Bid to get young people's views on healthcare in Northumberland

Efforts are to be made to engage with young people and find out what they think about healthcare in Northumberland.

Sunday, 15th September 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 19th September 2019, 2:22 pm
Picture c/o Pixabay

Healthwatch Northumberland is the independent champion for people who use health and social care services in the county and so it relies on the wider community to find out its needs, experiences and concerns.

Presenting the organisation’s annual report to Thursday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing board, its chairman David Thompson was asked by Coun Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services, how much engagement there was of young people.

Mr Thompson said: “It’s not always easy. The issues which are raised tend to be from older people or those who are ill.”

He explained that there was some money still available this year for commissioned reports and one is planned to be on hard-to-reach groups and is set to include young people.

“They shouldn’t be hard to reach, but they are,” he added.

Coun Daley suggested that the council’s youth cabinet was potentially a good route for engaging young people.

Claire Riley, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s director of communications and corporate affairs, said that the trust also had a children and young people’s group, while Liz Morgan, Northumberland’s director of public health, mentioned the children and young people engagement panel, which aims to coordinate efforts so that they aren’t bombarded with different surveys.

The Healthwatch report revealed that its annual survey was completed by almost 800 people; 30% more than the previous year, while more than 4,000 people accessed its advice and information online or got in touch with questions about local support.

It says: ‘A major focus of our work this year has been in north Northumberland. This is because of proposed changes to the way that health services are delivered in the area, particularly in Berwick and Rothbury.’

Based on its survey results, the organisation’s priorities during the year ahead will be mental health, GP services and access to services more generally.

Healthwatch Northumberland’s annual conference takes place on Wednesday, October 16, at the Phoenix Theatre in Blyth, from 10am to 3.30pm.