Objectives The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual solutions to enable continuity of health services for those with acute or long-term medical conditions. Doctors needed to rapidly change their ways of working to continue to provide good access to health care via in person appointments, phone or video consultations.1
Organisations such as NHSE and RCGP rapidly produced guidance to support professionals in the principles of safe video consulting, however these did not fully explore the issues which more pertinent to children and young people, including access, consent and confidentiality, or potential safeguarding risks including those associated with virtual examinations, receiving, capturing and storing images.2, 3 The YPHSIG worked with interested organisations to produce a statement to raise these issues with clinicians but there was still a gap in the information available for children, young people and their families.4,5 RCPCH &Us COVID Book Club, a youth led project on life in the pandemic, also identified that there was a need for clear information about accessing online or phone appointments.6,7
Methods Doctors from RCPCH, RCGP, RCPsych and BASHH worked with young people from Central Beds Youth Voice and RCPCH &Us to create a leaflet for young people.8 Initial drafts, produced by clinicians and informed from COVID Book Club, contained large amounts of information, but with the help of young people who said ‘It’s too long, it needs to be shorter, colourful and really clear to understand’9 it was refined and key messages teased out. The design ideas provided by young people were then taken forward and the final leaflet produced.
Results The two-page leaflet has been widely publicised and well received. Young people involved in the work said ‘This is so much better than the first version, I think it’ll help people my age loads, it’s great to see things changed from what we said before‘10 Clinicians have said ‘Great resource launched by @RCPCH_and_Us providing useful information on health appointments for young people’11
Conclusions The pandemic saw a change in the way health services are offered to children and young people. It is important that the principles of accessibility, patient choice, consent, confidentiality and confidentiality, environment, attitudes, values and safety are as understood by clinicians and children, young people and their families for virtual as they are for in person appointments and this collaborative leaflet will support with this.
The Lancet. Schwamm LH Virtual care: new models of caring for our patients and workforce. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/landig/article/PIIS2589–7500(20)30104–7/fulltext
NHSE/RCGP Principles for supporting high quality consultations by video in general practice during COVID-19 https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0479-principles-of-safe-video-consulting-in-general-practice-updated-29-may.pdf
NHSE. Key principles for intimate clinical assessments undertaken remotely in response to COVID-19 https://www.gmc-uk.org/-/media/files/key_principles_for_intimate_clinical_assessments_undertaken_remotely_in_response_to_covid19_v1-(1).pdf?la=en&hash=0A7816F6A8DA9240D7FCF5BDF28D5D98F1E7B194
YPHSIG. Digital by Default or digital divide? https://www.yphsig.org.uk/resources-1/adolescent-healthcare/communication-skills/joint-statement-on-virtual-consultation
BMJ. Virtual consultations: young people on screen—but still not seen https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/09/20/virtual-consultations-young-people-on-screen-but-still-not-seen/
RCPCH &Us. COVID-19 Book Club https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-book-club
RCPCH &Us. COVID-19 &Us. https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/covid-19-us-views-rcpch-us#virtual-health-services
RCPCH &Us. Health appointments advice for young people. https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/resources/health-appointments-advice-young-people
RCPCH &Us Voice Bank, unpublished. For access contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sexual Health Sheffield. https://twitter.com/SHSheffield/status/1535174281520418816
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