“Having a young person’s voice at the centre” — the impact of engagement on child health services
RCPCH &Us is the voice of children, young people, parents and carers, created to actively seek and share their views to influence and shape policy and practice. Joanna Boxall is a junior doctor who volunteered with RCPCH &Us, interviewing participants about their involvement in engagement projects.
RCPCH &Us have applied a youth social action model to set up a diverse network of projects and seek change in various exciting ways. This supports children and young people (CYP) to lead their own solutions to challenges they have identified, working together whilst developing skills for life. The projects include CYP across the UK, often in partnership with families, carers, and clinicians. Each group has a different focus, but all are united in a common commitment to improve the experience of healthcare for CYP.
Here, a selection of RCPCH &Us projects, including the Engagement Committee, the Epilepesy12 Youth Advocates, and the COVID book club, illustrate the importance of listening to CYP and ensuring their voice is heard. Through these groups, CYP are given an opportunity to learn about their rights, work with others and express their views, and become a part of offering solutions and shaping change in child health services. What one can learn from participants in these projects and the examples of changes they give, is that increased engagement leads to empowerment. The CYP involved with these projects are confident, motivated, and keen to form partnerships to make an impact; they convincingly demonstrate how engagement can be a great tool to help ensure that paediatric services reflect their needs, and ultimately improve child health. Each group has identified key issues facing CYP, and proposed ways to make changes to services and attitudes.
To read the full article within RCPCH Insight: Perspectives on paediatrics and child health, written by a trainee following interviews with RCPCH &Us on children and young people’s engagement please access the link to the website: