The connection between young people and local GP practices: Young Healthwatch volunteers investigate…

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Findings from our young people’s survey highlight a distinct lack of connection between young people and their GP practices (Primary Care) in a time when they need it more than ever.

The results echo the findings outlined in our Primary Care reports, which recommended that practice websites should be updated and improved for patients.

Findings from our research

Out of 200 young people living in North West London (NWL) who completed an online survey in 2020-2022 we found that:

  • only 25% of young people would go to their GP for support with their mental wellbeing.
  • Young people were more than twice as likely to consult with family or friends than with GP and 84% had felt an impact on their mental health from COVID.

As GP services are the gateway to supporting young people’s health and are essential for preventing ill health, we believe further research and analysis is required to identify the barriers to connection, starting with GP websites.

What we’re doing about it

In response to these findings and to better understand and address the barriers to connection, Young Healthwatch and the core Healthwatch Central West London team have developed a piece of work that aims to help create more connections between young people and their local GP practices.

Aims of the audit

  • To conduct a comprehensive website mapping exercise to establish what support there is on bi-borough GP practice websites, assessing them against a range of criteria developed by young people. This includes information on medicines and their side effects, links to various helplines, and how to book an appointment. There is also a section for the volunteers to make a general comment on the provision of support on each website.
  • To communicate the gaps and provide recommendations to GP Practices and wider local NHS structures to improve current provision and make it more accessible to local young people.

Our Methodology

  • Desktop research of 70 GP practice websites across the Primary Care Networks in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea has been carried out by Young Healthwatch Volunteers (YHW) who have been recording the data against the criteria.
  • The young people have been encouraged to comment as much as possible on each website to provide a blend of quantitative and qualitative data in our research.
  • The areas identified for assessment were created from the views of young people in our survey and from our Young Healthwatch volunteers.

Next steps

  • Complete research and analyse the results
  • Young Healthwatch will work with our Primary Care Engagement Officer, Odeta, to co-develop recommendations and present them to local NHS structures and the GP Practices themselves

If you have any questions about Young Healthwatch projects please email Alex at alex.weston@healthwatchcentralwestlondon.org