While confidentiality is recognized as a critical aspect of successful health services aimed at young people, most research has looked at the concerns of those in urban centers. This paper reports qualitative and quantitative data collected from general practitioners (GPs) and young people in a rural health district.
Researchers conducted this study to assess rural teenagers’ concerns regarding anonymity and confidentiality when accessing sexual health services.
The views of teenagers about using health services for issues of sexual health were sought through an in-school survey of 311 Year 9 and 119 Year 11 students. Besides, 18 single-sex focus group discussions were conducted in North and East Devon. All GPs in the district were asked to complete a questionnaire.
These reveal that young people’s particular concerns from small communities are more to do with the difficulties of remaining anonymous, related to visibility and lack of privacy in remote communities. These problems were more pervasive among rural young people than those concerns more usually reported about confidential consultations. Further researches must be conducted to explore rural teenagers’ concerns when accessing sexual health services.