Article Text

G616 “We want to influence”: An evaluation of the national health service England youth forum
  1. LS Whiting,
  2. SA Roberts
  1. Nursing (Children’s, Learning Disability, Mental Health) and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK



  • Presentation aim: To provide an overview of a qualitative evaluation study of the National Health Service England Youth Forum [NHSEYF] (, commissioned by NHS England[NHSE] and undertaken by the University of Hertfordshire between October 2014 and March 2015.

  • Research aim: To enhance insight and understanding of the NHSEYF, its value, role and impact.

Methods A goal-free evaluation research approach, purposive sampling and qualitative data collection methods were utilised to facilitate the undertaking of two focus groups – one with five members of the NHSEYF (15–21years) and one with five members of the adult reference group that supported the NHSEYF. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with four employees who had played a pivotal role in the establishment of the NHSEYF. A thematic approach (Braun and Clarke, 2006) was drawn on facilitate data analysis.


  • The NHSEYF was formed, primarily, in response to key government documents.

  • The young people, who were members of the NHSEYF, displayed a strong commitment to its work – this necessitated substantive amounts of personal time; they participated in a range of activities, including attendance at the NHSEYF residential weekends, prominent national and local events, engagement with social media.

  • The research revealed evidence of the influence that the NHSEYF work was having at all levels.

  • The NHSEYF young people were able to benefit personally in terms of “confidence building”; “skills development; “empowerment”.

  • A collaborative approach was fundamental – this enhanced dissemination of the NHSEYF work and engagement with the wider community.

  • The publicity that the NHSEYF received meant that members were in demand; this had the potential to impact on other aspects of their lives.

  • Challenges lie ahead:

    • Expanding the NHSEYF work and building regional teams.

    • The need to further evidence the NHSEYF work.

Conclusion The NHSEYF is still in its infancy, but the research revealed tangible examples of its impact – for instance, the members have designed posters reflecting Youth Rights in Health Care (NHSE, 2015). The research confirmed that young people are very capable of participating in decision-making and that they are ideally placed to inform future health service provision.


  1. Braun, V. and Clarke, V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology. 2006;3(2):77–101

  2. NHSE (2015)

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