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Teens to asses healthcare

Posted onPosted on 10th Jun

A team of young people are set to go undercover as mystery shoppers in sexual health services, GP surgeries and pharmacies in the county.

The initiative has been organised by the Children’s Integrated Commissioning Hub at Nottinghamshire County Council to assess the experience that young people have when accessing health services.

Coun Liz Plant, committee vice-chairman for Children and Young People’s Services, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “It is crucial to be able to gauge from our young people their experiences of accessing health services. We have taken part in mystery shopping sessions to assess youth club settings – but these will be the first to take place in the health service.”

Around 20 young people aged between 14 and 19 will visit services to assess a number of points including how friendly staff are and how easy it is to access information and services out of school or college hours. The team will also evaluate websites and telephone conversations.

The young people will not book or attend appointments and staff leading the exercise will be close by if needed.

The group underwent training in April ahead of the visits which will take place over the next two-three months. Aimee Sharpe, from the council’s youth service said: “We are very pleased at the response we got from young people to take part in this exercise.

“Sexual health issues can be a topic of embarrassment, but we discussed this and dealt with it at the recent seminar. All of the young people are looking forward to getting involved in this initiative and as well as it potentially benefiting their peers in the future delivery of these services, this project will also provide them with useful training and skills building techniques.”

The young people will visit a range of sexual health services in the county, and a minimum of two GP surgeries and pharmacists in each district, as part of the study.

Sophie Edwards, from the Children’s Integrated Commissioning Hub, said: “This exercise is designed to inform, not criticise services. It is more about sharing good practice that the team discover and encouraging others to adopt it for the benefit of young people.”

Findings will be reported back to future meetings of the Children and Young People’s Services Committee, Nottinghamshire’s Children’s Trust and the Health and Wellbeing Board later this year.