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Thursday 27th October 2016

Let's bring young people to the NHS table

19th September 2008

Sandy Watson, chair of NHS Tayside, stresses the need to involve young people in shaping the NHS.


At NHS Tayside, we feel the needs of a community’s younger citizens cannot be ignored in shaping healthcare.

We have formed a steering group, including local young people, which is now involved in open discussions about youth healthcare needs.

Community engagement is a fundamental part of community planning, a point emphasised by Audit Scotland in its report Community Planning: an initial review.

"It indicates that the bottom-up part of the equation is less well developed, which I believe is particularly true of young people's involvement."

In Scotland, we have a commissioner for children and young people whose role includes consultation with young people regarding policy priorities.

NHS Tayside has a strategic framework for engaging with patients and the public in the redesign and development of its services but involving young people remains a challenge.

However, youth groups in the region have outlined a list of priorities on issues that affect them, such as drugs and alcohol, teenage pregnancy, sexual health, mental health and obesity.

They have also had the opportunity to meet NHS Tayside to discuss the extent to which they can become involved in the NHS Tayside steering group for the engagement and involvement of children and young people.

Future meetings will look at how to develop the Tayside Young People's Health Advisory Group.

Having talked to young people about their involvement, I know they want to help shape policy. The NHS should ignore them at their peril.


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