The health and care issues affecting children and young people in Somerset have been the focus of recent Healthwatch Somerset work.

Staff from Healthwatch have been busy around the county – speaking to Somerset’s Youth Parliament to explain the role of the organisation and visiting a CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) participation group meeting to understand young people’s experiences of using mental health services.

Also, Healthwatch Somerset’s first young volunteer has joined the team and the 17 year old student is keen to make a difference.  Tadgh (pictured right), who is currently studying international baccalaureate and wants to go into medicine, said: “I am really interested in what Healthwatch does and I understand the vital impact it has on public services. I want the opportunity to be able to understand all the essential background work for the various health and care services and how they can make a difference.

“There is so much more that happens in the background to holistically create our health service and I don’t want to remain unaware of them.”

New Healthwatch Somerset board member Virginia Roberts joined Tadgh at a Children’s and Young People’s planning day to give their views on what should be in the next Children’s and Young People (CYP) plan for 2019-2021.

Virginia (pictured left) commented: “It was really uplifting to see so many young people giving up a day of their half term holiday to take part in this event.  They all seemed really engaged with the process and their insights were often profound and really thought provoking.

“It is really useful for Healthwatch Somerset to engage in the CYP Plan’s development and hear what young people want from health and care services in Somerset.  Our involvement is assisting us to plan and target our future engagement with families, children and young people so that we can help Somerset County Council and local health services to hear their voices and respond to their feedback”.

Virginia is also representing Healthwatch Somerset on the Children’s Trust Board – helping Healthwatch Somerset be much more informed and engaged in issues affecting children and young people in Somerset.