Would you like to gain experience of the health and social care sector, volunteering with other young people?

Health and social care patient champion Healthwatch South Tyneside has a vacancy in its Young Healthwatch team after one of the members scored top A Level grades, securing a place at medical school.

Alex Doolan got two A*s and an A in Biology, Chemistry and Maths and starts next month at Hull York Medical School.

Alex, 18, said: “Being in Young Healthwatch was fun! We spent time developing the new website, discussing what health topics concerned young people most, sexual health, mental health and the effects of COVID.

“We distributed surveys and talked directly to the public (pre-Covid). It gave me an overview of how the NHS works and serves people. I learned to work as part of a team and interact with the public and also the absolute importance of data collection to improve service delivery.”

The Young Healthwatch team is a diverse group of young volunteers aged between 16 and 25 who work together to ensure the views of young people are heard by the NHS and local authority to positively shape health and social care services for us in South Tyneside.

The team also helps the NHS and local authority, who provide the services, by carrying out surveys and other engagement activity to find out what young people want and need.

Recent work has included highlighting concerns raised by young people about sexual health, mental health and adult social care services.

A report on sexual health services for young people made a number of recommendations which have led to improvements by the South Tyneside Sexual Health Service.

Alex, of Cleadon Village, added: “I’m so glad I volunteered for Young Healthwatch; it gave me invaluable work experience in a healthcare setting which was hard to come by because of COVID.

“It was something different to the norm; it gave me something to talk about on my personal statement and at interview. I’ve got a real interest in public health strategy now. I would encourage anyone with an interest in a career in any of the healthcare sectors – not just medicine – to apply to get involved.”