Matron calls for more young people to help shape children's hospital services

SCH Youth Partnership

A leading matron based at Southampton’s university hospitals 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, matron for Southampton Children’s Hospital, said official channels currently available for children and teenagers to find out more about decision-making in the NHS and how to get involved were “few and far between”.

She spoke out ahead of the launch of the Southampton Children's Hospital Youth Partnership (SCHYP), a new project which aims to give youngsters aged between 10 and 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,” explained Ms Battrick.

“We have worked closely with our patients to look at how we can change that and give this important patient group a chance to be represented formally and to have a clear say on how to make improvements.”

The SCHYP, hosted by hospital clinicians and managers, is open to anyone aged between 10 and 19 from around the local area, with those who attend the launch event being given the opportunity to meet staff and patients and take a tour of the hospital.

Heather Deeley, children’s hospital project manager at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We hope this development will mark a new era in patient and public involvement for young people – a unique opportunity to help shape services in the future.

“While youth councils and youth partnerships do exist in some hospitals, availability is patchy and fragmented – so we hope the SCHYP may act as a model on which to base further youth partnerships across the country.”

She added: “We hope our launch event will attract a number of young people who are interested in finding out more about the partnership and how to get involved, as well as talk to staff about their roles and how they would work together in the future.”

The SCHYP launch event will take place in the Hugh Greenwood Lecture Theatre, East Wing, Southampton General Hospital, on Saturday (31 January) from 11am to 3pm. To register for the event, email schyp@uhs.nhs.uk.

Posted on Wednesday 28 January 2015