Inspirational young patients attend first youth conference at Evelina London

Posted on Wednesday 24th August 2016
speakers at the inspiring youth conference

The inspirational young people who spoke at the conference.

Patients shared how they have helped improve the care which young people receive at Evelina London’s first ever youth conference.

The Inspiring Youth conference on Wednesday 17 August celebrated young people’s involvement in improving patient care.

Janet Powell, Director of Nursing for Evelina London, told those attending the conference: “Being in hospital can be an intimidating experience for children so we need to be sure we are doing all we can to make our young patients feel comfortable.

“It is really important that young people feel they have the confidence to speak up, if they are not happy about something or if they have a suggestion for how we can improve the work we do. It is equally important that we listen.”

Some of our speakers who are young adults now had experienced difficulties when moving from being under the care of children’s services to adult services.

Two former Evelina London patients, Safiyyah Rahman and Kerry Conley, spoke about how their feedback led to an academic paper being published which has helped to improve adolescent patient care.

Thanks to their work, Evelina London now holds patient days where young people meet with the team caring for them and give feedback on their care, including what they feel needs changing.

Safiyyah said:  “I was a long-term patient at Evelina London and, when I turned 18, I had to transfer to a ward for adults which was a scary experience. I had known the team caring for me at Evelina London for years but the new team was completely unfamiliar and there was no one of my age to talk to.

“Kerry and I are both members of Evelina Pride, a group set up to help teenagers in hospital make supportive friendships, so we know how important it is to have other people our age to turn to.

“We started asking other young adult patients how they felt about their care and we found that they felt just as frustrated as we did. We wanted them to know that their opinions counted so we decided that an academic paper would be the best way to bring our research to healthcare professionals.”

Liam Islam, an Evelina London patient and member of the NHS Youth Forum, spoke about launching a Twitter campaign called #DearNHS. 

He said: “We needed an easy way for young people to let government decision makers know what they wanted from their care. By using a hashtag campaign on Twitter we can collect all the responses together and send them straight to Downing Street. It was a great way to make sure that our voices could be seen and heard by everyone.”

Patient engagement helps shape the way that care is given at Evelina London and we hope that the conference, organised by the Evelina London engagement team, will inspire more young people to get involved with how their healthcare is delivered.