Ask the boss

Forget about Gordon Brown and David Cameron, senior staff at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital were subjected to some tough questioning from the Youth Forum in their very own version of Question Time.

In January the Youth Forum were lucky enough to have a question and answer session with the senior management in the Foundation Trust, including the Chairman, Peter Mount, and the NHS Northwest Medical Director, Mike Cheshire. Youth Ambassador, Tiphanie Adam, tells us what happened.

Sitting on the teen zone's comfy sofas, we began by everyone introducing themselves to the group. The Youth Governors, Saklain Farooq and Abu Suleman, informed the group of any meetings they had recently been to
where they were representing the Youth Forum.

I also gave a report about a Children and Young People Staying Healthy conference that the Youth Governors and Ambassador attended in London. Many ideas came out of the conference on how we can improve the hospital service for young people, such as starting the transition process from children's to adult services from as young as 11 or 12 and making sure staff talk to young people as young people and not children - asking appropriate questions and building a relationship with them.

The Youth Forum had prepared questions to ask at their previous meeting in November. We did this by discussing issues and problems in the hospitals and deciding on the points that were the most important and should be raised with the senior management.

We asked how communication between staff and young people could improve. It was suggested that if we have set questions that all young people get asked about their general health it would be better. This way people will always be used to the questions that will be asked, and this will hopefully reveal any potential problems more easily than if the patient waits until the issue is brought up.

People often complain about the price of food in the hospital shops and cafes so we asked why it was so expensive and how could this change. In response the management said how lots is being done to improve the hospital meals and when the Ronald McDonald house is opened there will be lots of facilities for parents who stay there to cook meals.

The Youth Forum asked how people could be educated about where to go for treatment and advice in the NHS, as too many people go to A&E and not enough to drop-in centres and pharmacies.

The meeting was a really good experience and lots of ideas came out of it. The Youth Forum was very pleased the senior management came and is looking forward to their next meeting.


"The meeting was a really good experience and lots of ideas came out of it"