The youth friendly general practice video informs young people about the breadth of the GP role, the confidentiality of the services that GPs provide, and encourages young people to access GPs.
The video is a resource for schools, in particular as part of the PDHPE program. Teacher notes are available to accompany the video resource and make it easy for teachers to use.
In the youth friendly general practice resource, we see a narrator Amy, who asks questions about accessing a general practice and follows a young person who consults a GP to find out about how general practice works. Amy explains:
Amy Langly: Hi. I'm Amy, and I'm going to talk to you about visiting the Doctor. It won't take long, and I'm not going to make it a massive lecture.
Firstly, going to the doctor isn't a big, scary thing you have to freak out about. You can go see the doctor for any reason at all, even if it's not the typical stuff you'd normally think of. Like, feeling stressed out about school, a bit down, fighting with your parents, or you just want advice about relationships and sex. Anything. It all starts with one call to make an appointment.
Let's use Matt as an example. Matt's nearly finished Year 10 and he's feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the assignments and school work. He's not sleeping well, which is making him a bit irritable. And Mum and Dad are always on his case. Eventually, Matt contacts a GP he heard about through one of his friends.
Linda: Hello, Family Practice, Linda speaking. How can I help you?
Matt: Hi. Um, I wanna see a doctor.
Linda: Sure. Is it urgent, and is there anyone you'd like to see in particular?
Matt: Uh, it's kind of important, and yes, can I see Dr. Chris?
Linda: Of course. Sometimes you have to wait a bit to see the doctor you want, but I can make you an appointment with Dr. Chris next Monday afternoon. Have you been here before?
Linda: That's fine. Can I start with your name please?
Matt: Yeah. Matt Tydon.
Amy: The doctor's office just needs your name to make an appointment. You don't have to give any other details at this point. You can ask to see a specific doctor if you have one in mind. Sometimes, it's worth asking around your friends to see if anyone knows a good one. There are some clinics where you can just walk in and see whichever doctor is there, but you might have to sit in the waiting room for a while. Now, back to Matt.
Matt: Uh, what does it cost?
Linda: Well, each doctor is different. Some doctors do private billing, which means you have to pay up front, but Dr. Chris bulk bills, which means you can see the doctor for free and then we'll claim back the cost from Medicare.
Matt: Oh, OK.
Linda: Have you got your own Medicare card?
Matt: Uh, I don't think so. Does that matter?
Linda: No, no, not at all. You can just either ask your parents for the card number, or I can call Medicare directly and get the number for you.
Matt: Yeah, do that.
[The receptionist talks in the background]
Linda: Hey, how are you going?
Matt: I'm good. Um, I'm Matt Tydon, I have an appointment with Dr. Chris.
Linda: Oh, great, OK Matt. Well, since it is your first visit I need you to just fill in this paperwork.
Linda: And, I did ring Medicare like we spoke about on the phone and got your card number. You know, because you're 15 Matt, you can actually get your own Medicare card? So, all you have to do is fill in that form and then take it into any Medicare office with some photo ID. Or you can grab the form online if you want.
Matt: OK, thanks.
Linda: Great, take a seat and the doctor will call you when he's ready.
Amy: So, remember: when you call the doctor ask how the practice bills. Some places bulk bill, which means you don't have to pay anything out of your own pocket. Others bill privately, which means you pay upfront but you can claim some of it back from Medicare. You can use your family's Medicare card at any age and if you're 14 or over, Medicare won't tell anyone that you've used it. If you're 15 or over, you can get your own card. If you don't have your Medicare card with you at the time, the doctor's receptionist can call Medicare and get the card number for you. It is a good idea to talk to mum and dad about getting your own card if you're 15 or over. It makes life simpler for all those involved and it makes you more responsible for your own health.
Dr Chris: Matt Tydon?
Dr Chris: G'day Matt. Come on through.
So, Matt, how can I help today?
Matt: Uh, I'm not so sure.
Dr Chris: Alright. Well, why don't I start by telling you about trust or confidentiality between patient and doctor?
Dr Chris: Everything you tell me today stays between just us unless you tell me that you, or someone else is going to get seriously harmed, and really rarely for some other legal reasons.
Amy: Huh? Did he just say he won't tell Matt's parents? Huh? Did he just say he won't tell Matt's parents? Let's clarify that. Excuse me, are you a doctor?
Carol Kefford: I am.
Amy: Could I ask you a few questions, please?
Carol: Sure. Come into my office.
Amy: So, tell me about confidentiality.
Carol: Confidentiality means that whatever you say to the doctor stays with the doctor. They won't tell your parents the school, or your friends unless you have given them your permission. In fact, any young person who comes to see a doctor has the right to confidential advice.
Carol:Yes. As a doctor, it is always my duty to keep you safe. So, I would only need to involve someone to help me care for you if I seriously thought that you, or someone else, was in real danger. For example, if you were being severely harmed or you were planning to hurt yourself or somebody else. Rarely, I might be required by the law to release information from a patient's file. However, if ever I needed to do any of these things, I would talk to you first about who I wanted to have involved and the options you had for going about this. Confidentiality also applies to test results, too. I always give them directly to the patient unless they've given me permission to give them to somebody else.
Amy: OK, thanks. Now, let's see how Matt's doing.
Dr Chris: So, what's going on, Matt?
Matt: Uh, I don't know, it's hard to say.
Dr Chris: Alright, well why don't you tell me about where you live and what's going on there?
Matt: Well, that's partly it.
Dr Chris: Yeah? How so?
Matt: I'm just always tired and I can't sleep very well.
Dr Chris: Go on.
Matt: And there's just heaps going on at school.
Dr Chris: Well, I can help with that. Why don't you tell me a little bit more?
Matt: OK. Well, ever since I started Year 10, I've been really stressed and I can't seem to keep up with my homework and mum and dad are always on my back and I've had these really big assignments that I haven't done really well in.
Amy: There! See? It's easy. You can go see a GP for any reason at all. Even if you're worried it might waste the doctor's time, or you think it's too personal or embarrassing. You can go alone, or you can take a parent or a friend. And the GP won't tell anyone about your session unless there's a good reason. And it can be free, depending on the GP. If you don't feel comfortable with the first GP you see, find another one! There are plenty of sites that can help you find a good one in your area. And remember: A GP is there to help. So, what are you waiting for?
[Voice from off screen] Amy Langley?
Amy: Hi. That's me, gotta go.
Dr Carol Kefford and staff of academic GP unit, Northern Clinical School, University of Sydney
Philip Batey, Head of PDHPE, PDHPE staff and Year 10 students from Kincumber High School.
Dr Melissa Kang
Dr Lena Sanci
'The Practice' in Blacktown
Dr Chris Ganora
All the young people and other friends who so willingly have feedback on the project.
Visiting a GP
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