Young Persons’ Advisory Group

YPAG

What is YPAG?

YPAG is our Young Person’s Advisory Group, a youth engagement and advocacy 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 Teams, and in person at the Children’s Hospital to discuss current projects and often have special guests attend. We also have quarterly joint meetings with Think4Brum, our young person advocacy group for our mental health service.    

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

YPAG team

YPAG members have been involved in:  

  • Co-design of the Bedspace project signage  

  • Involvement in mental health research within the Trust and with partners including the University of Birmingham  

  • Supporting staff training through developing training packages  

  • Staff recruitment, including on interview panels  

  • Taking part in service improvement events such as The Big Discussion  

  • Black and LGBTQ+ Table Talks  

  • #TeenTalk 

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.

You can apply to join Think4Brum using our online application.

To find out more:

If you have questions, just drop us a short email at  think4.brum@nhs.net

Check out our Twitter –  @BWCYouthVoice  

Or our Instagram –  @BWC_Youth_Voice  

For more information on meeting structure and available roles, see our YPAG welcome pack.

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

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 About YPAG

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.’

“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 

“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 

‘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 

‘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 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”.