What made you want to become an RCPCH Ambassador?
I have always been interested in public health, and held a firm belief that a greater knowledge of the wider determinants of health and the ways to improve it, will ultimately have an impact on a greater number of people than I can have in my day-to-day interactions with children and their families in my clinical practice.
I therefore jumped at the opportunity to be involved in a role in which children’s public health - which can be often forgotten in the ‘bigger’ world of adult public health - is placed more at the forefront of my local area policies, with the support and guidance of a reputable organisation like the RCPCH.
What does your role as RCPCH Ambassador involve?
It has been challenging, as COVID did initially make it difficult to form relationships. But this year, I have been put in touch with the Children and Young People’s Programme Manager for my local Integrated Care System (ICS), who has been instrumental in inviting me to relevant meetings where best practice can be shared, such as hospital at home projects, and websites such as Healthier Together that look to integrate and standardise the information that different healthcare professionals give parents.
My role thus far has largely been a listening and learning one in the meetings that I have attended, but this learning is ultimately equipping me to be a voice for the RCPCH in shaping the agenda for children in my ICS.
What are the benefits of being an RCPCH Ambassador?
I know much more about what is going on at a population health level not only in my local area, but across the country, as we have monthly meetings with other RCPCH Ambassadors nationally, where we receive talks that help to equip us with the skills and knowledge to have greater impact in our areas.
Being an Ambassador has improved my knowledge about how integrated care and commissioning of services work. It has opened my eyes to the paediatric population data that is out there, and how we can use this to make a case for services that we feel will benefit children and young people in our area.
What advice would you give to someone considering to apply for this role?
If you have an interest in population health with respect to children, go for it! Depending on your level of experience, you may initally feel like a deer in headlights, but do make early contact with the children and young people’s programme manager (or equivalent) for your area, and give time to the role, starting by making space in your diary where possible to attend any relevant meetings.
Also, it can seem like there are so many problems to consider, that it is difficult to know where to start. Identify the priorities for your ICS, and start with one area of focus where you feel you can help best.
If you are interested in becoming an RCPCH Ambassador you can find out more and how to apply here.