Guide for Young People

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We are here to help with your health and your concerns.  You can talk to us and tell us what’s worrying you.  That’s our job

Are you a young person on Arran?

We want you to feel confident about accessing the services offered by Arran Medical Group.  We have worked with Arran Youth Foundations and Arran High School to develop information on this page, to help describe who we are, highlight some of the services that we provide, and explain how to get an appointment.

Please note that our school surgery has been suspended as of mid-January 2019 due to capacity issues in the practice.  We will continue to work with our young people and the school to identify ways of improving access to health services for young people.

What can we help with?

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How do I make an appointment?

PHONE: Call our reception team on 01770 600 516 on Monday-Friday 8.30am – 5.15pm.  They will help you to make an appointment with the most appropriate member of our team: this might be a doctor (GP), nurse or healthcare assistant.  Just like our doctors and nurses, our reception team must maintain your confidentiality – that means they can’t tell your mum, dad or other family/friends that you have made an appointment.

POP IN: visit any of our surgeries and our reception team will help you make an appointment at any of our sites across the island. 

ONLINE: All young people of age 12 years and above are eligible for our online appointments & prescriptions service.  This means you can book an appointment at any of our surgeries via your phone or computer.  To use this service, visit one of our surgeries, bring photographic ID, and we’ll give you instructions on how to register.

If these options are still not possible – consider speaking to your parents or family/friends for assistance.  Also, Graeme or Hollie at the Youth Club can help you to see a GP.  Or find a teacher who you trust and they will be able to help.

Please ensure that you attend your appointment. If you need to change your plans let us know in advance as we can then use that appointment for someone else. We know that plans can change, but if you repeatedly fail to turn up for an appointment, we will get in touch to work out how to avoid this happening in the future.

Do I need to come with a parent?

Involving your parents or close family is normally a good thing.  They can help you to describe your worries or concerns, they can help you to remember any advice given, and they will normally want to help you with your concerns.  We would recommend that you bring a parent or close family with you.

However sometimes this isn’t possible or you might not feel comfortable with this.  In Scotland, we can see you alone providing that you are over the age of 12 years, and that we think that you are able to make safe and appropriate decisions about your health.  Most of the time, this is the case, and we can have a chat about the options available to you when you speak to us.

Do you keep my worries secret?

We want you to feel able to trust us with your information, particularly as it might be about something you find embarrassing, difficult to talk about, or important for you to share only with certain people.

Confidentiality means having trust that we won’t share your worries or information with people who we don’t have your permission to do that.  So health professionals don’t share patient information on Facebook, when we’re talking with our own friends/family or with anyone else in the general community.    This is the case for all NHS services.

Keeping information confidential is treated really seriously.  GPs, nurses and reception staff can lose their jobs if they break confidentiality without good reason.  All of our systems are password protected, and we can monitor who has looked at your information.

Sometimes, we need to share information with colleagues for their advice or input.  Also, if we think that you are in some sort of danger then we must tell other professionals so we can work together to keep you safe.  There are strict rules about when this is required, and how this is done.

Our advice is: if you have any questions about how confidential your information is, just ask.  However, whether it’s a fungal nail infection, a sore throat, a sexually transmitted infection or something about your mental health we will only share this information with other professionals when it is necessary to keep you safe.

I haven’t been to the GP or nurse before. What happens?

If you want to see who our GPs and Nurses are click on the staff tab in the top menu. 

Come in to the surgery around 5-10 minutes before your appointment time.  We see lots of people every day, and we have to work to a schedule to ensure that everyone is seen.  A typical appointment lasts 10-15 minutes, and sometimes we ask you to come back for another appointment to ask more questions or explain more about your options.  If you’re running late, let us know and we will do our best to reschedule your appointment for the next available time.

Whilst sitting in the waiting room, there are usually magazines to read.  You can play silent games on your phone, play music through earphones or bring your own magazine if you want.  If you’re feeling nervous in any way then having some distractions can help.

The GP or nurse will call you in, and ask you how we can help, or what is troubling you.  Take your time, bring a list if you want… we want to know how we can help you.

An appointment usually takes 10-15 minutes.  We might have a look at whatever it is that’s concerning you (your tummy, ankle, head, throat) and then we’ll let you know what we need to do.  We might arrange for you to have an x-ray, give you a prescription, come back for a blood test… or we might be able to reassure you that everything is OK.  If necessary, we can arrange to see you again in a few days, weeks or months to check how things are going.

That’s it!

Where can I find more information about mental health?

Low mood, anxiety and depression are conditions that can be difficult to describe or seek advice about.  However, looking after your mental health is particularly important during adolescence and for younger adults.  This video describes some of the feels that are common about low mood…

If you are having problems with your mood, or feeling anxious or depressed, there are a number of ways that you can find help.

  • Speak to your parents, a trusted friend, teacher or relative.  It can help to open up about your emotions to other people, and they can be really helpful to encourage and support you in getting professional advice.
  • There are counselling services available at the school.  The teaching staff are able to refer you for this service, or you can refer yourself.
  • Make an appointment with any GP to discuss your concerns.  If you are feeling concerned about your mental health, we want you to get the help you need.
  • We like this website from New Zealand called The Lowdown.  If you think you have an eating disorder, the Beat website is good for information.  We will be adding more links to this page soon.

What about LGBTQ+ concerns?

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LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and other forms of gender and sexuality.  For young people in particular, it can be difficult to talk about sexuality and emotions about your gender.

We have worked with the Arran LGBT Youth Club to make our services accessible and helpful for young and older people wanting advice about LGBTQ+ health – including mental and sexual health. 

We are hoping to achieve the LGBT Youth Scotland Charter Mark sometime soon.  Soon, we will add more information about our LGBT policy and how we make our practice more accessible to people who identify as LGBTQ+.

Will I need to have something done that’s painful/embarrassing?

We will explain what we need to do to work out what the problem is.  At any point you can decide to think about whether you’re happy to have that done, and come back later.  Here’s some common tests that we do:

  • blow into a tube to check your asthma (not painful, not embarrassing)
  • look at a part of your body that is causing you concern (not painful, sometimes embarrassing – but we’ll explain what we need to do and we’ve probably seen it many times before)
  • take some blood (sometimes slightly painful, not embarrassing)
  • check for infections (not painful, not normally embarrassing)

A final word about sexually transmitted infections (STIs)…

Sometimes we hear that young people are anxious about how doctors and nurses test for STIs.  It’s surprisingly straightforward, and you can come in any time to request a checkup… we recommend this before starting any new sexual relationship.  We can provide condoms to you too – just ask.

To check for chlamydia or gonorrhea:

  • guys pee into a bottle first thing in the morning, and hand it into the surgery
  • girls pop a cotton-bud into their vagina, put it into a bottle, and hand it into the surgery

To check for HIV, hepatitis or syphilis:

  • guys and girls get a blood test, which takes around 30 seconds