Primary health care and adolescence

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7009.825 (Published 30 September 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:825
  1. Aidan Macfarlane,
  2. Ann McPherson
  1. Director National Adolescent and Student Health Unit, Anglia and Oxford Regional Health Authority, Oxford OX3 7LF
  2. General practitioner Oxford OX1 2NA

    Primary health care teams should remember the needs of adolescents

    What do adolescents, aged between 10 and 18, need that can be supplied by primary health care? What do adolescents want from primary health care? How do adolescents use primary health care? What is in adolescent health for primary health care? The reasons for the present paucity of literature on these subjects include “labelling” of adolescents by health professionals as low users of primary health care services, confusion during the shift of responsibility for health care from parents to adolescents, the perception of doctors and nurses (shared by many parents) that adolescents are hard to understand and talk to, and a fear of unnecessarily overmedicalising adolescents' lives.

    A cross sectional study found that adolescents reported coughs and colds (13%), hay fever (5%), skin problems (5%), and asthma (4%).1 The commonest reasons for this age group to consult a general practitioner are respiratory illness, infective and parasitic diseases, diseases of the nervous system, and skin disease. …

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