Diabetes control in UK children and young people is poor compared with other EU countries, and many young people disengage from diabetes services. This study aimed to tackle this challenge with a community-based, collaborative approach.
The study recruited and worked with a group of young people living with diabetes in Newham, East London, training them in research skills so they could:
- run community workshops
- interview other young people living with diabetes, their families and healthcare professionals
- analyse feedback on how to improve local diabetes services.
The young people involved co-designed the methods and approaches that led to the development of the Young Commissioners model.
This model is a practical example of how to involve young people in commissioning health and social care services. Involving patients and service users in commissioning and designing services makes for more appropriate care, which is more likely to be taken up by those who need it.
This approach can be used by other commissioners and service providers to guide their work on service improvement, including the Young Commissioner webinar series.
The Young Commissioner Webinar Series
Researchers also conducted a qualitative study, exploring how to enhance services to support the self-care of children and young people, clinically considered ‘disengaged’ by diabetes services.
Two diabetes clinics in an ethnically diverse and socially disadvantaged urban area in the UK participated in the study. Eligible participants were young people between 10 and 25 years, living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, who did not attend their last annual hospital appointment.