Evaluating the impact of involving young people in developing children's services in an acute hospital trust

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Abstract

Aims and objectives

The aim of this paper is to reflect on how an acute hospital trust involved a youth council comprising 17 young people aged 11–18 years to improve children's service delivery in one NHS trust in the UK.

Background

Over the last decade, there has been an increased emphasis on the active involvement and participation of children and young people in the decision-making processes that affect them. However, one challenge in involving users in acute hospital trusts is how their views are used to develop services. For this reason, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, UK (University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust have given permission to have their name cited in the publication of this article) recognising the emerging national patient and public involvement agenda, planned and developed a youth council for the Trust in 2006.

Process

The process of setting up the youth council is outlined. An evaluation workshop took place with 15 members of the youth council and their views are incorporated around three specific areas:

Conclusion/Relevance to clinical practice

This paper describes the setting up of a youth council but also discusses the potential barriers and how to overcome them to promote young people's involvement in hospital trust service planning and development. Whilst the focus of the council was young people, the principles are of use to a wide range of clinical professionals faced with similar challenges.

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