Early in 1997 Local GP’s were aware that teenagers rarely used their services, perhaps for reasons of uncertain confidentiality, fear of being seen at the surgery, embarrassment, difficulty in making appointments or inconvenient surgery hours. A Paignton GP Practice Manager, spent a great deal of time researching this issue. She visited a number of initiatives including the TIC TAC service in Callington, Cornwall and suggested that a service giving teenage access to medical professionals be developed on campus at Paignton Community & Sports College.
Consultations were held with all GP’s in Paignton, Practice Nurses, Midwives, Family Planning Nurses, School Nurses, Health Visitors, Teachers, Youth Workers and the Health Authority. As many practices had already expressed a wish to develop adolescent health services by working collaboratively with other agencies in a community based project , everyone was very supportive and the College was particularly keen to encourage the development.
A small bungalow on the College campus was made available for the lunchtime session each day in term time, providing a kitchen/reception area, communal lounge, two consulting rooms and toilets. The bungalow was decorated according to the pupils’ wishes. The College provided a telephone line and met heating and lighting costs.
A multi-agency steering group was formed, a business plan drawn up and £10,000 secured from South and West Devon Health Authority to fund the first year of operation.
Although TIC TAC was originally set up as a Primary Care Centre to enable young people to consult GP’s in a school environment, it has since evolved to include a wider multi-disciplined team including Youth Workers.