The launch of the Children’s and Young People’s Forum Health Outcomes Forum presents a key opportunity to improve services for them, says Barbara Hearn, deputy chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau.
In a blog on the BBC website, she says that while health promotion plays a key role, a significant and early point of contact with health services for a teenager is their GP.
‘Some children and young people express feeling embarrassed and judged when they seek advice from their GP. They can find it hard to describe their own health concerns and find it hard to understand their doctor’s response.
‘While GPs continue to improve in terms of their own confidence and capacity to make a child patient feel comfortable it is not yet a guaranteed good experience for those under 18′s everywhere.
‘Practices need to be attuned to just how intimidating an all adult environment can be for teens and pre-teens to enter.’
Barbara, a member of the Forum, suggests three areas where changes could be made:
- ‘Better professional development – GPs do have some training in child development but it is insufficient.
- ‘The 10-minute patient slots are simply too short to establish a relationship with a tentative young person.
- ‘To ensure the services GPs are offering are the right ones, young patients should be involved – alongside other patients – in decisions about the services their GP surgery provides.’