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Guide for Young People

We are here to help with your health and your concerns.  You can talk to us and tell us what’s worrying you.  That’s our job 😀.

Are you a young person in Dunbar?

We want you to feel confident and welcome in accessing the services offered at Dunbar Medical Centre.  We are committed to working with young people’s groups in Dunbar, and to highlight some of the services that we provide.

What can we help with?

How do I make an appointment?

PHONE: Call the reception team of the practice you are registered with, on Monday-Friday 8am to 6pm.  They will help you to make an appointment with the most appropriate member of our team: this might be a doctor (GP), nurse or healthcare assistant.  Just like our doctors and nurses, our reception team must maintain your confidentiality – that means they can’t tell your parents, guardian or family/friends that you have made an appointment.

POP IN: Visit Dunbar Medical Centre and the reception team of your practice will help you make an appointment.

During the current coronavirus restrictions, please telephone in for an appointment instead of attending the medical centre, if possible.

ONLINE: All young people aged 12 years and above are eligible for the online appointment and prescription service.  This means you can book an appointment using your phone or computer.  To use this service, visit one of our surgeries, bring photographic ID, and we’ll give you instructions on how to register.

If these options are still not possible – consider speaking to your parents, guardian or family/friends for assistance.   Or find a teacher, youth group leader or another adult who you trust and they may be able to help.

Please ensure that you attend your appointment. If you need to change your plans let us know in advance as we can then use that appointment for someone else. We know that plans can change, but if you repeatedly fail to turn up for an appointment, we will get in touch to work out how to avoid this happening in the future.

Do I need to come with a parent?

Involving your parents or close family is normally a good thing.  They can help you to describe your worries or concerns, to remember any advice given, and they will normally want to help you with your concerns.  We would recommend that you bring a parent or close family member with you.

However sometimes this isn’t possible, or you might not feel comfortable with this.

In Scotland, we can see you alone providing that you are aged 12 years or over, and that we think that you are able to make safe and appropriate decisions about your health.  We can have a chat about the options available to you when you speak to us.

Do you keep my worries secret?

We want you to feel able to trust us with your information, particularly as it might be about something you find embarrassing, difficult to talk about, or important for you to share only with certain people.

Confidentiality means having trust that we won’t share your worries or information with anyone, unless you give us permission to do so.  So health professionals don’t share patient information on Facebook, when we’re talking with our own friends/family or with anyone else in the general community.  This is the case for all NHS services.

Keeping information confidential is treated really seriously.  GPs, nurses and reception staff can lose their jobs if they break confidentiality without good reason.  All of our systems are password protected, and we can monitor who has looked at your information.

Sometimes, we need to share information with colleagues for their advice or input. Also, if we think that you are in some sort of danger then we must tell other professionals so that we can work together to keep you safe.  There are strict rules about when this is required, and how this is done.

Our advice is: if you have any questions about how confidential your information is, just ask.  However, whether it’s a fungal nail infection, a sore throat, a sexually transmitted infection or something about your mental health, we will only share this information with other professionals when it is necessary to keep you safe.

I haven’t been to the GP or nurse before.  What happens?

Come in to the surgery around 5-10 minutes before your appointment time.  We see lots of people every day, and we have to work to a schedule to ensure that everyone is seen.  A typical appointment lasts 10-15 minutes, and sometimes we ask you to come back for another appointment to ask more questions or explain more about your options.  If you’re running late, let us know as soon as possible and we will do our best to reschedule your appointment for the next available time.

Whilst sitting in the waiting room, there are usually magazines to read. If you’re feeling nervous in any way then having some distractions can help.  You can play silent games on your phone, play music through earphones or bring your own magazine if you want – but please listen out for your name being called.

The GP or nurse will call you in, and ask you how we can help, or what is troubling you. Take your time and bring a list of your concerns if you think that will be useful … we want to know how we can help you.

An appointment usually takes 10-15 minutes.  We might have a look at whatever it is that’s concerning you and then we’ll let you know what we need to do.  We might arrange for you to have an x-ray, give you a prescription, come back for a blood test … or we might be able to reassure you that everything is OK.  If necessary, we can arrange to see you again in a few days, weeks or months to check how things are going.

That’s it!

Where can I find more information about mental health?

Low mood, anxiety and depression are conditions that can be difficult to describe or seek advice about.  However, looking after your mental health is particularly important during adolescence and for younger adults.  This video describes some of the feelings that you might be experiencing…

If you are having problems with your mood, or you are feeling anxious or depressed, there are a number of ways that you can find help:

  • Speak to your parents or guardian, a trusted friend, teacher or relative.  It can help to open up about your emotions to other people, and they can be really helpful to encourage and support you in getting professional advice.
  • There may be counselling services available at your school.  Speak to your guidance department or a trusted teacher to find out what is available.
  • Make an appointment with any GP to discuss your concerns.  If you are feeling concerned about your mental health, we want you to get the help you need.
  • A good website for further advice is YoungMinds.  If you think you have an eating disorder, the Beat website is good for information and support.  We will be adding more links to this page soon.

What about LGBTQ+ concerns?

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and other forms of gender and sexuality.  For young people in particular, it can be difficult to talk about sexuality and emotions about your gender.

We want to make our services accessible and helpful for young and older people wanting advice about LGBTQ+ health – including mental and sexual health.  Soon, we will add more information about our LGBTQ+ policy and how we make our practice more accessible to people who identify as LGBTQ+.

Will I need to have something done that’s painful/embarrassing?

We will explain what we need to do to work out what the problem is.  At any point you can take some time to think about whether you’re happy to have that done, and come back later. Here are some common tests that we do:

  • Blow into a tube to check your asthma (not painful, not embarrassing)
  • Look at a part of your body that is causing you concern (not painful, sometimes embarrassing – but we’ll explain what we need to do and we’ve probably seen it many times before)
  • Take some blood (sometimes slightly painful, not embarrassing)
  • Check for infections (not painful, not normally embarrassing)

A final word about sexually transmitted infections (STIs)…

Sometimes we hear that young people are anxious about how doctors and nurses test for STIs.  It’s surprisingly straightforward, and you can come in any time to request a checkup.  We recommend doing this before starting any new sexual relationship.  We can provide condoms to you – just ask.

To check for chlamydia or gonorrhea:

  • Guys pee into a bottle first thing in the morning, and hand it into the surgery
  • Girls pop a cotton-bud into their vagina, put it into a bottle, and hand it into the surgery

To check for HIV, hepatitis or syphilis:

  • Guys and girls get a blood test, which takes around 30 seconds


Dunbar Medical Centre, Queens Road, Dunbar, EH42 1EE
You can view our accessibility statement here.