Children’s charter puts young people at the heart of health service

Monday, 25 October 2010

Children and teenagers have drawn up a service users Charter for Bristol and South Gloucestershire’s Children’s Community Health Partnership (CCHP).

A committee of children and young people came up with six values they believe every CCHP service user is entitled to expect.

They have also starred in a video about the Charter to promote it to other service users and staff.

The Charter states:

  • Children and Young People
  • should have a choice of how information is presented which is easy to understand and age appropriate
  • have a right to be treated as individuals and to not be patronised or judged
  • have a right to be seen by health workers who are welcoming, patient, and understanding.
  • should be given the opportunity to change their health worker and where possible be given a choice of male or female worker.
  • should have a say in what information is shared and with whom.
  • should have a say in arranging their appointments, in places which are clean, comfortable and accessible.

The CCHP was set up in April 2009 as the first of its kind in the country and is run by North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) providing specialist health services and mental health services for some of our most vulnerable children and young people.

NBT has a unique partnership with children’s charity Barnardo’s to deliver some CCHP services through community workers.

The CCHP operates to a set of core values including equality, respect and service user participation.

In line with these core values the Charter places the needs of children and young people at the heart of the service to ensure they are involved in decisions about their care.

Working with Barnardo’s, the service users’ committee came up with the Charter after discussing what they felt was important to them.

Mitchell Hardy, 14, was part of the young people’s committee.

He said: “Being a part of developing the charter has been great, it has been a lot of hard work but it is good to be listened to.

“I have enjoyed working with the other young people and sharing our experiences.

 “I hope the charter will help other children and young people in the future.”

Kevin Hewitt, Director of CCHP, said: "Having children and young people at the centre of our thinking is one of the core values of the Community Children's Health Partnership.

“This Charter is the result of a huge amount of hard work and we are very grateful to the young people who gave their time.

“It is a great opportunity to ensure all our staff understand what children and young people expect from our services."

Anne Goymer, UK lead on Health and Housing for Barnardo’s, said: “The partnership between NBT and Barnardo’s is an amazing example of children and young people’s voices changing the culture of heath delivery.

“One in ten children in our most vulnerable communities have emotional or mental health problems and we must do more to ensure services maximize all opportunities to give them a good start in life.

“We cannot do this without designing services with children at the centre and this is a real example of how it can work.”

The CCHP provides all community child health and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) across the Bristol PCT, South Gloucestershire PCT and Children and Young Peoples Services (CYPS) areas. 

It is the first and largest service of its kind nationally to integrate staff across the traditional organisational and professional boundaries.

The CCHP employs more than 700 staff including community paediatricians, health visitors, school nurses, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, child psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and a range of CAMHS therapists.