The objective of the Evaluation of Youth One Stop Shops was to assist the Ministry and District Health Boards (DHBs) to understand the current place of youth one stop shops (YOSS) in the continuum of health service provision, and provide an overview of how they provide health services for New Zealand youth.
Generally, most young people are healthy. However, between 12 and 24 years of age young people are most likely to be involved in risk-taking behaviours. New Zealand youth have higher rates of mental illness, suicide, teen pregnancy, abortion and suffer more injuries than their counterparts in other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
Young people access health services in a range of settings, including school-based clinics, general practices, community-based health centres and through mobile and out-reach clinics. Young people are known to ‘snack’ or ‘graze’ on services according to their present situation and needs.
The transition between child and adult health services is sometimes difficult for youth. Youth traditionally seek less mainstream care.
The evaluation found that the fourteen YOSS provide a range of accessible, youth-friendly health and social services at little or no cost to young people. Youth specific services have evolved in response to local demand and have been supported by a range of funders and health providers.
The most common health services provided include primary health care, sexual and reproductive health, family planning and mental health services. The majority of clients are aged between 15 and 24 years. Service utilisation is greater amongst females. A high percentage of Māori access services.
The key reasons why young people use YOSS relate to cost, service flexibility, confidentiality, convenience and youth perceptions that staff are non-judgmental and youth-friendly.
The evaluation identified a number of gaps and overlaps in service provision. While YOSS do not provide any services that are not available elsewhere, the integrated and youth-specific model of care attracts youth, particularly those who have higher need.
The challenge for the health sector is to configure services that address youth concerns about privacy and confidentiality, to provide youth specific healthcare and to promote healthy choices.