Ensuring the needs of children are not forgotten - a perspective on what it means to be an RCPCH Ambassador

Dr Steve Jones is a consultant paediatrician and RCPCH Ambassador for Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire. He tells us how he is advocating to raise the profile of children and young people in his Integrated Care System (ICS).
Steve Jones in scrubs at his workplace

What made you want to become an RCPCH Ambassador?

I suppose I've become increasingly interested in helping commissioners make the right choices.

I certainly acknowledge the difficult balance they face - managing innovations and services across the full gamut of health care but recognise how important it is to advocate for our patients so their needs inform the continual evolution that is an inevitable part of modern health systems. I felt I had something to contribute, and the Ambassador role was a way to do that. 

It’s easy to become disillusioned with yet another reorganisation of health services. Getting involved in a positive way to help ensure children are not forgotten as plans evolve - now that's a real antidote to apathy!

What does your role as RCPCH Ambassador involve?

As I understand it, it essentially involves lobbying on behalf of children and children’s health. There seems to be belief in some circles that because health issues related to children get a high profile in the media improving children’s health services is always a high priority for systems. I certainly think this is not true and the adult-focused nature of decision making often means children are missing from improvement or health initiatives.

My role is to try to look at what initiatives are being planned within the new integrated care systems and then try to tell anybody in the ICS that will listen not to forget the needs of children and their families.

I have found that in my locality, the ICS is bringing together a group of paediatricians and nurses across five providers who haven’t previously been working closely together. Bringing children’s health professionals together in this way can foster collaboration that provides a united front and stronger voice to improve health and outcomes for children which is something an Ambassador can support.

What are the benefits of being an RCPCH Ambassador?

I’ve certainly found it quite fun – getting to know some new colleagues with a common sense of purpose, and the buzz you get from actually helping facilitate a change for the better! 

You also get a life time supply of Ferrero Rocher chocolates1  It's good thing that the ICS is developing a new pathway for the treatment of constipation and the prevention of obesity!

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for this role?

Go for it! Think about some of those big issues you’ve been working on and trying to improve in your own practice. Chances are others are trying to do the same thing. 

The Ambassador role can help bring people together, highlight solutions and - hopefully - get things done.

Interested in becoming an Ambassador? Find out more about the role and how to apply

There are vacancies across England including opportunities to role share.

  • 1 Note from the RCPCH Ambassadors Team - While we can’t promise a lifetime supply of Ferrero Rocher, we will supply resources, one to one support, networking opportunities, a mentoring offer, and regular Ambassadors forum meetings.