Healthwatch York have published their report on children and young people’s (CAYP) views of health and social care in York.

Between September 2019 and January 2020 Healthwatch York spent time listening to the views of CAYP aged 8-25 across the city, working with 17 different young people’s organisations to record over 300 responses.

The main findings were:

  • Young people really value the support available to them, but think information about what is available could be improved
  • Social activities and youth groups are vital in supporting young people’s wellbeing
  • Young people value the kindness and compassion they receive from people working in services, but are concerned about long waiting times and that services are overstretched. This makes it hard to develop the sorts of relationships that are key to enabling positive change
  • Children and young people need better access to GP services, dentistry, and early preventative mental health support
  • Communication between services could be improved, including the transition from child and adolescent mental health services to adult mental health services, and there needs to be better access to basic facilities and support to develop key life skills
  • Attitudes towards young people accessing health and care services are inconsistent, and can prevent young people from accessing vital support
  • Young people welcome the wide range of support available in York, especially when those working in services refer young people into the right support service to meet their needs

Healthwatch York have made a number of recommendations. These recommendations include:

  • Improve access to resources in hostels and youth centres, particularly for those young people at risk of homelessness or from more disadvantaged backgrounds, to reduce enduring gaps in health outcomes
  • Provide greater access to services outside school hours
  • Consider creating an emergency dental hub for York, to address the long-standing issues for our population in accessing NHS dentistry
  • GP surgeries working with children and young people to design more youth friendly environments and approaches

This report has already been shared with City of York Council and NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, and feeds into the Children and Young People’s Plan for the city currently being developed.

To get in touch with Healthwatch York, call 01904 621133, email: healthwatch@yorkcvs.org.uk, tweet them @healthwatchyork or find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/healthwatch.york/

For more information about the work of Healthwatch York, or to leave feedback about health and social care services in York please visit: www.healthwatchyork.co.uk. The full Listening to Young People about Health and Social Care services report can be found on the “Our work” page, by clicking on publications, under the Healthwatch York reports tab.

For any young people who have been affected by the current situation, there is still access to online support for mental wellbeing through Kooth, commissioned by Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust.

Kooth is a free, safe and anonymous online support service for young people. This service is available:

Monday to Friday 12pm – 10pm, Saturday to Sunday 6pm – 10pm.

Website – www.kooth.com