As Head of Patient Experience at NHS England for Children, Young People and Maternity, I’m always looking for ways to include children and young people in the commissioning and delivery of services. Colleagues Alice Williams and Nagina Javaid in the Public Voice team are key allies.
So, mug of tea in hand, I’m reflecting on a conversation I had yesterday:
“Takeover Day, what’s that all about?” asked a curious commissioner.
“Well it’s about giving children a voice and an opportunity to influence health services….NHS England has done it for two years now, last year a young person even ‘took over’ part of a speech by NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens at a national communications conference and delivered some of the key messages,” I replied.
“Sounds like something we should be trying locally? How do we go about doing a Takeover Day locally, as I wouldn’t know where to start!?”
“Well there’s a guide packed with ideas to help local teams in setting up their own local events. It tells you about the events we’ve run at NHS England previously. The guide has been written by the Young People’s Health Partnership, a group of seven youth organisations who work with NHS England, Public Health England and the Department of Health to help connect us to young people.”
“So, remind me, where did the idea come from?”
“Well, in England we have a National Children’s Commissioner who promotes children’s rights. It’s currently Anne Longfield. Every year in November the Office of the Children’s Commissioner runs ‘takeover’ activities when organisations are encouraged to get young people involved in the design, delivery and commissioning of services. There’s a bit more information on their website .
“Takeover Days can be run at any time in the year though. November just gives us a focus. Lots of different organisations take part, Local Authorities, the Police and the private sector too.”
“Ok think I’ve got it. Would you like to see some pictures and publicity of the event, perhaps I can encourage providers to get involved and run their own events?”
“That would be brilliant, send us a tweet to @NHSEngland and @NHSYouthForum and if you use the hashtag #TakeOverDay you’ll be able to see what others get up to too.”
Nagina, Alice and I think Takeover Day is a really great opportunity to engage young people in our work across NHS England. They have amazing energy and ideas and it helps build their confidence too, so give it a try ….
…. Now where’s that tea?