A new website - www.getyourrights.org - is shining a light on an often overlooked fact: that children and young people have a right to high quality healthcare by the NHS.
The website, produced by the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) at the National Children's Bureau, provides everything children and young people need to get the most out of the health service including an interactive guide to their rights under the NHS Constitution and videos from children, young people and professionals explaining the importance of applying those rights in practice.
Developed with the input of over 100 children and young people - including disabled children, and those with long-term health conditions, mental health issues and those in local authority care - the online resources are designed to improve understanding that NHS services must be accessible toallchildren and young people.
The website, funded by the Department of Health, highlights the many rights that children and young people have within the NHS, including the right to:
- Have the most appropriate treatment for their condition, based on the evidence
- See their health records and change them if they are wrong
- If staying in hospital overnight, to be on a ward with other young people.
- To have their health and treatment clearly explained
- To have a say - if they wish - in decisions about their local health services
- To be supported during the transition to adult services.
The Get Your Rights website also brings together resources that can help health professionals improve how they uphold children and young people's rights within the health service, as well as information and advice for parents and carers.
Amy Frounks (17), a Young CDC and NHS Youth Forum member who helped develop Get Your Rights, said:
'Like many, I wasn't aware that an NHS constitution even existed until this website was created and therefore had no idea what my rights were. Now I am aware, I feel more confident in making decisions and getting involved in my own care and I think that others will feel the same. Being aware of what your rights are within the NHS is vital for everyone, including children and young people.'
Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children said:
'Understanding their rights in the NHS can give children and young people the confidence to speak out when important decisions are being made about their health, and insist they have the information they need to make the best choices. Until now, those rights were often presented in documents that young people simply didn't want to engage with - this website puts that right. We hope that doctors, nurses and other health professionals will also draw on the information here, so that services better reflect the needs of the children and young people who rely on them.'