Young Persons’ Advisory Group

YPAG

What is YPAG?

YPAG is our Young Person’s Advisory Group, a youth engagement group at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital. It is made up of young people aged 11-19 – patients, ex-patients, siblings and interested members of the local community – who are interested in helping shape healthcare services and making them as young person friendly as possible.

We meet twice a month online, via Zoom or Teams, to discuss current projects and often have special guests attend. YPAG do not regularly attend the hospital but there is the opportunity to apply for in hospital volunteering roles as well as YPAG.

Did you know? We’re Award winning! YPAG won a Helpforce Award for Inclusion and Diversity and in Volunteering and a BWC Spirit Award for Outstanding Support Team in 2021, which shows what an incredible difference YPAG can make.

“I joined YPAG to learn and gain experience of working with hospital staff and to help as much as I can to improve the hospital experience for young people. Joining YPAG, everyone was so friendly and I have had lots of opportunities to get involved with all kinds of projects throughout the hospital.”  Arts Lead, YPAG

YPAG team

As a Member You’ll...

  • Be able to attend fortnightly meetings.
  • Get involved in projects of your choosing such as helping improve communication in the hospitals.
  • Get involved with projects bought to us by clinicians and other hospital staff who attend our meetings such as helping with artwork, assisting with PhD projects or assisting with research.
  • Interview for New Staff!
  • Help with teaching sessions.
  • Share your views and watch them make a positive impact.
  • Get involved in BIG projects such as the Big Build, the building of two potentially new hospitals!
  • Go on Patient Experience Walkabouts.
  • Take on Lead Roles within the Group, leading on a particular area. We have roles as Chair, Co-Chair, Research Lead, Communications Lead, Arts Lead, Inclusion and Diversity Lead and Engagement Lead. Lead roles are chosen at the beginning of each year for those interested.

“I joined YPAG to help support the BWC from a young person's perspective as well as learn from other members' experiences. I have gained so much more than I ever expected. I have attended conferences, big build workshops to support new designs for the hospital, sat in panel interviews, met lots of new people and supported many projects. I love being part of YPAG and I am excited for the future of the group.” Communications Lead, YPAG

Who Can Join and How?

Anyone aged 11-19 from across the West Midlands can join, including interested members of the community, patients, ex-patients and siblings. It’s okay not to make every meeting but we encourage you to attend as many as you can and be prepared to commit 2-4 hours a week to support YPAG.

To join YPAG please complete our online application:  online application .

To find out more:

Email us at bwc.ypag@nhs.net

Follow us on Twitter @BWCYouthVoice and on Instagram at bwc_youth_voice

You can call us on 0121 333 6726

If you have any questions or are a healthcare professional who would like YPAG’s help on a project please get in touch!

‘It has been a pleasure to work for BCH on the Magical Journey Arts Project for Waterfall House where we’ve been engaging with children and young people receiving care. Reaching out to young people has been especially important as our vision for the artworks is that they are relevant for all ages, not just aimed at young children as is often the case with children’s projects. YPAG have been so supportive of this fundamental engagement giving valuable insights for young people’s responses to the developing artworks. I’m always impressed by their reliability, enthusiasm and commitment to the work they do, and look forward to YPAG’s continued support as our project unfolds.’ Staff Comment on YPAG’s Work

A Typical Meeting

No two meetings are the same but they generally follow this format:

  • Ice Breaker
  • Special Guest Speech: This can be anyone from the hospital, bringing YPAG a project to work on or coming to talk about what they do.
  • Project Feedback: How are our current projects going? What new things can we be involved with?
  • Play a Game: Finish with Fun and play a game (be warned though, we are competitive).

‘Working with YPAG members has definitely enhanced my research findings and interpretations and their keenness to help and understand more about my research participants experiences has also been hugely rewarding and motivating.’ Staff Member on working with YPAG.

YPAG Q&A sessions with BWC Board members

Raffaela Goodby, Chief People Officer

Our Young Person’s Advisory Group and Think4Brum members have come together to virtually quiz our new Chief People Officer, Raffaela Goodby, asking her about her role, how 2021 will look, plans to include young people in Trust conversations and how to reduce the stigma around mental health.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Trust Chairman

Our Young Person’s Advisory Group and Think4Brum members also had the opportunity to interview Trust Chairman, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh. The six members of the group asked Sir Bruce about how he became Chair, discussed some of his career highlights, his thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic and BWC’s participation with service users and the future.

Quotes from YPAG members

Quotes from YPAG members

‘‘Being a YPAG member has enabled me to develop new skills such as confidence and public speaking. It has given me the opportunity to do things that I never thought I was capable of like speaking in front of a very large crowd and teaching junior doctors how to engage with young people as part of #TeenTalk. I have also acquired highly transferable skills and experiences that will definitely help me later on in life!’’

"YPAG is a very interactive and creative group, which has allowed me to go to Birmingham Medical School, to name a few. Not only do I learn something new every session, but it is opening doors for me, regarding my pathway in Higher Education."

‘‘YPAG has given me the opportunity to try different and new things, it is a well-rounded group that helps you to grow as a person’’

‘‘From personal experience being part of YPAG has enabled me to understand my own care and play an active involvement in improving other Children and Young People experiences. It has empowered me to become a facilitator for further positive change within my community.’’

‘‘I loved being a part of YPAG, being able to sit on panels, go to meetings with staff at the Trust and seeing the results of YPAG’s input make all the difference. Effective youth participation makes all the difference in health services.’’

YPAG lead roles

YPAG want to empower each and every member by giving them the opportunity to develop their passions and gain new experiences. This is why we have certain roles that members can be nominated for; generally we change these roles at the end of every year. The lead roles are:

  • Chair
  • Co-Chair
  • Diversity Lead
  • Research Lead
  • Communications Lead
  • Engagement Lead
  • Arts Lead

#TeenTalk

Flip reverse it: using role reversal to develop communication skills with young people and adolescents. YPAG are involved in Birmingham Children’s hospital unique style of adolescent communication skills training; shaped, developed and delivered by young people. #TeenTalk delivers role play with a twist, with professionals playing the patient and the young person taking on the role of health professional. #TeenTalk won an award in 2019.

What did we do?

Young volunteers, from YPAG and Think 4 Brum worked collaboratively with the Trust to design, rehearse and pilot a range of scenarios covering a variety of common dilemmas such as medically-unexplained physical symptoms, self-harm, and exploitation.

What does this add?

Involvement of young people in developing and delivering training ensures authenticity. The role-reversal approach encourages candidates to reflect on communication skills from a unique perspective enabling empathy.  96% of attendees felt the session was relevant to their clinical practice; 82% felt that it would lead to change in their current practice when communicating with adolescents.

YPAG member quotes on #TeenTalk

“This will definitely help to provide better, well-rounded care for many patients”.

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