Young people speak up about health and social care

Young Healthwatch Brighton and Hove was created in 2017 in partnership with the YMCA Downslink Project, and operates through their ‘Right Here’ project.  The project gathers the unique views of young people between the ages of 16 and 18 with regards to health and social care services within our city.

In recent months Young Healthwatch has been speaking to young people at Sussex University, Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College, the Youth Advice Centre, and the YMCA young volunteers, the ‘Right Here Ambassadors’.

Young Healthwatch spoke with 115 people in total, and you can read about the issues that were raised in their report, here: Young Healthwatch Listening Labs 2017.

Some of the stand out issues for young people are listed below:

  • Young people are keen to praise the NHS and staff; and reluctant to criticise. They are concerned about funding levels for the  NHS; and how privatisation might impact on the provision of future services;
  •  NHS 111 and Sexual Health ‘Drop-In’ advice services are valued; particularly as regards respecting privacy and confidentiality;
  • Young people believe it is difficult to access psychological support services;
  • Young people are concerned about long waiting lists, and treatment thresholds for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and for the Mental Health Rapid Response Service;
  • Young people consider there is a lack of sensitivity towards young people from healthcare professionals;
  • With regards to existing services, in particular NHS 111 and community pharmacies, there is a generally low level of knowledge and awareness among young people.

The report includes feedback and thoughts from young people in their own words:

My mum was left on a trolley in a corridor [in A&E] after surgery for 9 hours due to a lack of beds. So sad!”

“All of the services I’ve used to do with sexual health were brilliant, BUT tampons should be free!”

“The threshold [for talking therapy] is too high, how ‘ill’ do you have to be to qualify for this support?”

Healthwatch and Young Healthwatch will continue to work together to ensure that the views of young people are not lost as the NHS evolves, and we look forward to future projects.

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