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Use of health services

Good outcomes for young people rely on youth friendly health services – from community based health promotion through to NHS inpatient care.

Around two thirds of year 10 pupils had visited the doctors in the last six months

Hospital admissions and secondary care

Many hospital admissions for children and young people take place through accident and emergency (A & E) departments. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) estimates place this at 47% of admissions for those aged 12-15 (CQC, 2015). A study of 10,455 attendances by 8,303 young people aged 13-17 showed that reasons for attending A & E included injuries (72%), abdominal pain (16%), self-harm (11%), fits, faints and funny turns (10%), breathing difficulties (7%) and intoxication (6%) (Shanmugavadivel et al, 2014). It is also worth noting that around one quarter of teenagers and young adults with cancer are diagnosed at A & E, having presented as emergencies (National Cancer Intelligence Network, 2013). Children with longterm conditions such as asthma, diabetes or epilepsy have increased risk of emergency admissions, and this is reduced for children who are seen more frequently in primary care (Cecil et al, 2018).

The NHS England Hospital Episode Statistics in Chart 7.8 show that rates of attendances at A & E departments for those aged 15-19 has been relatively stable in recent years.  

The number of A&E visits of 15-19 year olds has remained relatively stable in recent years

The Care Quality Commission regularly surveys large samples of under-16s about their experience of being in hospital. Chart 7.9 presents results from the last survey, which show that while the majority of under-16s felt things were clearly explained and that they were involved in decisions about their care and treatment, a significant minority did not.

Young people have a range of views on hospital inpatient and day case experiences

All data correct as of 1st November 2021