Are there problems for young people accessing secondary care if they are close to the age cut-offs for different services? Lizzie Wortley shares AYPH’s new report on the issue.

Sometimes we are so used to the status quo that we can all miss the obvious.  In Spring 2022 AYPH asked a question that now seems fundamental for young people and their ability to access appropriate healthcare services at the age when they need to. 

The question we asked was “Does being close to the age-cut off between paediatric and adult services mean young people between 15 years and 19 years struggle to access secondary care outpatients?”  We had heard some anecdotal accounts of this happening, and began to wonder whether some young people are missing out at an age when holistic good quality care is vital.  What we were interested in was the problem of getting a secondary care referral at this transitionary age when something new arises, rather than the transfer from paediatric services into adult services.   

In our new report we share  what we found from asking GPs, paediatricians and adult physicians if they thought this was a problem for young people.  You can read about a young person’s experiences trying to access age-appropriate expert secondary care, and how there is a real problem happening that has not previously been explored.    

Now we’ve asked the question it is clear that a number of young people may fall through the gap. If paediatric services stop at 16, and adult services start at 18 years, then those around that age will have a tough time accessing the care they need.    

We look forward to working more on this topic as we continue to advocate for young people and their health.