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Centre closure bad news for teens

Centre closure bad news for teens

Closure of the 198 Youth Health Centre in Christchurch is bad news for the city’s young people and surprising in light of a positive evaluation from the Ministry of Health late last year on the effectiveness of youth health services, Family Planning National Medical Advisor Dr Christine Roke says.

“We know that young people “graze” services and need multiple points of access to health services,” Dr Roke says. “We understand that the PHO funding structure doesn’t lend itself well to the way young people move around services. Our view though is that we must ensure that access to appropriate services is available and this must be kept in mind during the planning and funding process.”

A Ministry of Health Evaluation of Youth One Stop Shops, including 198 Youth Health Centre, found that the most common health services provided by services such as 198 Youth, include primary health care, sexual and reproductive health, family planning and mental health services. Most clients of these services are aged between 15 and 24 years – an age group that can often fall through gaps between child and adult services.

The key reasons why young people use such services relate to cost, service flexibility, confidentiality, convenience and youth perceptions that staff are non-judgmental and youth-friendly.

“There were recommendations in the Ministry’s evaluation that we believe could be a guide for a way forward for youth health services – including a recommendation that funding models for youth health be matched to the way young people use services,” Dr Roke says.

“Closure of a service such as 198 Youth Health Centre does not fit with the recommendations of the report – instead it further reduces the services available to young people within Christchurch and will result in young people not receiving the services they need.”


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