Steph Edusei, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Newcastle is confident that the renewed and revitalised Young Healthwatch Newcastle will be a vital part of the decision making process in health related issues and also a key indicator of the way that young people and teenagers look at important issues that affect them.

“It’s really important to learn from the experiences of the young people who use health and social care services and use their input and experiences to help us to represent the whole community.

“ Children and young people often face a range of disadvantages and inequalities. Poverty, disability discrimination and poor housing are some of the challenges they face. The health and social care problems faced by children and young people can also be significant and complex.

We are developing a series of projects and initiatives to improve health and social care services and our young people’s input is invaluable, bringing enthusiasm and imaginative ideas with their own unique perspective.”

The Young Healthwatch will meet regularly at the organisation’s offices in Newcastle and will be led by Mel Bramley and Beth Nichol from Killingworth who at 20, is the youngest member of the Healthwatch Newcastle team.

“Anyone who enjoys meeting the public and doing worthwhile activities like surveys, attending exhibitions and helping with other projects would be very welcome to join us,” she said. “The experience will be particularly good for medical, nursing, social work or research students who need a grass roots grounding in the services available in the city or for anyone wanting to make a difference to health and social care provision in Newcastle.

“It’s a great way to meet new friends and to work as a team and it looks great on future job applications and CV’s too.”

Working with young people has always been high on the agenda for healthwatch Newcastle. Recently, a Wallsend based work placement student from Newcastle College, Corey Hogg (17) helped design a new app that allows social care and health users in Newcastle to access important information about services in the city.

The new app helps people make informed choices about the services available to them. Users can rate and review dentists, doctors, opticians, care homes, and more, and give instant feedback to the Healthwatch team about their experiences.

Anyone wishing to know more Young Healthwatch should ring Beth on 0191 338 5720