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Involving young people in service design
  1. Sharmila Parks, MRCGP, DFSRH
  1. Salaried General Practitioner, Encompass Healthcare, Galleries Health Centre, Washington, UK; Sharmila.Parks{at}

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I read with interest the article Garrett and Kirkman et al. 1 wrote on the limited success of the pilot telemedicine sexual health service and their reflections on needing more advice from what young people thought to have got it right.

A 2008 UNICEF statement entitled ‘Young People: Partners for Health’2 written by an international group of young people states: “Young people need to be at the forefront in the development of primary health efforts” and urges all to act upon their recommendations so that young people get involved as partners in primary health care.

We have recently started trying to work more closely with young people at our practice. They have explained to us why some of our “excellent” ideas would not work for young people and have given us interesting and innovative solutions to problems.

The 2012 Report of the Children and Young People's Health Outcomes Forum3 highlights the benefits of involving young people in service design. It comments on the fact that “public services that involve and listen to children and young people find the result to be better services, better informed consumers and overall, better value for the investment”.

In this new era of Clinical Commissioning Groups and a cash-strapped health service, the findings of Garrett and Kirkman1 are an important lesson for us all to take note of and learn from.


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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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