Engaging with Young Health Consumers

Amplifying the Youth Voice

New framework seeks to improve and increase engagement of young health consumers

Thousands of young people access health services across Queensland, both those specific to young people as well as adult-oriented services. Despite this, young people are often not involved in decision-making processes for the design, development and implementation of health services they access.  Health Consumers Queensland is delighted to share with you the first component of our forthcoming Youth Engagement Strategy: Amplifying the Youth Voice: Health Consumers Queensland Youth Engagement Framework.

The Framework, launched on Friday 14 May by John Wakefield, Director-General, Queensland Health, has been developed with young people, and is a starting point for improving and increasing engagement of young health consumers in the Queensland health system and beyond, with the aim of better health services for young people and a health ecosystem that values the voice and involvement of young people.

The project has also developed the Youth Engagement Action Plan Consultation Draft and targeted stakeholders are currently providing feedback on this.

About the Project

The Health Consumers Queensland Youth Engagement project aims to provide a strategic approach to amplify the voices of young health consumers in the development and delivery of health services across Queensland. The project brings together 24 young people, the Youth Reference Group, from across Queensland, to guide and work together on three main deliverables:​​

    • Engagement with young people across Queensland about their experience of COVID-19, the barriers to engagement and priorities for health services.
    • The development of a young health consumers network for Queensland, and
    • A strategy aimed at increasing engagement with young people in the development and delivery of health services.

Project Communiques and Reports

You can read more about the work of the project in the Youth Reference Group Communiques. This includes some info on the project, key updates and an intro to some of the Youth Reference Group members.

The full Youth Poll results can be found here including the barriers young people experience when accessing health services, their ideas about what should be prioritised for young people and what they’re looking for in health services.

Our Kitchen Table Discussion report describes the high level results from the Kitchen Table Discussions and the co-design process we used. There are quotes from young people about the barriers they experience, access to services, their view on the changes to services during COVID-19 and what young people want from health services.

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Latest updates

Young consumers present to Queensland Health’s Senior Leadership Forum

HCQ’s Youth Reference Group (YRG) have set a new bar for engagement after their presentation to Queensland Health’s Senior Leadership Forum (SLF) which is chaired by Dr John Wakefield, Director General, received broad support from Chief Executives and Deputy Director-Generals right across the system.

Anja, one of the YRG members explains: “Breanna, Lachlan and I had the honour of presenting to the Queensland Health Senior Leadership Forum on 13th July to encourage investment and commitment into amplifying the youth voice across Queensland. We presented the work of the Youth Reference Group (YRG) which has worked collaboratively to develop the Youth Engagement Framework. read more…

Youth Health Forum May 2021

Youth Health Forum May 2021

The Youth Health Forum discussed the actions required to put the framework into action and pathways to creating a broader network for young health consumers in Queensland. Two key activities included further feedback on the draft actions and the exploration of networks using art.

Project Activities

Youth-led Kitchen Table Discussions:

The Youth Reference Group members facilitated six Kitchen Table Discussions (KTDs) in their communities with the purpose of hearing from young people across Queensland about their experience of COVID-19, the barriers to engagement and priorities for health services. Overall 29 people participated in the KTDs. The average age of participants was approximately 22 years. Their health experiences were varied.

A number of themes emerged including:

  • health literacy
  • inclusive care
  • access and affordability of services and
  • key topics like sexual health and mental health

Conducting a Youth Poll:

In parallel with the Kitchen Table Discussions, the Youth Reference Group conducted a brief online Youth Poll in December 2020.

The poll was conducted using Google Forms, and was accompanied by a video with voiceover instructions (completed by YRG member Breanna Medcalfe) and was promoted on the HCQ eAlerts and the Facebook page as well as emailed to key stakeholders. The poll was open from late November to mid-December 2020. ​​

There were a total of 30 responses from young people aged between 16 and 25 years. There were 12 views of the video.​

Brainstorming the Engagement Strategy:

The Youth Reference Group came together online to brainstorm the engagement strategy. Using Trello as a tool, the group used a ‘sticky note’ approach to coming up with bluesky objectives, aims, a vision, actions and outcomes. They then refined these in the online Slack channel, paving the way for the final vision, Framework and the Action wishlist.

Creation of the Youth Reference Group:

An initial call for expressions of interest received nearly 30 applications from young people in Queensland. Although the first plan was a for a group of 6-8 young people to lead the project, the level of interest led to the decision to review the budget in order to include all young people interested in participating.

The majority of those participating in the Youth Reference Group are from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, as well as Central Queensland (Charleville and Blackall) and North Queensland (Townsville).​​

The lived experience of the group is broad with 14 young people identifying as having a disability or chronic condition, eight young people who identify as LGBTIQ+ and six young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Two young people identify as being from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.