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Young people to create the future of the NHS

Technology-loving pupils from schools in Lancashire and South Cumbria have been invited by Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria to visit The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) for a fun-packed day to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS on Wednesday 18 July. This will inspire them to become part of the future of the NHS as we look ahead to the next 70 years and beyond.

The students will get the chance to experience the Tim Peake Space Bus, courtesy of Samsung, as well as taking part in workshops, quizzes and competitions throughout the day. They will be some of the first young people in the country to test out a new health and care app for the NHS called the Orb which is being piloted in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Additionally, they will have a go on an interactive virtual reality game being developed by the team at UCLan and take part in a session with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to inspire them about where new technology and innovation can take us. The AWS session will include the use of Alexa voice technology and the pupils will be asked to come up with ideas about what health and care will look like in the future, which will later be turned into an animation by the team at the University.

Dr Amanda Thornton, Digital Health Clinical Lead for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria said: “This event is a great opportunity to work with one of our partner universities to involve a group of young people in developing the technology which will support health and care in the future and to capture their creativity and ideas. We want everyone to feel part of the future of the NHS – from school children to their grandparents. We want to empower every person to feel confident and capable of making informed decisions about their health and wellbeing and technology is already playing an important part in supporting this.”

The event is the culmination of a Digital Healthy Schools project which is an education programme rolled out to more than one thousand pupils in twenty secondary schools across the region over the past six months. Through assemblies and hands-on workshops, pupils have been encouraged to learn more about health whilst exploring apps which can be used to support people in PHSE and science lessons. Pupils have been given advice on what to look for in an app including safety and data security. They also had access to an app comparison site, featuring apps evaluated against 150 criteria and suitability for children.

The programme was devised and run by ORCHA, which is a leading health app evaluation and advisor organisation, home to the world’s biggest health app comparison site, and part of NHS England’s National Innovation Accelerator Programme.

Since the start of the programme in February 2018, pupils have discovered and downloaded more than 88 different apps on their phones and 50% of pupils who participated now use a health app. Pupils have reported changing a range of behaviours, from swapping car journeys to walking, drinking more water and going to bed earlier.

To find out about the work of Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, visit: www.healthierlsc.co.uk

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