A matron in Hampshire has called for more young people to be given the opportunity to help shape the future of children’s healthcare across the country.
Cath Battrick, from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, claimed the official channels currently available for children and teenagers to find out more about decision-making in the NHS were “few and far between”.
“Young people have not really been given an adequate platform to get directly involved with decisions”
She has spoken out ahead of the launch of the Southampton Children’s Hospital Youth Partnership, a project aiming to give young people aged 10-19 the chance to put their ideas forward and make improvements to hospital services.
“Nationally, young people have not really been given an appropriate or adequate platform to get directly involved with decisions made and offer their input to ensure services are tailored to the needs of their age groups,” said Ms Battrick.
The trust’s new youth partnership, hosted by hospital clinicians and managers, is open to anyone aged 10-19 from the local area.
Those who attended the launch event on 31 January were given the opportunity to meet staff and patients and take a tour of the hospital.
Ms Battrick added: “We have worked closely with our patients to look at how we can… give this important patient group a chance to be represented formally and to have a clear say on how to make improvements.”
Heather Deeley, children’s hospital project manager at the trust, said: “We hope this development will mark a new era in patient and public involvement for young people.
“While youth councils and youth partnerships do exist in some hospitals, availability is patchy and fragmented – so we hope the [partnership] may act as a model on which to base further youth partnerships across the country,” she said.
The trust is one of the largest acute teaching organisations in England, with three sites across Southampton and more than 9,500 staff.