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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • community pharmacies;
  • pharmacists;
  • young people;
  • youth health

Abstract

Objectives

To investigate whether there is potential for community pharmacies to help increase healthcare access and address unmet health needs of young people in New Zealand.

Methods

A descriptive secondary analysis of the Youth'07 health and wellbeing survey data was undertaken alongside discussion meetings with a youth advisory group.

Key findings

Seventeen per cent (n = 1485) of all students had been unable to access care when required in the previous 12 months. Of these students, 86.0% cited barriers to accessing health care that are unlikely to be barriers in a community pharmacy setting (e.g. not being able to get an appointment). Thirty per cent (n = 2475) of students had experienced difficulty accessing health care in the past 12 months for various health issues, with over half of these (n = 1326) citing a health issue for which community pharmacies could provide services (e.g. minor health issues, smoking cessation).

Conclusions

Although young people are generally considered to be fit and healthy, many have health needs that are currently unmet by traditional health services. Community pharmacies offer services that are relevant to youth health and are readily accessible to young people, indicating potential to help address unmet health needs and improve healthcare access. Further research is needed to explore how community pharmacy models of care might be provided in an appropriate and acceptable manner for youth.