Young people’s perception of patient centred primary care in Birmingham reveals indicators of avoidable health inequity which could have lasting implications for the way young people use health services for the rest of their lives. It provides a glimpse into children and young people’s actual experience of using primary care services and offers an insight into the ways that services need to be improved.

By Healthwatch Birmingham
Investigations 2016

Between October and December 2015 Healthwatch Birmingham staff and volunteers asked
more than 300 young people (aged 16-25 years) about their experiences of patient centred
care in general practice consultations and about their use of health services.

Our findings:

1. The level of patient centred care experienced by young people in Birmingham is not consistent or good enough:

  • One in five young people visiting their Birmingham medical practice in the last 12 months rated the level of patient centred care they experienced as either ‘poor’ or ‘fair.’
  • When asked: ‘How good was the receptionist at making you feel at ease?’ nearly one in three (30%) answered ‘poor’ or ‘fair.’
  • When asked: ‘How good was the receptionist at showing care and compassion?’ more than four in ten (41%) responded ‘poor’ or ‘fair.’

2. Many young people experience avoidable barriers to attending their general practice:

  • Nearly one in three (29%) respondents felt embarrassed about a health problem.
  • A quarter (25%) said they found it difficult to obtain an appointment.
  • One in five (20%) were put off by having to disclose a health concern to the receptionist.

3. Some young people are ‘voting with their feet’ and going elsewhere. A survey of young people who were registered with a Birmingham GP but who had not attended a consultation in the last year revealed that when they had a health concern:

  • Nearly a quarter (24%) went to a walk in centre.
  • Around one in six (15%) attended A&E.
  • One in five sought advice in the pharmacy.


Birmingham CCGs should improve the level of patient centred care experienced by young
people in all the services they commission. They could do this by:

  • Listening to the experiences of young people expressed in this report and acting on them by encouraging general practices to provide high quality care to this age group.
  • Encouraging young people to become involved in Patient Participation Groups.
  • Collating the views of young people and using them to improve patient centred care.
  • Encouraging all providers they commission to upload the Healthwatch Birmingham online feedback portal on their website and make a note of any feedback left by young people.
  • Auditing the level of shared decision-making between young patients and clinicians in general practice.

Young people's experiences of patient centred primary care in Birmingham Download File (pdf 652.97 KB)

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