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Youngsters take over hospital as part of Takeover Challenge!

Young people from Westfield Primary Community School took over the running of York Hospital today (Thursday 22 June), as part of the Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Challenge.

The event gave young people the chance to 'takeover' parts of the hospital for the day.  In doing so, they got to experience what it's like to be in a real work environment and take on important responsibilities.  The children also had the opportunity to ask questions about how decisions are made and understand the affect these decisions can have on young patients.

The 30 young people from the school spent the day taking part in many activities, including an inspection of the Children’s Ward in order to feedback how the trust can make the environment better for young patients.  They also learnt about different therapy techniques which included lessons on sign language and anatomy, discovered more about healthier eating from the hospital dieticians and took a behind the scenes visit to A&E.

All the children received a hospital lunch, the same food that is served to children who are in hospital, and they were joined by the Trust’s chief executive, Patrick Crowley.  During lunch they had free rein to ask Patrick questions which ranged from wanting to know the best part of his job, how often he sees patients, what he would change about his job and why didn’t he wear a tie!

Vicky Mulvana-Tuohy, Childrens Therapy Manager at the Trust, explained more:  “Giving children a voice and seeing everything through the eyes of a child is really important in helping us to make improvements.

“Today’s Takeover Challenge has been hugely successful and an exciting engagement project which, for the first time, saw the Trust opening its doors to young people to allow them to take over adult roles.

“The children have brought so many fresh ideas, imagination and energy to the areas they visited - the Trust will certainly benefit from their fresh perspective.  All the staff were delighted to have met each and every child - they were a pleasure and a credit to their school.”

The children taking part in the challenge were selected via a school application process.  They had to explain why they should be chosen for the trip and what they hoped to benefit from it.  Many expressed an interest in a nursing career, whilst others were wanted to come along so they could find out how to cure illnesses.

Headteacher, Mrs Tracey Ralph, Westfield Primary Community School, said: “Our school strongly believes that children come first, so we were delighted to be chosen to take part.  Ensuring that young people get involved, have fun, learn new skills and exercise their right to speak up on the issues that affect them is so important.” 

The children were asked for regular feedback during the day in order to capture their thoughts and ideas through creative sessions with the hospitals children and young people therapy team, the arts team and the Trust’s patient experience lead.

Two of the lucky youngsters who took part were Caroline Kalucka and Oxana Bolshova, aged 11.  Commenting on what their three favourite things of the takeover challenge were, Caroline said: “My first favourite thing was the lunch as the food and service were both amazing.  I’ve also really enjoyed meeting the staff who have all been very lovely.  And thirdly, just being allowed to be in a hospital and see how departments work day-to-day.”

Oxana added:  “I’ve really enjoyed being allowed to talk to patients, doctors and nurses and finding out about hospital stays and jobs.  I’ve also really enjoyed exploring the wards and finding out that more goes on in a hospital than you imagine.”

Patrick Crowley, Chief Executive, said:  “Today has given us a valuable insight in to what young people need whilst in hospital.  It is important for us, as adults, to remember that the young people we care for have different perceptions and needs, which we must take in to consideration so that we can continually improve the quality of care we provide.”

Some of the children will be coming back to the hospital in July to give feedback to the Trust Board about their findings.

22 June 2017

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“Giving children a voice and seeing everything through the eyes of a child is really important in helping us to make improvements."

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Looking down a long bright hospital corridor with treatment rooms on the left and windows on the right. At the bottom of the corridor is one member of staff in a blue nursing uniform

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