Scottish Government
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Hospital care for teenagers

Teenagers going into any hospital in Scotland will in future benefit from dedicated age-appropriate care as a result of guidance issued to health boards yesterday.

Following a commitment to raise the upper age limit for patients in children's hospitals from 13 to 16 (with added flexibility from 16-18), the Scottish Government is now advising all hospitals on how to improve care for adolescents.

The Hospital Services for Young People in Scotland guidance launched today recommends:

  • All hospitals should provide facilities and services for young people aged 13 and over, separate wherever possible from children and adults
  • Adequate training for staff who care for young people
  • Extra educational support for young people, particularly those who need frequent or lengthy hospital stays
  • Support for moving from adolescent to adult care

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

"Clinical care for teenagers is of the highest standard. But in other aspects they have sometimes been stuck in the middle - some hospitals treat teenagers with small children or with much older people.

"Neither of those is appropriate. The truth is that failing to recognise young people's distinct needs can hamper their recovery and even impact on their education.

"By adopting the recommendations outlined in our report, hospitals will be able to make sure adolescents get care specifically tailored for them - a vital part of the patient-centred health service we think everyone is entitled to."

National Clinical Lead for Children and Young People's Health, Morgan Jamieson, said:

"This guidance shows a welcome commitment by the NHS in Scotland to consider actively and practically the needs and views of young people.

"Exactly how that is done will vary between different hospital settings, and there is room for innovation and imagination as well as collaboration across the traditional boundaries between children's and adult services.

"By its very nature, adolescence doesn't begin or end at specific ages and what's right for one young person won't necessarily be right for another. That's why this guidance builds in flexibility and choice."

The guidance is aimed at all hospitals that admit young people, including children's hospitals and district general hospitals. It has been formulated in consultation with young people themselves, as well as NHS boards and other stakeholders.

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