Camden & Islington: Mock Visits to Local Clinics

Some young people face particular barriers to accessing local services. Steve Gray at the Camden & Islington Sexual Health Education Team (SHET) coordinates 'mock visits' to local services for groups of college students.

Following an introductory session at the college, small groups of young people are given a guided tour of a local sexual health clinic. Groups are single sex or mixed depending on what the young people prefer.

Young people with learning difficulties and ESOL students (English for Speakers of Other Languages) from two London colleges have been involved:

"What I liked about the visit was the things used for not making the woman pregnant" (female ESOL student, aged 17, from a London FE College).

It is hard to be accurate about the uptake of services resulting from this initiative, but monitoring indicates that 8-10 people a month attend a local clinic following SHET sessions in nearby colleges. 

One local GP was clearly impressed: "I saw a young Somali woman who had recently had the knowledge to use Levonelle, bought over the counter on a Sunday. I asked her how she knew to use it and she told me that when doing an ESOL course at a local college she had been taught by Brook* about emergency contraception. Clearly an inspired way of doing outreach to those who might otherwise not know how to access services."

Steve explains that during the visits many young people are surprised to discover that they can access confidential sexual health services that are free for all users.

 Visits to the clinic are a practical way of learning about the location of the clinic, opening hours and range of services offered. 

*local Brook Outreach Workers are part of the SHET team.

Contact: Steve Gray