Another day in the life of a YPAG group

By Mike Bell,

We are from the Bristol YPAG (Young Persons Advisory Group).  The group is led by Mike Bell and Tracy Bingham. We thought about why we should write a blog and we came up with the following:

  • to let others know what we do and what research we do,
  • to give ideas to other YPAG groups,
  • for newcomers to see what we are all about,
  • And finally to have an account of all the fun we have.

At the end of each blog post we will rate the day out of ten. This way we can give you a feel of how the day went. We hope you enjoy our blog.


We began with an exercise to explain why we use randomised trials in testing treatments.  Randomised trials are used to show what the actual outcome of using a certain treatment would be. Of course, we were not going to be participating in a randomised trial however, using jaffa cakes, we could create our own one. It went something like this; Tracey told us to eat a Jaffa Cake out of either box A (branded) or box B (supermarket brand), after this, eat a jaffa cake out of the reverse box that you just chose. We then tallied who thought they preferred box A or box B. Tracey had a lot of fun telling us that, although she said otherwise, they were all the supermarket brand. This showed that your reaction to what you’re eating (or your treatment) can be altered by what you are told before-hand.

Pros and cons of being vaccinated at school

After the break we were all introduced to Jo Ferrie and other members of from the Bristol Immunisation Group. They were looking at our experiences with immunisations and jabs. They asked what vaccinations we remember being given and the settings. The majority of the group had jabs at school. The next question was how much information we were given about the jab beforehand. There was a range of answers to this going from “everything I wanted to know” to “I just turned up and was jabbed”. There was a lot of interaction between the presenters and the group, and there were Easter related prizes involved which made it even more fun!

Keir gets design and fashion advice


Next was an opportunity to help design a fashionable medical device which everyone loved. The devices will soon be used to remind people of all ages, what medicine to take and when to take it. This could be through coloured lights, noises or just a simple message on a screen. It was very fun and we hope to see Keir ( again at another YPAG with a finished device!

If you want young people to come to your YPAG, give them something to stick up their nose

If you want young people to come to your YPAG, give them something to stick up their nose

Normally, at every meeting, we have a session were we learn about something medical instead of being questioned on something. This was no exception and Tracey had organised a “Swab preferences” slot in to our day. This was really fun because we got to try out, nose swabs, mouth swabs and throat swabs. We were told a bit about how the swab would be taken and what it is normally used for. Tracey also answered all of our questions about why they are taken and how they are analysed. The topic was fun, interactive and different to what we normally do, and we got some really funny photos!

At the end of the day we all had a cream egg and were given our certificates. We would like to say thank you to everyone who came in to talk to us, Tracey and Mike for organising and planning the meetings and any new YPAG members who came (hope you enjoyed it!) Thank you!!

We rated the day 8 out of ten because we felt that there was a really good mix of learning new things and telling the researchers our opinions. However our favourite part was the Jaffa cake randomised trials.

Lottie, Rachael and Milly