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Who is this leaflet for? This leaﬂet is for young people who use health services such as hospitals, family doctors (GP), dentists, mental health services, sexual health services or counsellors. It explains your right to be heard and taken seriously. You have a right to be: • Treated with respect at all times • You should be consulted and your views taken seriously whenever decisions are made about you • You should never be treated unfairly because of your ethnic origin, sex, any disabilities, your religion or beliefs or your sexual orientation or identity What should i expect from the doctors and other health Workers? Doctors and other health workers must always take your views into account when they are making decisions about your health. They must only make decisions that are in your best interests. They should always tell you: • What illness they think you have • What treatment they want to give you, including if it will hurt • What the risks are of any treatment, and what the risks are if you don’t have it • If you might need to go be in hospital. You also have the right to see your doctor on your own. if you are in care, you should have a medical examination after you come into care (which will include checking on your mental health) and have regular check-ups at least once a year. if you are seeking asylum, you also have the right to free health care, and to have an interpreter if you need one. If your application for asylum
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has been refused, you may still be allowed free health care – your lawyer or doctor will be able to advise you about this. An asylum seeker is a person of any age who has had to leave his or her home country to find a safe place elsewhere. Your right to confidentialitY (privacY) No matter what your age or situation, information about your health is private and must be kept conﬁdential. This means that health workers such as doctors, dentists, nurses and counsellors cannot share information about your health, even with your parents or carers, without your permission. There are certain cases when conﬁdentiality may be broken, for example if you are in serious danger of being hurt or abused, or if you have refused treatment for a lifethreatening illness. In these cases, a doctor or counsellor may contact social services to make sure you are kept safe, or they may contact your parents to get consent for treatment. They should always tell you this is what is going to happen. For more information on this see our Guide to Confidentiality for Young People giving Your consent (permission)? Health professionals need your permission (called consent) before they can give you treatment. If you are under 16 you have the right to make your own decisions about your health if you are thought to have enough understanding to consent to medical treatment. If you are unable to make decisions on your own your parents or carers will be able to make them with you or on your behalf. For more information see our Guide to Consent for Young People. Your right to look at Your health records? No matter what your age, you have the right to see any records that are held about your health. If the information is wrong, you have the right to get it changed. You can also ask an adult to get your health record on your behalf. Your request to see your health record can only be refused if the person in charge of your care instance a doctor or psychiatrist)
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thinks that knowing the information might cause you (or someone else) serious harm. This can only happen if you do not already know the information you are asking to see. Your right to comment of health services provided for You In the health service we want to give you the best possible care and treatment. But there may be times when you think we could do better. Sometimes you may even want to tell us about something we’ve done well. Whatever age you are, you have rights when it comes to your health including: • the right to have your say and to be listened to • the right to complain if you are unhappy about something we’ve done. We want you to tell us if you have a comment, suggestion or concern about your health care. The law says that the health services in your local area (known as the NHS Trust and the Primary Care Trust) must ask for the views of the people (including children and young people) that use their services. You also have the right to make a complaint about any physical or mental health services that you have received. If you want to make a complaint, you have the right to an advocate – an adult that will help you get your voice heard and get your views across. Your local health services should give you information about how to make complaints and where to get an advocate if you need one.If you tell us how you feel about the care you receive, we can make changes so that the health service is better for you and for other young people. What can i have a saY about? You can tell us about anything that is important to you. We want to hear your feedback – tell us what you think by giving us any comments, ideas and suggestions you have about the health service. • You may feel that health workers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other people who look after your health) haven’t given you enough information about your care or treatment.
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• Maybe you think that there should be more services for young people. • If you’re in hospital now or have been recently, you may want to tell us what you think about the food or the ward. • You may think that health workers should listen to you more, and talk to you as well as to your parents. These are just examples. You can tell us what you think about anything to do with your care. Remember, you can tell us about good things too! hoW can i have mY saY? There are lots of ways to make yourself heard. For example, you can: • speak to any health worker looking after you about how you feel • put your comments in a suggestion box • talk to your parent, guardian or another adult you trust. You can ask them to tell us what you think if you don’t want to do it yourself. • give your feedback directly to your local health board, which is in charge of health services in your area. hoW to make a complaint or give feedback We know things don’t always go right. If you’re really worried, upset or unhappy about something we’ve done, you can make a complaint. First of all, try speaking to one of the health workers who is looking after you. Sometimes a problem can be sorted out on the spot. If you don’t want to do this, don’t worry. there are other ways to complain. You can: • speak to someone in charge (for example, on a ward you can talk to the nursing sister or matron) • complain directly to your trust - every trust has a department that deals with feedback. They're keen to hear your opinion. You can make a complaint in person, by phone or in writing. To get the right contact details you can:
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• ask any member of staﬀ about how to make a complaint • phone the NHS helpline on 0800 22 44 88 (text phone 18001 0800 22 44 88) • visit your trust’s website • look for the leaﬂet Making a complaint about the NHS which has contact details for complaints teams in your area. getting involved Health services have a duty to ask young people about the health services provided for them. This includes being consulted on big projects, such as building a new hospital. If you would like to get involved in helping build better health services for young people there are lots of diﬀerent ways you have your say. For example: • Completing patient surveys and questionnaires • Taking part in a discussion groups or being interviewed • Helping to recruit and interview staﬀ • Being a member of a youth representative board or similar group • Helping to design young people friendly hospitals and clinics • Being a mystery health shopper • Being an expert patient There are many diﬀerent opportunities and possibilities—ask a member of staﬀ for more information. Most services will have one or more ways for you to get involved.
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This leaﬂet is produced by the Young People’s Health Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. In line with ‘You’re Welcome Quality Criteria’ (Department of Health). Young people aged 11-19 years have participated in the design and development of this leaﬂet. You can download this publication or order copies on line at: www.yphsig.org.uk and www.rcpch.ac.uk