Next generation speak up to give Sunderland’s youth a voice in healthcare plans

Chairman Oliver Graham, seated left, and fellow members Grace Maughan, Liam Thompson, Georgia Nye, Archie Elwell, Ellie Milburn, Ellie Gutcher, Nathaniel Dickinson, Riya Stephen and Reema Jacob.
Chairman Oliver Graham, seated left, and fellow members Grace Maughan, Liam Thompson, Georgia Nye, Archie Elwell, Ellie Milburn, Ellie Gutcher, Nathaniel Dickinson, Riya Stephen and Reema Jacob.

A team of 10 will help health bosses in Sunderland put their generation’s care in the spotlight.

The Young Persons’ Group is made up of 11 to 20-year-olds who have joined up with City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust to improve healthcare and look at how people of their age can access services.

It’s important staff and adults do not assume what children and young people want or understand, but instead work collaboratively with them.

Michelle Milburn

It was launched with the support of the trust chief executive Ken Bremner and director of nursing and patient experience Melanie Johnson as they talked about why their views are important

The group will meet with representatives for a few hours a month at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

It was set up following the Care Quality Commission document Not seen, not Heard, which highlighted how the young should be at the heart of services.

Achievements so far include better paediatric rooms, with the team now helping to draft up information for their peers.

Georgia Nye, 16, from North Hylton, said: “I initially came to the Young Persons’ Group to keep my friend company and so she wasn’t alone but the more I went the more I enjoyed it and the more I realised I could make a difference, I’m now considering going in to a career within the NHS.”

Michelle Milburn, safeguarding children’s nurse advisor who oversees the group, said: “It’s fantastic to have such an enthusiastic group involved in how we deliver services to young people and to help with research and children and young people living in Sunderland.

“It’s important staff and adults do not assume what children and young people want or understand, but instead work collaboratively with them.”