Education And Debate

Profile of young people's advice clinic in reproductive health, 1988-93

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6957.786 (Published 24 September 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:786
  1. E C Williams,
  2. R J E Kirkman,
  3. M Elstein
  1. Mancunian Community Health NHS Trust, Manchester M20 9LJ20Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Manchester, Manchester M20 8LR.
  • Accepted 6 June 1994

For an unprepared sexually active teenager the 1990s present a minefield of potential problems in addition to the most obvious problems of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Promoting the importance of a healthy sexual and reproductive life to young people requires openness, better sex education, realistic discussion of related issues, and provision of contraception, as well as support if things go wrong. The Woodhouse Park Clinic in south Manchester opened in October 1988 with the aim of providing weekly advice sessions to young people up to the age of 18. Advice is given on topics such as substance misuse and smoking as well as on family planning. Attendance has steadily increased over the years; from April to June 1993 the average number of attenders per session was 39, one third of whom were young men.

The Health of the Nation highlighted unplanned teenage pregnancy as one of its key areas for priority action.1 Careful Planning is essential to use resources efficiently. The first priority is to attract young people to clinics that give contraceptive advice and the second is to ensure that these clinics' services and advice are appropriate for them. We describe here the background and development of a community health clinic for young people that has been open since 1988 and has been outstandingly successful.

Setting and background

Woodhouse Park Clinic serves Wythenshawe, a large, sprawling, council housing estate in south Manchester comprising the adjacent administrative wards of Benchill, Baguley, Sharston, and Woodhouse Park. The district has a total population of 48072 residents, with about 1 in 10 households that comprise a single person aged over 16 living with one or more dependent children aged under 16.2 The conception rate in girls aged 11-15 in this district is high, with an average during 1989 to 1991 of 17.1 …

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