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Young people have their say on the future of children’s health in Bedford

21 October 2013

Bedford students are getting involved in the consultation process to determine the future of children’s healthcare in Bedford.

Sophie Meech, 17, Kirsty Wicks, 19 and Connie Dedman, 17, are all studying for qualifications in childcare at Bedford College. All three have joined a ‘stakeholder forum’ which brings together doctors, parents, politicians and young people to help Bedfordshire CCG draw up the different options for delivering children’s health care.

“It was daunting but exciting and other members of the forum were really positive about having us there,” said Connie, having never been involved in anything like this before. Sophie even cancelled her driving theory test to go to the first meeting. “It was so interesting, we got so much information,” she said.

The forum has looked at why the services were withdrawn in August and meetings have included round-table discussions and Q&A sessions. All three students have had the chance to ask pertinent questions about children’s healthcare and put forward ideas.

Kirsty was so inspired by her first meeting that she went home and researched the entire consultation process. “Before the meeting we had no idea why they had closed the ward,” Kirsty said. “We went there believing a completely different version of the story.”

The students all have strong views on children’s healthcare in Bedford, having experienced the services themselves. They agree that strong communications are vital during the consultation process. “I suggested an open day,” said Kirsty. “[BCCG and the hospital] need to advertise what they are doing so parents know.”

All three students are spreading the word to their classmates and families, encouraging them to get involved in the consultation too.

BCCG launched the consultation process in September, and has since spoken nearly 600 local people, held 16 focus groups and meetings, and held two stakeholder forums. The pre-consultation survey has been completed by nearly 300 people so far. The formal consultation period will start on 11 November.

To find out more about the paediatric consultation process, and have your say, please visit: www.yourhealthinbedfordshire.co.uk

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