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Why would you NOT want a sexual health drop in clinic in school?

(128 Posts)
jennycrofter Thu 15-Nov-12 10:22:34

Parent meeting at school last night and the HT said he had been approached to have a drop in centre operate in school once a week. It was a very small meeting (6 parents, 1 pupil rep) and everyone there thought it a good idea, if a relatively private location could be found within the school.

However, the HT was fairly insistent that "parents" would object, and that oral contraceptives would handed out to underage children, which would cause local outrage. We're not in England, so parents apparently don't have a right to know.

I'm of the opinion that anything that makes it easier and safer for the children to access good advice has to be a good thing. If DC were thinking about becoming sexually active I'd want them to be able to access support quickly and easily, from someone trained in exactly that. There is no where else in town that does it, and the local health centre is the least private building I've ever come across.

Any thoughts? Does your school do anything similar? How does it work??

Viviennemary Thu 15-Nov-12 14:50:15

Underage sex shouldn't go down well with any responsible parents whatever religion they are. It's illegal for a start. Though nobody seems to care very much about that. I can see the use of a general health clinic in schools. But not handing out contraceptives like sweets.

piprabbit Thu 15-Nov-12 14:50:56

Having watched the Unsafe Sex programme on TV last night and heard a couple of lads discussing how you are 'not a real man until you've had Chlamydia", I'd want my children to be getting as much proper advice as possible.

AThingInYourLife Thu 15-Nov-12 14:56:41

I find people's faith that "proper advice" will counteract the effects of a culture of underage sex, misogyny, and easy access to pornography quite touching.

It's not a lack of openness about sex that is causing these problems.

It's a nice thing to have, but it won't touch the genuine pressures teenagers are under when it comes to sex.

Theas18 Thu 15-Nov-12 14:58:33

I have absolutely no idea why parents wouldn't want a sexual health clinic in a school- particularly an 11-18 school where a fir proportion (2.5 yr groups out of 7) are of age anyway .
I can see a a general teen health and worries set up being more useful and day o use though.

There is clearly a huge need if you have been watching the prog on thrbbc about manchester centre for sexual health. To have a team like that easily accessible to teen would be amazing. They were so good and non judgmental

ReallyTired Thu 15-Nov-12 14:58:50

" I can see the use of a general health clinic in schools. But not handing out contraceptives like sweets. "

Teens are already allowed to go to their GP and get contraceptives. A general clinic in a school is no different to a teen going to the GP.

Underage sex has existed for a long time. I would rather that a teen got medical help than got pregnant. It may well be that a young teen is in an abusive relationship and the school nurse may well be able to get her to see sense. If a school nurse builds up a good relationship with a client then she can help break out of an abusive situation. (ie. 14 year old girl in a sexual relationship with a 24 year old man)

Certainly I do not want contraceptives handed to teenagers like sweets. I want a young teen to have proper advice and councelling before getting contraception. I can't see how such councelling can be done as a casual drop in.

ISingSoprano Thu 15-Nov-12 14:58:51

I think if the school is in an area where it is difficult for young people to get to sexual health clinics due to geography and access to public transport then it is a really good idea to have some sort of provision at school. Young people need access to a variety of sources for sexual health and contraceptive advice - school, pharmacy, GP, sexual health clinic etc.

Annunziata Thu 15-Nov-12 14:59:00

I don't know.

Would it actually be used? Would it operate during school hours- are we talking about missing classes? How can you make it accessible but private? I'd also be worried about the gossip mill starting up.

ReallyTired Thu 15-Nov-12 15:04:10

I imagine you could have a drop in at lunch time and prehaps make an appointment during class time if more time is needed.

I don't think the gossip mill would start up if it was a general clinic.

Young people have a wide range of medical and emotional problems beyond shagging.

AThingInYourLife Thu 15-Nov-12 15:07:54

Missing class to go and get johnnies?

That would be popular amongst pupils, certainly.

Why does there need to be a clinic at school?

There aren't health clinics in most workplaces.

Why not a clinic at the shopping centre where they hang out after school?

Annunziata Thu 15-Nov-12 15:10:51

OP has only asked/been asked about a sexual health clinic though.

I could only imagine the potential for humiliation if you were seen going.

I think I agree with AThingInYourLife.

BackforGood Thu 15-Nov-12 15:17:59

I agree with AthinginYourLife. To my mind, it just adds to the culture of some teen magazines (and indeed a minority of MN) where the thinking is everyone is having under age sexual relations, and it's perfectly acceptable and normal. That's not something I would sign up to. It's not a train of thought I'd want to encourage.

schoolnurse Thu 15-Nov-12 15:52:19

"Why does there need to be a clinic at school?"
Lets think has it got anything to do with the fact that we have the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe? Fortunately this number is actually declining and its attributed to the fact that the last government really improved sex education for teenagers. Not all teenagers have sex but many want to and do and contraception/sex education/sexual health advise needs to be freely and easily available for them.

mummytime Thu 15-Nov-12 16:14:21

Wouldn't the way round it to broaden it to general health. So students with worries about: acne, weight, smoking, heavy periods, or so on, could go. It might make it easier for students to go too, as if asked why or where you were going you could say "Oh I just keep having these bad headaches."

schoolnurse Thu 15-Nov-12 17:03:12

"Wouldn't the way round it to broaden it to general health."
Of course it would but this would require employing a properly trained nurse and I doubt most state schools have the budget for this and the NHS certainly doesn't.

