munson

Rowan is committed to making sure young people are heard in healthcare issues. For six years he has represented young people, locally at the district and county councils, Patient Participation Groups & his Clinical Commissioning Group, including founding Surrey’s youth representation platform.

He says his interest in health issues started after he was ping-ponged through several departments, in several organisations.

After the publication of the Chief Medical Officer’s “Prevention Pays – Our Children Deserve Better” report, he took up the mandate to ensure that services meet the needs of young people.

He is looking forward to helping put young patients at the heart of services for children and young people.

Amy Frounks

Amy Frounks is a member of NHS England’s Youth Forum, a young person representative in NHS England’s Children and Young People rehabilitation working group and an NHS service user.