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
For younger patients, it’s better to talk in an easy to understand way. As Simon got older he started learning more about his condition and understood more complex words.
It’s good when GPs direct their questions to the young person and not their parent. Young people can explain what’s wrong with them.
it’s important to listen to the patient
People can have a positive experience of a consultation if they feel that the GP has listened and empathised, even when the appointment is quite short.
It’s important to respect the knowledge patients with complex needs often have about their own health and care.
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
Teenagers don’t like formality. It would be helpful if GPs came across as relaxed and informal, even though they have a very stressful job.
Amy’s GP was reassuring. She gave her a leaflet and told her about websites she could look at when she had a breast lump.
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