Improving health services for young people

09 March 2015

Young people face a range of challenges in getting support from a GP, including not being registered, not realising that GPs can help with mental health issues, and being deterred from making appointments by telephone triage systems.

These were some of the key findings of the three-year GP Champions for Youth Health project, to which No Limits and other Youth Access members contributed. No Limits focused on improving healthcare for homeless young people in Southampton, while other projects around the country included training GPs around domestic and sexual violence, and weight management programmes for young people.

Barriers to accessing a GP
The young people that No Limits supported through the project were facing multiple and complex issues, including homelessness, mental health issues, debt issues and substance misuse issues. They spoke to us about the barriers that they faced in accessing a GP:

“when I moved to Southampton I had trouble finding a GP because of my addiction to drugs & alcohol, but didn’t want to go about those issues”
“when I was 15-20 years old I was not registered & needed to go but couldn’t”
“I had no ID to register with”
Making GP practices better for young people
As a result of the project, a Toolkit for General Practice has been developed. This toolkit is designed for use in primary care by GPs, practice nurses, practice managers and other health professionals to improve young people’s health.

It lists the areas all GPs should address to make their practice better for young people, including access, confidentiality, feedback, and patient participation.

More information is available at http://www.youthaccess.org.uk/news/new-gp-champions-products/

The GP Champions for Youth Health project was funded by the Department of Health and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.