Earlier this year, a Children and Young People’s Council was set up at St George’s Hospital as a way for patients aged 10-18 to have their say and help improve our children and young people’s services.

The Council met for the first time in January 2021, and now meets monthly via Microsoft Teams. They have already been involved in a number of exciting projects that have made use of their experience and views to make positive changes for our younger patients.

One such example is their work to improve the patient menu for our paediatric wards at St George’s – members of the council attended a food tasting session to provide feedback and suggestions on how to improve the menu and create an even better experience for young patients.

They met with representatives of the Trust’s catering suppliers, Mitie and Apetito, to learn more about how the food is prepared, before sitting down to rate potential dishes based on taste and appearance.

Emily, a member of the Council, said: ““It was really great meeting the teams from Mitie and Apetito. Seeing how foods go through so many different stages to get to a patient was really fascinating and complex. I really enjoyed tasting all the meals as it showcased just how wide a variety there is – catering for patients’ wants and requirements, not leaving anyone out.”

The session was of particular interest to one member of the Council who is keen on pursuing a career as a Dietitian in the future.

Elsewhere, the Council have been working on a new child-friendly information leaflet. Entitled ‘Mumbles and Grumbles’, the leaflet will provide useful information on how our younger patients can feedback to us on things we can be improving on in the future.

As part of their regular meetings, the Council invite a member of staff at the Trust to speak to them about their roles. Dr Simon Drysdale, Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases, attended a recent meeting to tell them a bit more about the work he does.

He told us: “It was a pleasure to meet our Children and Young People’s Council and answer questions across a range of areas – from what my typical day is like, to the patients with different diseases I’ve treated.

“They also asked some very important questions about the Covid-19 vaccine, for example why most children are currently offered one dose rather than two. We’re lucky to have such an engaged and helpful group of patients suggesting ways for us to improve how we care for younger people here at St George’s.”

For more information and to learn more about how to get involved, please contact Rachael Bolland, Nurse Consultant, via Rachael.bolland@stgeorges.nhs.uk