Young People and Sexual Health: Community Engagement Report 2019

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Devon undertook research into young people’s experience of sexual health education and services, following up on previous research in 2015 and 2016.  They surveyed 545 people aged 16 to 20 and held 5 workshops with 72 participants.

Under half of those surveyed felt that their sexual health education was acceptable. Whilst they felt biological subjects were the main focus of their education, they wanted other topics, including LGBTQ+ and sexual identities and accessing sexual health services, to be covered more.  They felt that a focus on biological processes and STIs meant that sexual education can feel negative. The timing and delivery of sexual health education had a large impact on the student’s experiences.

The research found that young people use the internet most frequently for sexual health advice, followed by friends and family. Young people value GPs and sexual health clinics for their professional expertise and confidentiality. Pharmacies are seen primarily as places for collecting medicines and not as places for specialist advice, to change this perception, people wanted an emphasis on encouraging privacy and confidentiality. Over half of those surveyed had good or excellent experiences of visits to sexual health clinics, because their needs were met, and they felt comfortable, supported, and not judged by staff. Over three quarters of those who have visited sexual health clinics travelled for less than 30 minutes to access the clinic.

There were 8 recommendations about the timing and frequency of sexual health education; how schools could facilitate access to information on sexual health services; how pharmacies could make young people feel more confident about accessing sexual health services; access to specialist teachers and the content of sexual health education.

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General details

Report title 
Young People and Sexual Health: Community Engagement Report 2019
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Devon
Date of publication 
Thursday, 23 July, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 7 March, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 2 April, 2019
Type of report 
Report
Key themes 
Access
Health inequalities
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Healthwatch reference number 
Rep-7684

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Survey
How was the information collected? 
Research
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
N/A

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Sexual health

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 
Gynaecological conditions
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 
N/A

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
521
Age group 
18-24 years
Gender 
All
Ethnicity 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Prefer not to say
Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
No
Does the information include staff's views? 
No
Does the information include other people's views? 
No
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Mixed

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
No
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
No
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
 
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
 
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.