Developing an integrated primary health care and youth work service for young people in Lambeth: learning from the Well Centre

HAGELL Ann, LAMB Stephanie
Journal article citation:
Journal of Children's Services, 11(3), 2016, pp.233-243.

Purpose: Developing youth-friendly, flexible primary care is important because young people have specific health needs but often feel nervous and uneasy when seeking appropriate help. The Well Centre in South London is an innovative adolescent health one-stop-shop, jointly designed and developed by Redthread (a youth work charity) and the Herne Hill Group Practice (general practitioners). The purpose of this paper is to summarise the experiences of implementing the model and provides a description of a sample of clients. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on routine data from the Well Centre’s medical and youth work data systems, a service description and audit of patients using the centre during the three years from October 2011 to December 2014 was provided, with a particular focus on the 368 new patients aged 13-20 years attending between January and December 2014. Findings: Results demonstrated the Well Centre’s success in drawing in patients from deprived backgrounds who were less likely to be engaged with other health services, and who reflected a high level of mental health problems. The Well Centre model tested the benefit of an integrated approach in recognising and meeting the needs of young people. The real strength of the model lay in the good communications with schools and the voluntary sector in the area. Originality/value: The Well Centre is a unique intervention with potentially wide ramifications for how primary health care is delivered to young people in inner city areas, and this paper represents the first published information about its working methods and clientele. (Publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
primary care, youth work, health education, young people, health care, public health, integrated services, health needs, inner cities;
Content type:
practice example
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