'No Worries!' - teenage health service gets thumbs up

Issue date: 21 February 2006

'No Worries!' teenage health service 'No Worries!' a teenage health service has been positively endorsed following an evaluation by researchers at the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol in conjunction with North Somerset Primary Care Trust.

Debra Salmon from the Faculty of Health and social Care at UWE worked with Dr Jenny Ingram from the University of Bristol and Dali Sidebottom from North Somerset Primary Health Care Trust to assess the value of the service to the young people it aims to serve.

Debra Salmon explains, “The 'No Worries!' service takes an innovative approach by providing support and advice to teenagers about sexual health, drugs, alcohol, stress and relationships. In North Somerset there are six 'No Worries!' clinics, two based in schools, one at a college, three 'No Worries!' general practices and these are strengthened by a condom distribution scheme and 20 No Worries! Pharmacies offering free emergency hormonal contraception.

“We found that young people from lower socio-economic areas seemed to be relying on female oral contraception without added protection of condoms against sexually transmitted infections. As a result of using the No Worries! Service young people said that they felt more confident, more in control, more informed about sex, aware of sexually transmitted diseases and would take fewer risks.

“Differences were identified in condom use with young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds using less. Young people felt the service was relaxed, well equipped and cheerful. Importantly, respondents experienced attitudes of clinic staff towards them as very positive and approachable.

“93% felt it was important to have specialist services for young people and infection testing and contraception in one place. Proximity of the clinic to home and school combined with the culture of 'No Worries!' as non-judgmental, confidential, accessible and approachable were seen as key to success.”

Teenage pregnancy and parenthood are key public health issues, as are growing rates of sexually transmitted infection in young people. The development of young people's services is a cornerstone of the national teenage pregnancy and sexual health strategies (DH 2001).

Debra continues, “Our study recommends that young people should continue to be consulted as the service develops. We discovered significant scope for continued health promotion work particularly amongst boys since most attendees of the service are girls. We also recommend that the service is more widely advertised to younger age groups through schools and young clubs and the development of a 'No Worries! Website. We are already seeing this happen as the service continues to develop and expand in North Somerset in a growing number of places accessible to young people.”

A copy of the executive summary is available from Debra.Salmon@uwe.ac.uk


Editors notes:

Data was collected from 154 young people (232 attendances), using a validated survey (88.5% response rate) and in-depth interviews with 18 respondents (14-18 years). Young people from a range of socio-economic and family backgrounds were recruited from three clinic sites over two months. Activity data recorded clinical reasons for attendance and the survey focused on biographical and sexual activity, views of the clinic visit and service. Interviews explored reasons for attendance; strengths and weaknesses of the service; impact on sexual health behaviour and confidence.

Young people attended the clinics for a range of reasons: oral contraception (25.4%), condoms (48.7%), Depo-Provera (8.2%), emergency contraception (5.2%) swabs (7.8%) and pregnancy tests (11.2%).

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