Young people’s ideas help shape local health services

Young people in Bradford are influencing how NHS money will be spent to drive up quality and innovation in local healthcare services.

A group of young people who have experience of using Bradford District Care Trust’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have been working with Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to highlight what matters to them in using mental health services.

With support from Barnardo’s participation co-ordinator, Nicola Swales, the young people identified a number of changes and improvements which could be made to services, based on their own experiences. Their ideas are now being considered by the CCG as part of a scheme to improve quality in local services.

One of the main issues identified was the need for an improved transition process as people move from young people’s to adult mental health services.

The CCG is now considering the group’s ideas as part of the commissioning for quality and innovation (CQUIN) scheme, which means service providers get extra funding if they significantly drive up quality and innovation in certain services they offer.

Nicola Swales said being involved with the CCGs was a very positive experience for the young people as they felt their views were being heard and acted on. “It’s really important to involve children and young people in how health services are designed, planned and delivered because they are the actual patients experiencing the services,” she added.

Max Mclean, lay member for patient and public involvement at Bradford City CCG, said the young people’s involvement was a great example of the CCG learning from real-life experiences of using local services.

“Their suggestions for improving mental health services shine through as really clear and well thought out: exactly the type of information we need to hear about to help us make commissioning decisions for the future. This is a great example of patients directly influencing the way services are provided.

“World Mental Health Day is on 10 October – a reminder to everyone of the importance of good mental health and wellbeing; so it’s fantastic that we have local young people leading discussions on such an important topic as mental health, and that their ideas are being looked at as possible areas for CQUIN funding.”

Mark Vaughan, locality manager, at Bradford District Care Trust, said: “We are passionate about improving our mental health services for young people across the district and already work closely with Nicola and the U Can B Heard young people’s group to make participation a reality in shaping services. We welcome the opportunity to do more work with the CCG and local young people to make further improvements.”