Washington surgery first to receive award for treatment of young people

A team of 'Young Inspectors' recruited for the 'You're Welcome' Quality Criteria scheme visit the Encompass GP Surgery in Washington alongside Pat Smith, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Children's Services.
Photograph Credit: Richard Rayner. North News. A team of ‘Young Inspectors’ visit the Encompass GP Surgery in Washington alongside Councillor Pat Smith.

A new health accredidation scheme in Sunderland based on the views of young people on the standard of treatment they received makes its first award today.

The first ‘You’re Welcome’ accreditation was awarded to Encompass GP Surgery at The Galleries Health Centre in Washington today (April 7) by Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Pat Smith, accompanied by members of the Young Inspectors team.

A team of ‘Young Inspectors’ recruited from across the city by the Council’s Youth Development Group, have been leading the way in assessing health services striving to achieve the ‘You’re Welcome’ accreditation.

It is based on young inspectors’ (13-25) views on the welcome, treatment and customer service they receive from staff and GPs at surgeries and practices across the community.

One of the Young Inspectors, Michael Wolfe,19, from Millfield said: “We appreciate that doctor’s surgeries are very busy places, and appreciated the time given to us by the staff.

“The team were pleased with the steps being taken to make a young person feel comfortable, and to gain their trust which allows people to feel confident and reassured that any delicate information they need to discuss will remain private and confidential.

“We were shown around the rooms and facilities young patients would use. The inspections meant we were able to gain a first-hand perspective of how welcome people would feel on their first visit, and whether it would make them feel comfortable enough to return on a regular basis to access the services provided.”

The ‘You’re Welcome’ Quality Criteria is aimed at making sure that health services are ‘young people friendly’ and meet their individual needs, with health surgeries and other health service providers having to provide evidence showing how they meet the ‘You’re Welcome’ Quality Criteria. This is followed by a verification visit from the Young Inspectors.

The ‘Young Inspectors’ team are a group of recruited from across the local area who want improve the services that young people access and receive. The services they have inspected range from health services to leisure facilities.

Over the course of the last 12 months they have been visiting local health services to assess areas of practice that affect young people.

Councillor Pat Smith said: “What makes these awards so special is the fact that the young people have the final say in the decision to award the organisation with the ‘You’re Welcome’ quality criteria.

“They are the ones who then assess, judge and finally award them to the health services who meet the high standard of care, accessibility and support that they expect.

“Everyone involved with this accreditation project is helping to shape future services, by working with medical practitioners to encourage more young people into their surgeries and services.

“Going to the doctors or seeking medical advice can be daunting for young people. We need to encourage them to come forward and seek help with any problems that they may have, so working together we can do something about them.”

Encompass Practice Manager, Sharmila Parks said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Young Inspectors who have given us lots advice and innovative ideas about how to make our service more accessible to young people.

“We are very proud to have been awarded ‘You’re Welcome’ status. The whole practice team has worked hard to achieve it but we couldn’t have done it without input from the young people themselves.”

One of the ideas put forward by the Young Inspectors which Encompass has plans to support in the future, is for a graffiti art project to get important health messages across to young people as they walk through subways.

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