A dedicated waiting room for young people attending medical appointments has been opened.
City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and Together for Children worked with young people from the Change Council to design the new waiting room, which is a more private space for those aged 13 and above to socialise and have fun.
The Children’s Centre in Durham Road in Sunderland previously only had one waiting room for children of all ages.
The new room is focused more around younger children and feedback had shown that teenagers were less likely to attend appointments because of this.
With money donated from the City Hospitals Charitable Fund for Children, Niall Quinn Children’s Charity and the OK2 Looked after Fund, the centre has created a dedicated teenage room including a football table, sofas, flat screen TV and music.
There is also age appropriate information about health and wellbeing on offer as well.
Dr Kim Barrett, consultant paediatrician and designated doctor for safeguarding and looked after children, said: “All Looked After children in Sunderland have to attend either six monthly or annual health assessments, depending on their age.
“We have seen a decline in the number of teenagers attending the clinic, so we have worked with Together for Children, Sunderland (children’s services) to see if we could identify the cause of this.
“Using patient feedback and talking to looked after children on the Change Council, it was quickly apparent that many of the young people felt uncomfortable sitting in the same room as younger children and felt bored.
“Thanks to charitable donations, we have been able to develop a dedicated space for these young people, to improve their overall experience of visiting the centre and in turn encourage them to attend appointments.
“Huge thanks to everyone that has been involved in the project, especially the City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust looked after children health team, Together for Children Sunderland and especially the young people, who have worked so hard make the young people’s opinions become a reality.”
Jane Wheeler, participation and complaints manager at Together for Children, said: “The young people in Change Council really enjoyed working on the project to design a new waiting room at the Children’s Centre.
“The new room is a fantastic space and they should be really proud that their efforts have been rewarded with a welcoming space that will be used and enjoyed for years to come.”