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Tagbo

Brief Outline: Tagbo and his family go to the doctor for routine check-ups. He is very happy with his GP and feels that she is someone they can ‘rely on as a family’.
Background: Tagbo is at school. He lives with his parents and brother. Ethnic background / nationality: Black African.

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Tagbo and his family come from Nigeria and go back to visit from time to time. They see their GP before each trip to get the injections and medications they need. He and his family also see the GP for routine check-ups. His mum usually makes the appointment, and Tagbo goes with his parents and sometimes his brother too. They have never had to wait more than a couple of days for an appointment. As the surgery tends to be fairly busy, though, they usually try to get there an hour before the appointment.

Tagbo prefers to see one particular doctor, who he describes as friendly, ‘bubbly’, informative and professional. She recognizes Tagbo and his family when they see her and always asks how they are. He finds it comforting having a doctor they can ‘rely on as a family’. He has had no problems talking to the doctor, and feels that she addresses him as well as his parents.
For Tagbo, a good GP is someone who is ‘in touch with the patients’. Being reassuring is an important quality, too, and having a positive outlook ‘no matter how dire the situation is’. Tagbo also felt that GPs would connect better with young people if their consultations were more informal, and if they didn’t use ‘medical terminology because it’s going to frighten the patient’.

Although Tagbo was happy with his local surgery, he felt that it would appeal more to younger people if the waiting room had a separate section for children and young people with different health-related activities and quizzes. As patients spend a lot of time waiting for appointments, he felt that better information in waiting rooms would help raise awareness of health problems. He would also like to see more information on topics relevant to young people such as sexual health, relationships, drugs and alcohol.

Tagbo was unaware that patients could visit the GP for problems such as emotional distress, bullying or exam stress, but said that it was important for people to know this. He felt that most people rarely sought help for emotional problems because they aren’t seen as ‘actual proper illnesses’. 

Tagbo felt that local surgeries should take advantage of digital technology, like having an online booking service, but had mixed feelings about telephone and email consultations. He advised young people to talk to their parents about their health problems and then see the GP – this would also help them to get to know how local health services work.
 

The receptionists are always polite. They can ‘lighten up your day’ which is comforting when you don’t know how the appointment will go.

The receptionists are always polite. They can ‘lighten up your day’ which is comforting when you don’t know how the appointment will go.

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How have the receptionists come across to you when you’ve gone to the doctors?

They're always…they're always polite and always make you feel at home, always ask you questions about how you're doing, yeah. It's nice to having a receptionist there because it, because when you enter the…for your appointment, you don’t know how it's going to turn out. And for you to have a receptionist there just to lighten up your day, it's really, it’s just really nice and really comforting.

Yeah. That’s a really important point that you're talking about here. That you're not sure about the outcome of the appointment?

Yeah.

So the manner of the receptionists, how they speak to you, makes a big difference?

Yeah, definitely.

And you said they speak to you, they ask questions. Have you seen the same receptionists there at the surgery as well over the years or does it change?

I think they do change; they change, yeah. Every time I pop in another day and maybe another receptionist but usually they alternate, so yeah.

And have they always been friendly like that?

Yes

No exceptions?

No exceptions, no.
 

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.

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.

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What I think they should do – they should, they should be relaxed. I know being a doctor's really stressful and it's very…well I don’t know that, I don’t know why I'm saying that. But I know it can be stressful because of having a job like that is stressful. But I feel like they should be…they should relax themselves, should be relaxed. They should interact, they should …because if you, if you just…if you tone it down…if you tone down your, if you tone down the professionalism to some extent and to more of a social…to more of a…to more of an informal sort of stance, then it would definitely have… it will definitely…you’ll definitely engage with teenagers that way. Because teenagers don’t like formality, and I feel like it's important to engage with teenagers and so it'll be a bit more…to be a bit more chilled.
 

Tagbo’s family GP feels ‘almost like a friend’. The whole family can rely on her.

Tagbo’s family GP feels ‘almost like a friend’. The whole family can rely on her.

