Youngsters Meet NEAS Board Of Directors

A group of 12 children as young as 8 who have been working closely with North East Ambulance Service, today presented a series of recommendations to the Trust’s Board of Directors on how the service could enhance its approach to young people.

The Junior Inspectors programme concludes a long running partnership between North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and the West View Project, a voluntary funded youth organisation based in Hartlepool and Hartlepool HealthWatch.

During the project, more than 200 young people have had the chance to learn about their local ambulance service and how to save a life.

Presenting their feedback in a formal Board meeting, the youngsters outlined a number of their own recommendations, which included everything from encouraging the service not to use big words when dealing with children and involving young people in planning and delivering the service right through to training call takers to work with children, having child friendly items on board ambulances to occupy young people and the development of a handbook for older children.

Rebecca Ferguson, senior participation worker for the West View Project, said: “It’s been really nice to work with the North East Ambulance Service and see how they have listened to the group and taken the recommendations on board. The partnership that has been formed has also proved to be an excellent link to improving the way the service works with other organisations and the way they include the voice of Children and Young people in their work”.

The project included most recently, some of the group seeing life through the eyes of an ambulance dispatcher, having to choose who should get an ambulance first when faced with life and death scenarios.

Earlier in the year they spent two days visiting the ambulance service where they learned how to stop a person choking, what happens when you ring 999 and why NHS111 might be a good place to start if you don’t know which health service you need.

They received a tour of the Trust’s Emergency Operations Centre, where the region’s 999 and 111 calls are taken, and got to see the inner workings of an ambulance. NEAS also attended the Hartlepool Schools Conference, held at Hartlepool Sports Dome on 27 June where they facilitated group exercises with the youngsters.

And as part of the project, the children had the chance to have a go at CPR, they were taught about the consequences of hoax calls and their teachers were informed about the benefits of installing defibrillators within schools and the importance of teaching CPR to their children.

The Trust’s Board reported how much they welcomed the views of the young people and following the presentation, chief executive Yvonne Ormston, said, “It took a lot of courage for these young people to present their ideas in such a formal setting and they really did themselves proud.

“This has been an enormously valuable project for us and the ideas the young people have presented are all things that we hope to work on.

“We are now looking to develop a resource for paramedics to use with schools at key stage 2 in junior schools, we plan to put together a joint social media video with the Cleveland Police and Cleveland Fire Brigade on hoax calls, we hope to pilot rolling out the NEAS activity booklet in vehicles and we will review and update our health advisor training to incorporate having discussions with young people and how best to modify their language and tone.

“Most importantly however, we plan to continue our outreach work with Hartlepool Junior inspectors and other schools and community organisations to involve young people in our work.

“A huge thank you to everyone has been involved in this project and to the young people for coming to Board today.

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