DoH push helps GPs and nurses tackle adolescent health

GPs and nurses are to be given a new electronic training resource as part of a DoH push to help tackle adolescent health issues.

The launch of the resource coincides with the release of the annual report by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, Sir Liam Donaldson, which calls for a new focus on teenage health.

The Adolescent Health Project consists of 70 teaching sessions, each 20-25 minutes in duration, that cover a number of issues such as sexual health, communicating with young people and tackling self-harm.

Speaking at the launch of the resource in central London yesterday, health secretary Alan Johnson said that it could ‘revolutionise the support we give to adolescents'.

‘It is a very exciting step forward and clear recognition of the increased profile of adolescent health we will see reflected in our forthcoming Children and Young People's Health Strategy.'

Professor David Haslam, president of the RCGP, said that the resource ‘could not be more relevant for GPs'.

‘Family doctors understand the real importance of offering high quality care to young people but it is not easy.'

Fiona Smith, advisor on children and young people's nursing at the RCN, added: ‘This resource will give nurses the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to work with young people.'

Elsewhere, the CMO report calls for a national summit to take stock of health programmes and services for teenagers, more investment of teenagers in the design of health services for them, a young person's panel to be set up to advise on national campaigns addressing teenagers and for the legal blood alcohol level limit for drivers aged between 17 and 20 years to be reduced to zero.

The report also draws attention to the rising levels of oesophageal cancer which now account for 6,000 deaths in England and Wales each year, and recommends a national study into the risk factors associated with the cancer as well as better educational programmes to improve public awareness of the symptoms.

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