Sex and young people in Glasgow: audit of under–16 reporting in a Young People’s Sexual Health Service

Sex and young people in Glasgow: audit of under–16 reporting in a Young

People’s Sexual Health Service

P. McGough, A. Bigrigg, C. Thow, M. Lamont

The Sandyford Initiative, Glasgow, UK

Recent rulings in court cases involving children have thrown child protection

issues into sharp focus for clinical and non-clinical staff involved in

provision of all clinical services for young people. This is particularly

problematic in the area of sexual health. Clients under sixteen years may have

complex needs and their care can raise ethical and medico-legal questions for

staff. At a sexual and reproductive health centre with a specialised young

people’s service, a ‘reporting form’ was developed for use in clinical

consultations with service clients under 16. After piloting, this form was

introduced and staff training was held to inform all staff of local written

policies on the management of sexually active young people and confidentiality,

guidance on child protection issues, and the new policies for reporting of

consultation with clients under 16. A Clinical Support Group was also instituted

to allow a forum for discussion of difficult individual cases as well as

providing a more general supportive team environment.

The results of the first six weeks of the pilot including age of client and

partners, presenting problems, uptake of condoms, other contraception and

testing, and parental knowledge of the sexual activity, are summarized. Most

clients presenting state they are in relationships of some duration. Most do not

tell their parents of their sexual activity. Most clients initially present

requesting emergency contraception and the inference is that unprotected sexual

intercourse is common in this group of clients. Condom uptake is high in our

service users. The uptake of chlamydia testing is currently low in this group.

The use of additional ongoing contraception was not well documented initially

and this has been an area for further training for staff in our service.

Introduction of an Under-16 reporting form was readily accepted by staff,

especially after user-led modification.

The data collected gives a valuable overview of the type of issues dealt with

in the clinical context and can help to target training and teaching as well as

potentially to highlight child protection issues.

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