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And with the doctor you mentioned that she's …you’ve had the same doctor for a long time?

Yeah.

So when you go to see her does she recognise you?

Yeah, me and my parents and like the family, yeah definitely.

You all go to the same one?

Yeah.

And when you see the doctor, does she ask you about you or maybe about the health, the problem; does she ever ask questions about you – "How's school?" or anything like that?

Yeah, she does, yeah definitely. Same with my parents when they go there; again, "How are you, how's the family?" etc etc so...

So do you feel…?

Yeah, it's very comforting, it's very like almost like as a friend, so yeah.

That’s nice, that’s really interesting – do you want to expand on that?

Yeah, because it's nice because we've had this doctor, we've had our GP for years, a long time, like so it's almost like as a family friend. And it's someone that we can rely on as a family. And it's nice having and nice knowing that we have someone like that.

That’s brilliant really, that.

Yeah.

So that’s the sort of GP then you would like to stay with, you know for years wherever you're…while you're staying there you'd like to stay with that GP?

Yeah.

And if somebody new moved to the area and they were looking for a doctor, would you recommend her?

Definitely, yeah.
 

It would be useful to have colourful leaflets and posters about alcohol, drugs and sex at GP surgeries and schools so young people could learn about the risks.

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It would be useful to have colourful leaflets and posters about alcohol, drugs and sex at GP surgeries and schools so young people could learn about the risks.

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In terms of …in terms of like medical, I'd say about, maybe about drugs and sex maybe because that’s, again that’s a really great issue for teenagers today if…and I feel like if teenagers would read up on those when they're in their appointments and something like that, then maybe teenagers would have a different opinion or they may change their ways because it can, it can change people. And I feel like it will…if stuff like that…if information such as that were in them…were in our appointments then definitely, they would definitely read up on that, I feel like that.

That’s really interesting. So you feel if there more pamphlets; but how about even posters?

Posters yeah, again colourful, yeah vibrant. 

So information specifically for you know your age group – teenagers, sixth formers – about sex and relationships and about drugs?

Yeah.

Yeah. How about alcohol?

Alcohol – again alcohol can fall under that because again at this age people are drinking, people are having sex, people are taking drugs. It's very…and usually teenagers can fall into that trap and it's important for them to know the risks and then all the consequences of that. So I feel like it would be important for that to be done.

So all of that information in the GP's surgery. Is it important to have that information elsewhere as well?

Yeah, definitely, again around public transport. Teenagers take the bus; they take the bus to school, they take the bus to events - again important to have that. 

And how about in schools, is that a relevant place or would they not listen if it was at school?

In school? Yeah they would, yeah. Yeah, it's a relevant place. We have lessons about this, about again drugs, sex, alcohol. So again, school would be a relevant place, would be an important place – probably one of the first places for it to be implemented in my opinion because that’s where you're at most of the time. And you're spending most of your days, most of your hours at school, so this is where most of your information that you can get is at school, so....
 

Some people are scared of going to the doctors’. A telephone consultation might stop them from going to see the GP in person.

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Some people are scared of going to the doctors’. A telephone consultation might stop them from going to see the GP in person.

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In some places you can have a telephone consultation, which means that you can speak to a doctor at a time that they will phone you and talk about whatever's wrong. Do you feel that could be helpful or do you feel you would prefer to go in? How do you feel about that?

I think it really…people are scared of some of the issues that they have and I can understand why telephone conversations would be for them. But I feel like it should be stressed that it should be important for them to go themselves, because you don’t know what the scenario is. 

People have prolonged, where they’ve waited and waited because of the conditions that they have, and it's been too late. Because they haven't …they're not brave enough; they won't …they're too scared to go and face their doctor and to go and face their doctors and the GPs. I feel like they…it's important for them to go. It doesn’t matter how embarrassing it is, it's only between the GP and themselves. So....

And do you feel that young people do that quite a bit, or it's mainly older people? Do you think young people also wait and wait because they don’t want to go to the doctors?

Yeah, some of them, it's like they can't be bothered attitude, and yeah...
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