Everyone is agreed that young people need to be involved at all levels of our healthcare system, from shaping the care they are receiving at the front line right up to co-designing and inputting to strategic change.

However, our understanding of what is actually happening on the ground within the system is somewhat lacking. NHS England’s Children and Young Peoples’ Transformation Team commissioned AYPH and Dr Louca-Mai Brady at the University of Hertfordshire to map the territory and provide an understanding of what we do and do not know about best practice in this area.

Today we are publishing an evidence scope and a report of our own research into what is happening in the system. Echoing other reports dating back two decades, our conclusions were that we need better accounts of what is going on, more resources dedicated to these kinds of activities, and some serious investment in evaluating impact.

These conclusions do not need repeating and – although we say it ourselves – provide us with nothing new. What we urgently need now is action to improve the evidence base.  As a result we’ve also drawn up a list of recommendations for improving the situation.  AYPH is committed to helping develop capacity in this area, by documenting what is going on, supporting organisations to do youth engagement, and providing a comprehensive training programme.

Author: Ann Hagell

May 2024