Two afternoons each week, Teen Clinic makes time for local high schoolers. Teens simply need to drop in to meet with a Registered Nurse (RN) about any concern big or small, no appointment needed, and no cost.
Doctors and other health professionals are there and ready to respond if needed, supporting the work of the RN.
Bega Valley Medical Practice in Bega developed and launched the idea in 2015, with the service rolled out to five other GP practices in early 2018.
“In Bega, we’ve decided to extend Teen Clinic by one extra hour every Tuesday and Thursday,” says Dr Duncan MacKinnon.
“Teen Clinic will now start at the earlier time of 1 pm on both days and run until 5 pm.”
Duncan says the need was there, “We want this to be as easy and as accessible to teens as possible.”
On the back of Commonwealth funding, Teen Clinic now also operates at Bermagui Medical Centre, Curalo Medical Centre (Eden), Lighthouse Surgery(Narooma), Main Street Medical (Merimbula), and Kiama Medical Practice.
“There has been a really positive response to the rollout of Teen Clinic to other towns and GP clinics,” Duncan says.
“The survey will help us build on that and check in with the people we are wanting to serve – local teens.”
The expansion to Kiama, Narooma, Bermagui, Merimbula, and Eden has also prompted enquiries from other communities, not just from South East NSW but from as far away as Western Australia.
“Looking after young people is a priority for every regional community, each young person represents so much potential,” Duncan says.
“The Teen Clinic model is well suited to serving the needs of young people in rural and regional communities around Australia, we’d be happy to hear from any community who wants to start a Teen Clinic in their town.
“This is a grassroots, local solution to improve access to health care for young people,” he says.
The Teen Clinic Survey runs until the end of May, all young people who take part go into the draw to win one of 40 $25 Woolworths Gift Cards.
“Teen Clinic looks to empower and care for young people, and the survey is part of that, we are grateful to anyone who takes the time to do it,” Duncan says.
*This article first appeared on RiotACT