ReallyTired Thu 15-Nov-12 17:14:57

schoolnurse surely a drop in clinic for sexual health would be run by a fully qualified nurse. Surely widening the clinic to cover general health would not up the cost that much.

I imagine it could save the NHS money simple conditions could be treated by a nurse. Schools have had a lot of sucess treating conditions like anxiety or depression with relience or protective behaviour training. I don't think that teaching and health as as far apart as some people think.

ReallyTired Thu 15-Nov-12 17:15:52

I think a smoking cessation clinic at school is well worth missing Maths for.

AThingInYourLife Thu 15-Nov-12 17:16:42

So who is going to be working in these "drop-in centres" if not fully trained nurses? confused

AThingInYourLife Thu 15-Nov-12 17:18:53

"I think a smoking cessation clinic at school is well worth missing Maths for."


Why not just scrap school entirely and just keep the drop-in clinic?

schoolnurse Thu 15-Nov-12 17:29:42

It will have to either be a trained nurse or doctor but running drop in contraception advise is one thing but adding in obesity clinics acne clinics, clinics for smoking heavy periods etc etc is much more complicated this treatment is obtained through a GP, referrals specialists cost money, as do prescription for medication for these conditions, nurses can be trained to prescribe contraception but unless they are nurse prescribers which few school nurses are a GP would have to prescribe the treatments and this would require nurses liaising with GPs etc the whole thing is unworkable. School nurses like all other nurses are being are also being cut back because there is no money and there is just simply not enough to go round every state school.
Only in the independent sector, (usually only boarding schools) who employ trained nurses and hold regular GP surgeries on the school premises and who obviously "bill" the parents though the fees is this level of health care/education available

mummytime Thu 15-Nov-12 17:42:30

This isn't the UK though. In my area there are lots of GPs, and drop in clinics, and radio ads for the postal clamydia testing.

happygardening Thu 15-Nov-12 17:55:03

Nearly all schools promote clamydia testing but GPs do not need to be involved because tests are sent off in the post. But theres a big difference between clamydia testing and obesity/acne/stop smoking/heavy periods etc etc clinics this may not be the UK but I be intersted to known if there is any country that can afford to employ properly trainec staff on a regular basis to run this kind of clinic.

creamteas Thu 15-Nov-12 18:51:43

The studies of abstinence education have usually shown that sexual behaviour does not decrease but pregnancies and STI increase. Young people are often not comfortable talking to parents (or teachers) so having nurses on the premises would be a real positive.

I really don't understand why people would object.

AThingInYourLife Thu 15-Nov-12 18:55:53

There is a whole spectrum of possibility between abstinence only education and having a sex clinic in the school.

If schools can afford nurses again why can't we have proper school nurses and not ones solely dedicate to the teenagers that are getting laid?

mathanxiety Thu 15-Nov-12 19:22:15

I have seen this sort of clinic operate (in a wider health clinic sense but everyone knew sexual health was on the table and that was its main use) and it was a tremendous asset in the school. Treating sexual health as a component of general health and teaching teens to take responsibility for their health in all areas was a positive. That was the message it sent out -- responsibility. Not promiscuity.

MorningPurples Thu 15-Nov-12 19:34:26

There was very little shame attached to the idea of having underage sex - the shame was on the ones who were, who didn't have boyfriends, etc etc.

(hopefully obvious from the context that I mis-typed and meant 'the shame was on the ones who weren't, not were!).

Treating sexual health as a component of general health and teaching teens to take responsibility for their health in all areas was a positive. That was the message it sent out -- responsibility. Not promiscuity.

As a component of general health, I agree, and I think a general health clinic could be a very positive resource for a school.

I think there is a vast difference between what message the school/clinic/adults involved think it sends out, and the actual perception of teenagers about the normality of underage sex. The intention to be open and unshameful about sex is fine in principle, but I think a lot of people are saying how teens don't feel it's shameful already (their parents might, but that's a different issue) - they feel shamed for not being sexually active, and having the evidence that many other people are, right on their doorstep, is going to make that harder. A general health clinic, on the other hand, that covers sexual responsiblity, but also many other areas of health, sounds like a better idea.

Teens are already allowed to go to their GP and get contraceptives. A general clinic in a school is no different to a teen going to the GP.^

Only if it does cover all sorts of other areas of health. If it is only about sex, contraception, etc., then the pressure it puts on others is a big difference. Nobody knows what you go to the GP for, or to a health clinic. Even if you were going to a sexual health clinic elsewhere away from school, it would be a less obvious thing. It's not the fact that it's providing access to contraceptives that is in any way a problem - absolutely, if a teen is going to be sexually active, then they need access to them, and good advice about sex all along - it's just a question of how/when to provide this advice so that it is both easily accessible, and yet at the same time doesn't normalise underage sex in such a way to make non-sexually-active teens feel even more abnormal and pressured than they currently do (when there is already a fair bit of pressure around from all kinds of media showing that all teens do/want is sex, that underage sex is a big issue, that it's happening everywhere/to everyone, etc).

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