This report describes the health needs that young people
should expect to be met by health service providers and proposes a
strategy to meet them. It is hoped that it will provide a source of
advice that will be useful to those planning and commissioning
health services for adolescents. It recommends appropriate
standards for health services for adolescents and identifies the
training needs of professionals. The report states general
principles whenever possible in the expectation that these can be
applied by individual patient and professional groups and
Findings include the following:
1) Young people have specific health needs, many of
which remain unmet.
2) For most adolescents their parents remain key
providers of health care and require support in this
3) Young people say that there are barriers to their
effective use of both primary and secondary health care services
- Lack of information.
- Difficulties in achieving low visibility access for
- Services are not seen as youth friendly because of: concerns
about confidentiality for those under 16 years old; lack of
expertise and continuity of care by professionals; failure to
respect the validity of young people’s views; young people in
hospital having to be accommodated either in a children’s ward or
with a population they regard as elderly.
- Some groups of young people have particular difficulties with
access to services associated with issues such as disability,
poverty, ethnicity, being looked after and sexual orientation.
4) Health services must pay greater attention to the
special needs of young people if they wish to improve the
emotional, psychological and physical health of the
- The views and needs of young people should be taken into
account at all stages of planning and delivery of health services
- Health strategies must address the particular needs of
adolescents particularly in relation to sexual health, substance
abuse, mental health and accident prevention.
- Encouragement should be given to innovative strategies, which
in turn need to be evidence based and/or evaluated.
5) All health care providers should plan, support and
monitor adolescent services within GP and other primary care,
school based and secondary care services.
- These services should enable all young people to have good
information about and easy access to services of appropriate
quality where consent and confidentiality issues have been
- Effective provision requires co-ordination across different
specialities specifically for young people.
- Health commissioners should ensure that young people who are
‘difficult to reach’, such as those in pupil referral units or not
in school, receive health services on an equitable basis.
- Every healthcare organisation should have a policy for and
identified lead professional for the provision of services for
- Good practice guidelines should be followed by all
practitioners in relation to adolescents’ rights and professionals’
responsibilities in the areas of consent and confidentiality.
This is a joint report with the following organisations:
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Physicians (London)
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Faculty of Public Health Medicine