Young people's forum to champion youth health

Derren Hayes
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A national network of "youth healthcare champions" who will help develop and challenge health policies affecting young people has been created as part of an initiative by government agencies and the British Youth Council (BYC).

Mental health services for young people will be one of the issues the new NHS England Youth Forum wants to look at. Image: Alex Deverill
Mental health services for young people will be one of the issues the new NHS England Youth Forum wants to look at. Image: Alex Deverill

The NHS England Youth Forum is made up of 20 young people aged 14 to 22 who will draw on their own perspectives and experiences of healthcare services to give opinions on NHS policies, how they work in practice and what can be done to improve them.

The forum is expected to launch on 3 March, and has been developed by the Department of Health (DH), NHS England and Public Health England, with support from the BYC.

It is anticipated that the forum will meet three times a year although much of its work will be done outside of meetings using social media.

A Facebook page for the forum has already been set up, and it is hoped that this will be used to engage a wider network of young people about what they think are key youth healthcare issues.

The Department of Health said the forum’s work will be “decided in partnership” with its members.

It added that more than 180 young people aged 11 to 25 applied to sit on the forum, with the successful applicants coming from a diverse range of backgrounds from across England.

A DH report states: “We are delighted with the tremendous interest shown and quality of the applications. The young people elected by peer review will work with the DH, NHS England and Public Health England to challenge us on the services we are designing and delivering for and with children and young people.

“Key areas of concern being highlighted by young people relate to mental health, transition to adult services and understanding what the NHS Constitution means to them.”

The group will also be part of the wider NHS Citizen Assembly, a network of people and patients working to improve healthcare.

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