NHS Midlands is on a mission: to better inform NHS strategy, operational procedures, and service enhancements by harnessing the perspectives of young individuals. 

As part of this mission, Participation People, worked with NHS Midlands to build a planned approach to engaging youth voices in healthcare operations. Through collaboration with Participation People, they embarked on a comprehensive assessment of youth voice in healthcare and devised a bespoke benchmark and youth engagement roadmap for implementing recommended changes across the region’s 11 Integrated Care Systems (ICS).

The primary aim was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the effectiveness of youth engagement in decision-making processes, which could subsequently inform strategic planning, operational execution, and service improvements.

Youth Voice in Healthcare Audit and Roadmap with NHS Midlands

To achieve the project’s ambitious objectives, Participation People project employed a multifaceted approach that combined one-on-one interviews, surveys, focus groups, and SMS pulse polls. These activities engaged senior responsible officers (SROs), commissioning leads, healthcare professionals, and young people to unearth insights into what was functioning effectively, areas that needed improvement, and gaps in youth engagement structures.

  • Conducted 11 interviews with senior executives across all 11 NHS Midlands Integrated Care Systems (ICS)
  • Surveyed eight other NHS professionals
  • Ran an incentivised survey and SMS poll, with 93 young people aged 11-25

On top of this, a thorough desktop review deep-dived into NHS national guidance, models, reports, NHS Midlands ICS websites, and strategy and forward plan documents. The review highlighted both positive aspects and identified gaps in the trust’s existing practices, including traditional approaches, limited case studies, and insufficient exploration of innovative platforms for youth involvement.

Key Findings and Recommendations

With young people’s insight, we supported NHS Midlands to focus on:

  • Six strategic areas to strengthen youth engagement across the trust.
  • Seven operational areas that young people felt could be improved.
  • Eleven gaps to modernise Youth Voice across Healthcare throughout NHS Midlands.  

A comprehensive list of youth-informed recommendations was given to NHS Midlands. These were prioritised and divided into actions at both the system and regional level and the provider level, addressing crucial areas such as inclusivity, communication, feedback mechanisms, educational initiatives and empowerment of young people, with young people. Specific recommendations included devising strategies to eliminate barriers, placing emphasis on digital engagement and creating clear feedback channels.

Looking ahead, their vision encompasses a range of engagement methods, collaborative efforts across sectors, and seamless integration of patient voices. Aspirations for true co-production, a dynamic digital forum for young patients, and a digital forum for parents and caregivers underscore their commitment to sustained progress – where the voices of young individuals confidently resonate throughout the healthcare journey.


The Youth Voice in Healthcare Audit, Benchmark and Roadmap project left a profound impact on the NHS Midlands CYP Voice Experience and Insight Group, infusing their discussions with enthusiasm and motivation. Their commitment to positive change was evident as they delved into the findings and recommendations. 

  • The group engaged directly with young individuals
  • Proposed local initiatives
  • Advocated for improved information dissemination

With invaluable insights and recommendations for enhancing youth engagement within NHS Midlands, provided by the PP team through incorporating the voices of young individuals, the project aimed to cultivate a more inclusive and responsive healthcare system for NHS Midlands.

For access to the summary report, click .

Would your healthcare organisation benefit from a Youth Voice in Healthcare Audit and Roadmap? To learn more about how we can help you get in touch here.


“We have had the pleasure of working with Participation People for almost two years. They have led on the delivery of two Young Reviewer projects around Diabetes and Epilepsy in the Midlands Region. 

Participation People have demonstrated their expertise in supporting young people to review how youth-friendly these services were, culminating in co-production events and final reports for regional colleagues to use as standard.  

This work has been reinforced by an additional project around Children & Young People’s Voice. Participation People conducted an Audit and Benchmarking activity with leads from our Integrated Care Systems. This will help embed the voice of Children & Young People within ongoing health transformation work taking place across the Midlands Region. “

  • Louise Melbourne – Children & Young People’s Project Manager