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Sexual Health (young people)

Difficulty accessing services in inner city areas

Some people we interviewed who moved to an inner city area had trouble trying to register with a GP and access family planning services. NHS Choices can be useful in getting information about available local services, but GP lists may be full and walk-in family planning clinics can be over-stretched. One woman described how she 'almost' managed to register with a GP.

 

Describes her efforts in trying to register with a GP in the inner city.

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Age at interview: 21
Sex: Female
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When I first moved here I kind of realised that I didn't have a doctor here and it was a problem I'd had in [place] last year when I was living away from home. I got given a doctor through college and I tried to go and apply to go and join the doctor that I had, the college doctor that's kind of right next to the college but where I go to college is quite a long way from here and so I wasn't in their catchment area so they wouldn't take me there. And I also tried to join the doctor which is just round the corner, like two minutes walk away but they were full so they wouldn't take me. 

So I phoned up, there's a, well I phoned up NHS Direct because I needed to get the pill, this is why this kind of became more urgent, is that I wanted to get the pill because I was having sex and I'm not, I do but I'm a bit kind of don't like using condoms, I'm not very good at using condoms and I just want to be on the pill basically because it just makes everything a bit safer. And so I went, yeah I tried to find the local doctor and I tried to go to the doctor at college and neither of them would take me. 

I phoned up NHS Direct and they said to phone up Find a Doctor Service. So I phoned them up and they gave me the phone numbers of a few doctors to phone. And I tried to phone them and I got through to two who said I wasn't in the catchment area so for some reason the Find a Doctor Service hadn't understood where I lived. 

And I phoned up another couple and they didn't answer the phone and so I phoned Find a Doctor back again and they said "Oh okay well we'll sort it out for you and we'll, within two weeks we'll send you a letter saying you have and a doctor," but, oh and they said, when they said this to me they said "Is it urgent?"  And I said "Well quite yeah," I mean because they can do it quicker if it's urgent, otherwise it takes two weeks.  

And I said "Well yes it is quite urgent," and this guy, who actually I thought was quite rude, he kind of was like "Well what is it, what's it for?" and I said "Well I need contraception," and he just kind of snorted slightly and was like "It'll take two weeks." and I was like "Okay." 

So anyway I mean I still don't have a doctor because they sent me this letter and you're supposed to go and register after they send you this letter, they send you a letter saying "This is your doctors, go phone them up and go and register with them."  And I tried to phone them a couple of times and no one answered the phone and I left a couple of messages saying "Can you phone me back?". 

But I mean I should've realised they wouldn't because I'm sure they're very busy so I probably should have continued to phone until I got through to them but I just kind of I'd got the pill from the walk in clinic by then so I kind of just didn't really bother about the doctors. 

One woman said the walk-in system was not as efficient as it should be, and the doctors she saw seemed very young and inexperienced. Some walk-in family planning clinics were only open once a week at lunchtime so people had to be there at least half an hour earlier to guarantee being seen.

 

Describes her experience of attending an over-stretched inner city walk-in family planning clinic.

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Age at interview: 21
Sex: Female
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It's just completely over-subscribed and loads of people, loads, it must've been at lest twenty people turned up after me and got turned away and were told "I'm sorry you know you have to come next week and come back at half 12 because you need to be here before it starts otherwise..." everyone gets like given a number and you go in turn and stuff. So anyway I went and saw the doctor there and she was very nice, she seemed very young, I think she might've been younger than me, although it doesn't seem possible but it's a bit scary because I haven't had that happen yet.  

 

And she was so flustered and kind of, I mean she was lovely but she was obviously just really you know had a really hard day and everyone was getting pissed off because they were waiting so long. And she gave me, she gave me this pill, they only had one type of pill and they don't give you a prescription for it, they just have, they just had, well I don't know if they only had one type of pill but kind of maybe one type of mini pill and one type of the other kind of pill.

 

I mean it was alright but I mean the fact it was, you had to wait for so long and the fact that the doctor was quite young and inexperienced and you know very nice but just, it was obvious that it wasn't as good as it could have been. I didn't feel very kind of, I don't know it just didn't, nothing about it was as good as other places I've been.  

 

There's kind of Brook clinics and things I've been to before, it's all a lot more organised and you know you don't have to wait for so long and then when you do go through you get to spend more time with the doctor.  

 

I mean I did kind of feel like I kind of didn't want to take too long with the doctor because there were a couple of people waiting and she obviously you know was well over the time she was meant to be there already and I mean she had a tiny little room and they were actually, the other thing, one of the reasons it took so long that time was that there were supposed to be two doctors and they'd only actually got one doctor, someone hadn't turned up, one of the doctors hadn't turned up, so it just didn't feel like it was kind of being run particularly well.

Another thought that the doctors were very good but said that it's very time consuming and pointed out that 'it is very difficult to be responsible without any help'

 

Sexual health services are very difficult to find in the inner city area.

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Age at interview: 19
Sex: Female
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It is very difficult to find a Family Planning Clinic that will, that you're in the catchment area and that will be open on the day. Because the one that I go to is only open on Fridays from 12.00 till 2.00 and basically you have to get there about 11.30 to 11 o'clock to get to the front of the queue to make sure that you're seen and that.

When you say the clinic, is it a Family Planning or a Brook Clinic?

It's a Health Clinic that has a Family Planning drop in centre on a Friday lunchtime but that's the only thing basically that's available because all the doctor's surgeries are full around here, you can't get on the doctor's lists for about six months and it's just really difficult to get...

So it's only one day a week, and you have to be there by 11.30?

To actually guarantee that you can get in, it's just, I mean, that's the one that I'm in the catchment area for, the other ones won't see you if you're not in their area and they also don't do, it's sexual health, they don't do the tests for sexually transmitted diseases at this Clinic. They won't do that, you have to go somewhere else to do that and because I want to get that done but working full time and it only being open on a Friday it's really difficult to.

It's really difficult, I mean we, I had to get the morning after pill and my friend and I phoned up the National Health Line, to get numbers and all of them were either not answering the phone or none, there was no Brook mentioned at all, it was all Health Clinics that you had to go to and kind of they were all full or they weren't answering the phone or they were really busy or just kind of, so I had to go to Boots and pay '23.00 for it and I realised that it was time to stop messing around and being silly.

So it is really a big problem?

Yeah and that's why I'm looking forward to going to university next year knowing that in a small town you know where it is, you know you can go to it, you know the opening times, that's fine. In [city] it's really difficult, really difficult, especially kind of in the inner city. I'm supposing that in the suburbs it's fine but actually kind of in the central bit it's just really difficult. 

Because I've got to go again to get a repeat prescription on Friday and it's basically, I'm aiming to turn up there about quarter past eleven to make sure that I can get seen and get out because it's a really long wait to be seen. The advice was good when I got it, I mean the doctors were really good.

But you have to spend a lot of your time if you want to sort of, in order to be responsible?

Exactly it's kind of, you have to be... but it's really difficult to be responsible without any help, especially if you're working full time, especially if you're kind of, can't get to it, yeah it's just...

Last reviewed January 2016.

Last updated January 2016.

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