The 17th  September 2023 is World Patient Safety Day 2023 and the theme this year is ‘Engaging Patients for Patient Safety’. At WEPHREN, we are using this as an opportunity to consider and hear from people with lived experience of imprisonment. The WHO through the slogan “Elevate the voice of patients!”, calls on ‘all stakeholders to take necessary action to ensure that patients are involved in policy formulation, are represented in governance structures, are engaged in co-designing safety strategies, and are active partners in their own care. This can only be achieved by providing platforms and opportunities for diverse patients, families, and communities to raise their voice, concerns, expectations and preferences to advance safety, patient centeredness, trustworthiness, and equity.’ There is no reason why imprisoned people should not also be involved in this way.

Below, Dani Plowman outlines how children and young people in the children and young people secure estate in England are working with an NGO to ensure that their voices are effectively heard in the development of health and wellbeing services. Dwayne Antojado from Australia gives a powerful talk about his experiences of healthcare in prison. His wise words, ‘leave your ego at the door’, should be heeded by all professionals working in health and justice. 


Working with children and young people secure estate in England

NHS England, along with a range of partners, are conducting a health and wellbeing needs assessment (HWBNA) of children and young people in the children and young people secure estate (CYPSE).

The project aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the health and wellbeing needs of children in these settings to inform future policy and commissioning arrangements. A steering group has been established comprising of professionals and policymakers across the CYPSE to guide the project.

Children in the CYPSE often have complex needs. They are more likely to have experienced adverse childhood experiences, experienced trauma, have issues in developing secure attachments and have unmet and multi-layered needs [1].  

The HWBNA will bring together several key sources of data to inform us about the health and wellbeing needs of children in the CYPSE. Firstly, existing national data sources have been mapped and analysed. Secondly, focus groups have been conducted with professionals that care for children in the CYPSE.

Lastly, NHS England has commissioned Leaders Unlocked to undertake engagement with children in CYPSE settings to find out what matters to them with regards to their health and wellbeing, how being in the CYPSE affects this and how well their needs are being met. Leaders Unlocked are using an innovative method of engaging with children, running workshops in small groups to build a realistic fictional character who is a child in the CYPSE. Children will work with Leaders Unlocked to define the character’s needs and experiences  and will have an opportunity to highlight what their top priorities are to improve health and wellbeing in the CYPSE in the future.

All three sources of data will be brought together to produce the HWBNA report and recommendations. Following quality assurance from the steering group and input from children in the CYPSE on the recommendations, the report will be published by NHS England.