A representative from the NHS Youth Forum and co-chair of this year’s Expo National Quality Board explains how it’s time for policy-makers, commissioners and providers to start listening to young people:
In recent years, the NHS focus has been concerned with the health of adults and the quality of care this group receives – but what about the future health of children and young people?
There are over 11 million people under the age of 18 living in England right at this moment – this means that around one in five of us are children, teenagers or minors. But do young people have an equal say in their NHS, the same as other demographics? I believe it’s something that needs to be addressed.
The NHS intends to provide ‘quality healthcare for all’ and, with the publication of the Five Year Forward View, it’s evident NHS policymakers are open to new ideas of how to involve people in their own wellbeing and healthcare. But what this looks like can mean different things between theory and practice.
There are certain groups – such as young people – who don’t have easy access to ‘game-changing’ policy decisions, who wouldn’t have any idea of how to translate their GP or hospital experience into a review, or voice a discussion to make real change in the NHS.
This needs to change. Why? Because it’s from these groups of people where innovation and inspiration are born; from their experiences in clinics, wards, the operating theatre, in schools, out on the street and even online.
It’s time we established ways in which these critical experiences can be communicated to those designing the future of the NHS, otherwise new policies will not represent the true voice of our children and young people population.
This means involving our elderly, young children, working adults, disadvantaged, ethnic or LGBTI minorities and young people, because the United Kingdom is a family of diverse people from all walks of life.
At Expo 2017, The National Quality Board and NHS Youth Forum will hold a special meeting on what quality healthcare really looks like for children and young people. This will be co-chaired by Sir Bruce Keogh, myself, and Rosie Glossop from the NHS Youth Forum, and will cover how to make services effective for children and young people; the future of digital health care for young people and how we can help tackle the rising problem of AMR.
So if you’re committed to playing your part in ensuring a strong foundation for young people’s health then come along to our special NQB/Youth Forum mash-up – we’ll be at Expo on Monday 11 September, 14:30 to 16:00 in Theatre Room 1. See you there!