This month, the government is launching a listening exercise to find out how people want non-hospital health and social care services to be delivered. The Department of Health has said it would welcome ideas from young people about what would make them more likely to access the health services they need, and already plans to pilot three “adolescent health demonstration sites” from 2006 offering enhanced health services alongside other services young people want. But is this the right approach?
Daniel: The thing that puts me off going to the doctors the most is the smell! I hate the medical smell and the stuff they use, but I also don’t like waiting around. It gets really boring being sat in the waiting room. I can’t be bothered with it. I’d like a drop-in service – it would be easier and less worry.
I don’t mind going to the GP but I hardly need to. I generally feel OK talking to doctors, but would be a bit embarrassed talking about personal things. It wouldn’t be because I was worried about my mum or dad knowing, more just because it’s an adult. I’d rather talk to a male doctor than a female one though.
Keir: I’m not bothered about seeing the GP, but their attitude towards you counts, such as whether they actually listen to you. I don’t have worries about confidentiality because I know by law they have to keep things private. You should be able to go to the doctors without an appointment. A drop-in for teenagers might be good, but I’m not sure it would be used as teenagers can’t be bothered and can be lazy.
Amy: My GP surgery is disorganised. When I went to get the pill injection, it was supposed to be a special clinic. Instead, the receptionist made me speak up and explain why I was there, which was uncomfortable in a packed room with other people. I think it would be nice if there was a particular GP trained in dealing with young people so you got diverted to them, especially for things to do with being a young female.
Ali: My GP used to be a man and now I have a woman, which I’m not that comfortable with. I’m embarrassed to talk to her, especially about personal problems. I’d also be worried that my doctor might tell my parents about anything I talked about that was personal to me, as they have the same GP. I think it would help if there was a special service for teenagers – it would make me feel much better about going.
Adam: The waiting time is too long in my opinion. You can be there an hour – and you see everyone going in and coming out, sometimes looking a bit worried which scares me. The receptionists are all old – they reflect the surgery and what you might expect from it. A special surgery for teenagers would mean you could get relevant advice and information. There would be more people there like me, in the same situation.