Seeing the GP: Advice and tips for young people

Young people’s advice to GPs

The young people we talked to offered many different types of advice based on their experiences of health services, healthcare, and seeing the GP. Here are some of their suggestions.

•    good communication really helps – it’s better to speak less formally to young people than to adults, and to explain things in a way that’s easy to understand
•    it’s helpful when GPs use plain English rather than medical terms or acronyms
•    it’s important to include young person in the consultation and talk to them directly when they’re with a parent or guardian
•    be honest about doubts and when you don’t know about something
•    it’s important to listen to the patient
•    being patient and caring can help young people feel less nervous – it can be embarrassing or daunting going to see the GP
•    it’s good to get to know your patients as people. It can help a young person feel more comfortable when a doctor asks about them as a person (e.g. about school, sports, etc)
•    young people often feel uncomfortable in formal environments. It can be helpful when the GP comes across as relaxed and informal. Hazzan said, ‘Try and make it as casual as possible’. This could involve introducing yourself and asking a young person how they are
•    it’s important to give a bit more reassurance to young people who live on their own with little support, including information
•    offer young people a range of treatment options and involve them in decision making
•    ask young people if they’d like to speak to you on their own if they’ve come to the appointment with a parent/guardian
•    it’s important to take mental health seriously and help raise awareness of it

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