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Clinical Knowledge

Adolescents, Teenagers & Young People's Health

We ignore Adolescent health

  • If you would like to have a go at adding some “top tips” to this page for this specialty (and have your name displayed proudly with bradfordvts),  please email me –

Adolescent health is a mostly neglected area for two reasons.

  1. We/our practice/the health service don’t see them as high priority
  2. They don’t come to see us

YOUNG PEOPLE have constantly appeared to be at the bottom of the heap when it comes to their health and wellness .   Did you know that it wasn’t until 1954 that there was any recognition of the possible role of general practice in adolescent health in the literature? What’s even worse is that it wasn’t until the 1980s that any kind of relevant research was published!

Even today, young people are misperceived. They’re thought to be a healthy and balanced population who seldom trouble the General Practitioner because they do not need to.  We ask ourselves – “what can be perhaps wrong with them?”.   But this is an enormous false impression. They require from us more than you can possibly know.  Just from one perspective –  mental in adolescents is so taken so lightly that it is mostly disregarded. And when they do pluck up the courage to come, we end up allocating them less time  than with other age groups!

And in QoF – absolutely nothing seems to be concentrated on adolescent health. Once more, they’re seen as low priority. Financial motivations drive health practices to focus on things that can be measured and thus rewarded.  Establishing a healthy and balanced connection with young people seems to have fallen to the bottom of the ladder.

Why are teenagers so reluctant to see us?

So why are young teens so reluctant to see us. There seems to be 3 major reasons.

  1. They continually report troubles accessing the system – especially for delicate problems.
  2. They believe that they are not being taken seriously.
  3. Finally, they, feel that they can not necessarily trust the system.

Are remote consultations the answer?

Will remote consultations improve the access problem?   Remote consultations will become part of the General Practice new norm. The assumption that tech-savvy teens will welcome virtual consulting is another misconception.   Whilst they may enjoy sharing the most specific information of their lives with their followers on social networks, the majority of still wish to be able to see a health professional on a one-on-one face-to-face basis.

So what is the way forwards?

So how should General Practice react to the needs of young people? How do we create that trusting connection with a young person early on in their life story? Possibly the solution is not to ask ourselves, but to ask them. Involve young people in the re-design of services. Attempt to comprehend their perspective. As well as make certain that they are not forgotten.

What are the big health concerns with young people?

Other Top Tips

Please leave a comment if you have a tip, spot an error, spot something missing or have a suggestion for a web resource. And of course, if you have developed a resource of your own, please email it to me to share with others.

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