An innovative engagement and involvement project will see a group of schoolchildren carry out a review of paediatric services at Walsall Manor Hospital next week before giving their feedback to senior healthcare leaders.
The Little Voices initiative has been developed by the Patient Relations & Experience Team at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust which has partnered with Pelsall Village School. The young inspectors will visit Ward 21, Paediatric Assessment Unit, Paediatric Outpatients and the Paediatric Emergency Department.
They have worked on “Little Steps” which is a children and young people’s version of the 15 Steps Challenge – a suite of toolkits that explores different healthcare settings through the eyes of patients and relatives. This approach supports staff to listen to patients and carers and understand the improvements that can be made. It helps to explore patient experience and is a way of involving patients, carers and families in quality assurance processes.
Garry Perry, Associate Director – Patient Relations & Experience at Walsall Healthcare, said: “Our first Little Steps visit will take place next Thursday 27 April and our young inspectors will be experiencing a play session, rating the meals and observing hand hygiene to name just a few of the areas they will focus on.
“We are extremely proud of pioneering this engagement and involvement approach that is a true example of co-design and believe we may be the only Trust to do so. Our Little Voices volunteers will have tabards and clipboards and I know our teams will make them feel welcome and answer all their questions.
“They will report their findings back to the Trust’s senior leaders – including the Director of Nursing – and this builds on work Little Voices have already done around the design of a hand cleaning observation sheet for use by patients when in hospital and ‘All about me’ boards.”
Caroline Whyte, Deputy Director of Nursing, added: “In all my experience in children’s nursing I have never seen anything like this and think it is a really innovative way of improving our patients’ experience.”