Young people help guide the future of healthcare

Like the patients we care for, we are always learning, growing and exploring in an effort to deliver the highest quality care for children, young people and their families, and who better to guide us in this pursuit than our patients themselves?

Youth Week is an annual celebration of young people and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network is acknowledging the important role they play in shaping services to create a supportive, inclusive and respectful environment - growing together for children, young people and even their families.

“I have learned you are never too small to make a difference” Greta Thunberg.

We are working ‘together more than ever’ and a passionate group of current and former patients who make up the Network’s Youth Council are committed to transforming the future of health care for young people; their voices are strong and can be heard in the many changes made and services enhanced with their expert guidance include like Trapeze, ChIPS and the Art Program. One of those voices is that of Cooper Fenton.

Cooper is 16 and has been a member of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Youth Council since 2017.

Meet Cooper

Why did you get involved?

I originally got involved due to my experiences in the hospital, I have been in the hospital system from birth and have always wanted to give back, and this is just the beginning.

What are your top aims in the Youth Council?

My aim for joining and participating in Youth Council is to have a voice and give back to others and myself. The most important topics I find important are:

  • Ensuring that we as patients are treated as people more than problems
  • How the care provided can be altered for specific age groups (babies, toddlers, children and adolescents), and
  • Ensuring that the transfer process for children from the children’s hospital to adult’s hospital is smooth and non-traumatic.

What are your top achievements as a Youth Council member?

Some of my favourite achievements is collaborating with the HUSH Foundation, where they turn children’s experience about hospital into music, and I had the honour to talk at the Australian Association for Adolescents conference, talking to healthcare professionals about how important youth voices in healthcare.

How have you felt empowered as a Youth Council member?

As a Youth Council member, it is always empowering to have people approach us to review their work or to ask us questions, but it is also very empowering to know that we as a youth council member are treated seriously, and are known about. The staff that assists and works alongside us treat us like we are employed, and let us speak about our experiences and our ideas.

The Youth Council is an amazing opportunity I have had the honour to do.

Join our webinar

If you have received care at Sydney Children's Hospitals Network and are preparing to transition, join our webinar to learn about some of the key things you need to know about moving into adult healthcare.

The webinar aims to help you understand self-management principles, how to get ready for transition and how your transition to the adult system will work.

When: Wednesday 12 May
Time: 6.00pm - 7.00pm
Register here