Young people sought to have their say on NHS health services.

Published on
08 February 2024

Barnardo’s and NHS England have joined forces and are looking for young people aged between 14 and 24 years-old to speak out on the health issues that matter to them to help shape mental and physical health provision in England.  

The NHS Youth Forum, which is now being run by Barnardo’s alongside NHS England, has launched a recruitment campaign to find new members who will help to inform, influence and bring innovation to NHS practices for their peers.  

After recently being appointed as a partner for the NHS Youth Forum, Barnardo’s is working with NHS England to recruit new members who are keen to speak out about health issues and become involved in decision-making processes to help shape future services and practice. 

Members of the Youth Forum work to gather the views of other young people across the country by running surveys and deliver recommendations to NHS England. Previous findings have influenced policies relating to healthcare inequalities and primary care. Other reports have been shared with the United Nations Committee for the Rights of a Child.  

NHS Youth Forum members will also regularly attend meetings and participate in discussions with NHS senior staff and decision-makers. This gives them the opportunity to learn and develop skills including team working, public speaking and building self-confidence.    

Josh Harsant, Barnardo’s Head of Voice and Influence, said: “At Barnardo’s, we recognise the importance of giving children and young people the opportunity to have their voices heard on the issues which matter to them most. Therefore, leading the NHS Youth Forum is a very natural fit for us.  

“We hope the forum will champion key issues and provide real insight into how to provide solutions which will be both effective and sustainable for generations to come. So, if you or a young person you know is passionate about improving health care for children and young people and wants to help make a difference then please do get in touch.”   

The NHS Youth Forum was established nearly 10 years ago to give children and young people the unique opportunity to share their views on how physical and mental health services are run across England. Working with young people and communities is critical for the NHS to create a health and care service which works for people of all ages. 

Alongside the forum, 11 to 24-year-olds can also apply to be part of the wider NHS Youth Advisory Network. The network is consulted on key health issues impacting the NHS but in a more informal manner, such as through video calls. Barnardo’s and NHS England are looking to double the number in this network to 100 in the coming months and recruitment into this network is ongoing.  

Duncan Burton, NHS Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “Listening to children and young people and engaging them in decisions that affect their health and care is crucial. Their voices bring fresh insights and perspectives that ensure services meet their needs effectively. 

“For nearly a decade, young people have been working with the NHS and directly influencing health policy in significant areas such as asthma, healthcare inequalities and mental health. They have made a difference to the lives of other children and young people, and we are thrilled to be continuing this important work in partnership with Barnardo’s. 

Applications to join the NHS Youth Forum and the NHS Youth Advisory Network can be made here. The closing date for the NHS Youth Forum is Monday 4 March 2024.

Notes to editors  

Last year Barnardo’s provided essential support to over 357,000 children, young people, parents and carers through more than 790 services and partnerships across the UK.  

We provide vital support to the children and families who need us most, to help with a range of issues including mental health, child sexual abuse and children in care.  

We listen to children and young people and work to bring about positive change so that they can have a brighter future. 

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Call the 24-hour press office number on 020 8498 7555.  

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