Young voices changing health care

This blog originally appeared on The Hippocratic Post.

Imagine a room full of passionate, talented young professionals with a desire to help build a fair, sustainable and highly innovative NHS in the UK. This is what the Youth Health Parliament was designed to achieve.

Doctors and nurses, industry professionals, entrepreneurs, medical students and academics all responded to a call for 50 young people, aged between 18 and 30, from all over the UK with a desire to meet and formulate ideas on making Britain a healthier place, at the start of 2016.

Since then we have held plenary sessions at two of London’s greatest institutions responsible for nurturing these future healthcare leaders, the London Business School and Imperial College London.

Having established committees on the five major idea strands that these young leaders felt were crucial in today’s world, we are currently in the process of drawing up a series of whitepapers with recommendations, which we will be sharing with policy makers and industry leaders.

These idea strands include mental health, emerging technologies, future health care systems, personalised medicine and genomics and how we can prepare clinicians for the future.

We will be meeting again in September, then at the final plenary session of 2016 which will take place inside the Houses of Parliament, this November. There, we will be inviting MPs, Noble Lords and keynote speakers to address our congress and help us implement the ideas.

The concept of the Youth Health Parliament was inspired by the One Young World leadership summit in Dublin, where, as two medical managers at Johnson and Johnson, we felt inspired to contribute in a positive way to the future of healthcare in the UK.

Johnson and Johnson is one of a number of organisations partnering to support the YHP, the list of which includes Google, British Heart Foundation, 2020Health, London Business School and Imperial College London.

Young people have so much to offer in the area of healthcare policy, and we are delighted that we are already seeing the benefits of their fresh perspective on the issues that affect us all including an ageing population, budget constraints and innovative technologies.

The age range of our Youth Health Parliamentarians allows for fewer constraints when it comes to ‘taboo’ subjects like mental illness and gender identity and they are used to the glare of social media and communicating and cooperating online.

We have both been overwhelmed by what has already been achieved and we are looking forward to seeing the concrete results of the Youth Health Parliament 2016 – as well as many more in the future. Ideally, this will become an institution where delegates are chosen annually mentored by alumni and a steering committee of experienced leaders in politics, industry and the healthcare sector. 


Lewis Smith and Ben Griffiths are One Young World Ambassadors from the United Kingdom. Both Johnson and Johnson employees, they joined forces to found Youth Health Parliament.