The NHS Youth Forum brings together 20-25 young people aged 14-25 who can use their own perspectives and experiences of healthcare services to highlight good practice and develop suggestions for improvement in areas which may need it.
Ethan is a member of CLIC Sargent's Young People's Reference Group (YPRG) and has been supported by the charity through cancer treatment. He shares his experience of the first meeting.
“So last weekend I had the privileged opportunity to attend a residential weekend just outside of Doncaster, filling one of the open seats in the NHS Youth Forum.
NHS Youth Forum explained
“Before I get on to what we actually did that weekend, firstly what is the NHS Youth Forum you are probably asking? So it is the sole youth advisor group for NHS England, Public England and Health Education England.
“We are a group of 20-25 young people who either have a personal experience of the health system or an interest in trying to make a difference in it.
“The aim of the weekend was twofold, firstly to outline the number of different projects and aspects of the NHS which are looking for input from young people.
This ranged from gathering our experiences of rehabilitation after major surgery, to opportunities to get involved in the planning of the NHS 70th birthday celebrations, having input into how NHS England approaches dealing with its core areas of focus for the rest of the year such as cancer, and being a part of the a pool of young person’s technical advisors working on behalf of the World Health Organisation looking to take the UK’s best practise to see if it could be transitioned to other countries .
“So it will definitely be a busy year ahead. On top of that we are also thankful we had time through organised and unorganised activity to enjoy the weekend.
“But the main aim of the weekend, apart from to introduce us to one another, gain an opportunity to share our stories and experiences, and of course get a free hoodie, was to work out what exactly is going to be our one core theme for the rest of this financial year.
“This process began with us dividing into groups around what were our core interest areas. We were then asked to pitch our ideas to the rest of the group.
“From that point on it was all about negotiation and compromise. The joy’s right. So as the final morning came round, there began to be a growing consensus around the broad focus of peer support. What this will look like remains solely at our door step which is a fantastical tantalising prospect.
“When I look back on my life in a few years’ time, I can confidently say that being in the group, with the people in this group, will be one of the proudest achievements of my life.”
Find out more
To find out more about the NHS Youth Forum, please visit the official website. To find out more about how CLIC Sargent involves young people in our work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.