Young People With Lived Experience To Shape Healthcare
ProCare, New Zealand’s largest primary health organisation, has appointed its first Youth Advisory Group. The fourteen young people who make up the group will provide guidance to the organisation, based on lived experience, to help improve health outcomes for children and young people across Auckland. The group will also guide implementation of ProCare’s Population Health Strategy.
ProCare Associate Clinical Director Dr Sue Wells says, “data taken from our population health needs analysis, called Our Picture of Health, shows that one in four young people aged 15 – 24 enrolled with a general practice did not visit their GP over a two year period.
“Young people have specific health needs as they move through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood and are at higher risk of substance and alcohol misuse, mental health disorders, or contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). But we also know that being enrolled with a general practice and receiving regular care with the same provider results in more positive health outcomes and it’s therefore so important we understand what barriers to access exist.
“The best people to inform us about what they need from healthcare services are young people themselves. The fourteen young people in the ProCare Youth Advisory Group are from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles and their input will help us to understand how things are for young people now, in particular young Māori and Pacific youth, and what needs to change for them to get the care they need from their local doctor or mental health service.”
Seventeen year old Parekotuku Williams, (Tapuika, Waitaha, Tuhorangi, Ngāti Rangiwewhi) said “I am excited to be part of ProCare’s Youth Advisory Group as a rangatahi Māori who is aspiring to work in the health sector. I want people to understand what matters to young Māori now and the barriers that stop us from easily accessing healthcare.”
The ProCare Youth Advisory Group is an innovative pilot which will run over the next twelve months where 14 young people aged between 14 and 24 will act as ambassadors for young Aucklanders by meeting regularly to provide insight into how young people think and feel about life in New Zealand, with a particular focus on how they like to interact with primary care and mental health services. Information provided by the group will help ProCare to deliver on its goal of increasing ‘Youth engagement with primary care’ as part of its Population Health Strategy.