Understanding what matters to young people about healthcare in north east London

At the end of July, the Babies, Children and Young People’s team was joined by 15 youth advisors from across north east London to understand what matters to young people about healthcare.

The interactive session provided an opportunity for young people to discuss what’s important to them, and their peers, regarding health and social care. They talked about transparency of information and better communication between young people and clinicians, improved access to services and better understanding of how to access them, fuller conversations around sexual health to help remove stigma, privacy and confidentiality, and respect and compassion for different needs and identities.

Together, we took the time to understand what the new Integrated Care System will do to change the health and social care landscape – bringing organisations closer together and tackling some of the issues mentioned around improved access to services and a more joined up approach between services. 

Alongside exploring what matters to young people, it was important to understand how they would like to engage and participate in making decisions and improvements in these areas. Collectively the group had rich discussions around meeting them where they are, and not where we expect them to be. They discussed peer research and engagement, being involved with participation strategy design at an Integrated Care Board level and involving more youth groups and community organisations they are familiar with and trust.

Kath Evans, Director of Nursing, Barts Health and Clinical Lead for Babies, Children and Young People’s Programmes in North East London attended the workshop and said “having the opportunity to join young people in a youth friendly setting and chat about their healthcare needs and experiences of accessing services gave us the opportunity to reflect on what works and what could be better. They shared the memorable moments of kindness and connection offered by professionals, demonstrating how these stay with young people. Those who take the time to listen, explain and check out understanding are key influencers in young people’s lives. We’ve clearly lots more to do in make healthcare more accessible to young people, yet we should never underestimate the moments of connection that are within all our gift to create consistently positive healthcare interactions, alongside amplifying their on-going involvement in the design and delivery of services across the ICS.”

The workshop provided much insight and understanding on how we can do things differently for and with young people. What was clear was that we need to involve them more in decision making and utilise their lived experience to make improvements to experience and outcomes.

One young person said, “I enjoyed how intently I was listened to. I was taken seriously and not disregarded and I really enjoyed the discussion and the range of viewpoints given by everyone”.

This workshop was the first step for the Babies, Children and Young People’s programme on delivering the new North East London Integrated Care System Working with People and Communities Strategy.