The Community Children's Health Partnership (CCHP) was, at the time of the research project discussed in this chapter, a partnership between North Bristol National Health Service Trust (the NHS Trust) and the children's charity Barnardo’s. Working in close collaboration in service design, delivery and evaluation, the ambition was to provide equitable and integrated care with a focus on participation and the voices of children and young people (CYP) from the outset. Along with the health services provided by the NHS Trust CCHP included a dedicated participation service called HYPE (Helping Young People to Engage) delivered by Barnardo’s.
The CCHP was a case study for Louca-Mai's doctoral research on ‘embedding children and young people's participation in health services and research’ (Brady, 2017). The authors were involved in an action research project which sought to develop and embed participation across all CCHP services and identify learning to inform the development of CYP's participation in the development and delivery of health services. At the time Emily was the Barnardo's Participation Manager and had been involved as a key partner in the CCHP from the outset, and Felicity and Lizzy were involved through the HYPE project as young advisors. The project involved health professionals, young people and Barnardo's participation service working collaboratively to develop a strategy and framework to support children's participation in the organisation.
This chapter starts by outlining the background and methods used in the project, before exploring the lessons from this project for the involvement of CYP in health policy and services from both professional and young people's perspectives. We also consider events which took place after the completion of the project, when the CCHP was recommissioned and restructured, highlighting the risks of competitive tendering and NHS commissioning processes on the embedding of CYP's participation in health services. This chapter also draws on a previous publication by the authors (Brady et al, 2018).
The CCHP participation story
The CCHP was a partnership between the NHS Trust and Barnardo’s, contracted from 2009 to 2016 to deliver children's community health services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. It employed over 800 staff in mental and physical health services including CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), health visiting, school nursing, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, community paediatricians and seven specialist services, including an inpatient adolescent unit.