NHS England Youth Forum has produced a useful guidance document called The NHS Youth Forum’s Top Tips To Involve Young People in Healthcare Planning  (the document is available in print from NHS England – england.engagement@nhs.net). With over 15 million people in England aged under 20 years (25% of the population), the NHS needs to reach out to young people and enable them to become involved at all levels of the healthcare system. On Twitter you can follow the forum @NHSYouthForum.

The top tips for including young people include:

  1. Strategic input – involving young people in decision making
  2. Go out and listen to existing groups – e.g. local colleges, youth councils
  3. Be proactive and reach out – make sure to include groups which are missed e.g. those with disabilities, traveller communities
  4. Co-produce, consult and engage – public consultation events
  5. Embrace social media – reaching out and also researching youth online blogs and presence to see what concerns them
  6. Appoint youth ambassadors – example from East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust shown below

7. Training for commissioners and young people

8. Work with partners such as third sector organisations and Healthwatch who are already working with young people

9. Develop the future – raise awareness about working for the NHS and volunteering

10. Get recruitment right – NHS Employers produce toolkits on involving young people in recruitment.