Saturday, 3 November 2007

Award recognises doctors for sexual health services to young people

DOCTORS in Williton and Watchet have been presented with an award for the advice and support they give young people seeking contraceptive and sexual health advice.
Known as the RESPECT Award, the accolade recognises the positive steps taken by GP surgeries in the two towns to address the specific needs of young people.
Surgeries which receive the award are able to display the RESPECT logo as an identifiable sign to young people that the practice appreciates their particular needs and concerns, respects their confidentiality, and will offer them objective advice.
Health professionals know that too many young people are still reluctant to access contraceptive or sexual health advice due to anxiety or embarrassment.
They mistakenly fear that they may be denied a service unless they are accompanied by their parent or carer, or that a service may not respect their confidentiality.
RESPECT Award surgeries have been able to demonstrate that young people will be welcomed, treated with respect, and have their specific needs met.
RESPECT Project Worker Sara Dove said: “It is wonderful that the surgeries have given such priority to the young people, who should feel confident that they will be welcomed and offered an excellent and confidential service.”
Both GP surgeries are also part of the Somerset Condom Card scheme which enables young people to not only obtain confidential advice and information, but also free condoms.
The scheme was established to address the difficulty many young people living in rural communities have accessing the dedicated contraceptive and sexual health clinics developed in larger towns such as Minehead.
Mark Withers C-Card co-ordinator, said: “By gaining the RESPECT award and operating the Somerset Condom Card these surgeries are ensuring that young people in rural areas have the opportunity to access high quality sexual health services as well as offering support around sex, relationships, and sexuality, enabling young people to make positive choices.”
While the GP surgeries do not have a dedicated young people’s clinic, they do ensure their services to young people are friendly and confidential.
Young people, who register with the Condom Card scheme, can collect free condoms from the reception without an appointment.
They will also be invited to make an appointment to discuss any health related issue, although, in the case of an emergency, every effort will be made for them to be seen without an appointment if they call in during surgery hours.
The RESPECT scheme is key to the work of the Somerset Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board (STPS) and is supported by Somerset Primary Care Trust, Somerset County Council, and Connexions.
STPS aims to reduce the rate of under-18 conceptions by 50 per cent by 2010.

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