An inspiring day in Birmingham - learning through doing

There are wonderful people up and down the country working hard for children and young people. Our trip this week to Birmingham as guests of Partners in Paediatrics provided many ‘light bulb’ moments, as like-minded people got together. This is what we learned…

Kath Evans

From the ever-inspiring Kath we heard:

  • “Children and young people: we need to work with them, for them and advocate for them.”
  • We have started to listen.

Birmingham conference slide

Kath Evans presents the CYP Health Manifesto for Health and Wellbeing from the 2013 CMO Report

  • In the 2013 Chief Medical Officer’s report Our children deserve better: prevention pays, children and young people created a Health Manifesto.
  • Health literacy should be encouraged using paper, digital and social communication – using the language that children and young people are comfortable with. MeFirst was launched yesterday: simple clever ideas to improve health literacy.
  • Think about the rights of young people. Look at the work the NHS Youth Forum did to promote understanding of the rights of young people in the areas of consent, confidentiality and feedback.
  • The friends and family test is now re-designed to include feedback from children and young people.
  • Earlier this year the in-patient user survey showed that high quality experience is reported by children and young people in hospital – while that’s good, it is disappointing that those with significant complex disability and mental health difficulties had a far less positive experience.

Ultimately Kath reminded us that children and young people and their families are assets in the healthcare system – a message we have also heard so eloquently from Sara Hamilton and her TalkLab team.

Forward Thinking Birmingham

This group have the ambitious vision to be ‘the first city where mental health problems are not a barrier to children, young people or young adults achieving their dreams’. We were reminded to design mental health services for children, with children. How do you find out what children want? This was a great illustration of the use of ‘experts by experience’.

The team used social media to generate 35,000 tweets during the consultation process: #0to25yrsMHS. Not only did the commissioners listen to the young people, they also changed the service specification in response to their views. Priorities included improved access to services for children and young people and improved support for families.

A tremendous model has been designed, incorporating all these priorities, and is now being implemented, with a full ‘go live’ date of April 2016. We’d love to come back next year and hear how it’s worked.

Hannah’s story

When things go wrong, when patients feel they want to complain, there is a chance to turn the experience into an extraordinary learning opportunity. This powerful video reminded us all how important it is to see the patient’s perspective; it showcased the wonderful work of Fixers.

Telling the Connecting Care for Children story

Our own story

Mando speaking in Birmingham

We had the valuable opportunity to share the story of Connecting Care for Children (CC4C) and were very interested in the audience’s response. Alongside some very enthusiastic responses we heard:

  • A question about the need to reduce perverse incentives, particularly from Payment by Results
  • Another query about the way we have set up services that promote networks, collaboration and reciprocity (social capital) rather than a ‘drag and drop’ service
  • There was a great deal of interest in our whole population approach – partly the importance of a whole-system design that applies to all children and young people, partly the approach we are taking to validate our assumptions by taking into account patient perceptions
  • Finally, it was lovely to be reminded by Steve Cropper of the importance of learning through doing

Dudley Youth Researchers

A brilliant pair of young people from the 24 Dudley Youth Researchers rounded off the morning. They have worked together and informed us about the many issues that matter deeply to children and young people. Once again, mental health tops the list.

Tim Horsburgh

As Partners in Paediatrics clinical lead, Tim reminded us of the need for a new model, taking us on a tour that included the 2010 Marmot Review, the challenge of the (few) metrics that apply to children and the importance of learning from complaints and when things go wrong. The team in Dudley are developing a model very similar to CC4C and we look forward to seeing how their experience unfolds.

Social media

A workshop on social media reminded us that this is a key way to communicate with young people and stimulated some interesting discussion on the dos and don’ts. Once again, although there are benefits from reading and planning, the most important message coming through was to ‘get on and try’ and you’ll get better with practice – once again learning through doing.