Teenagers & Young Adults

You’re Welcome

Welcome to the section on our website for teenagers and young adults. We hope you find the information below useful to you, if you can’t find what you’re looking for please do not hesitate to contact us.

Herrington Medical Practice welcomes teenagers and young adults and encourage you to come to the surgery for any health concern, however minor or embarrassing it may seem.

The doctors and nurses can help you with physical problems, as well as emotional worries, stress or other issues. Examples of common reasons young people come to see us include skin problems, worries about weight and eating, contraceptive advice (including ‘morning after pill’), sexual health concerns, low mood, worrying thoughts and anxiety, drugs, alcohol and smoking cessation.

Even if you are under 16 you are welcome to attend the doctor/nurse without your parents. We are happy for you to bring a friend along for moral support.

Remember that anything you say to any member of surgery staff (including receptionists) is totally confidential; all members of staff are open and non-judgmental. Please ask if you would like to speak to a member of staff in a confidential area. All doctors, nurses, reception and administration staff are bound by strict confidentiality rules. They have all completed training in Confidentiality and Information Governance (this covers all aspects of patient confidentiality and security of information). The only reason why we might have to consider passing on confidential information without your permission would be to protect you or someone else from serious harm. We would always try to discuss this with you first.

Can I be seen alone?

We are happy to see you alone even if you are under 16 or talk on the phone. You can bring a friend or relative if you want to. We have female and male doctors available for appointments most days.

We also have a room available if you wish to speak to a receptionist in private.

Are you ready for sex?

Most people have sex for the first time when they’re 16 or older, not before. If your mates are bragging about having sex, it’s possible that they’re pretending. Although there’s a legal age of consent, it’s not necessarily the right age that you feel ready to start having sex. There are no rules about how long you have to be going out with someone before you’re ready. Being ready happens at different times for everyone – don’t decide to have sex just because your friends are pressuring you.

Deciding when to have sex 

Working out whether you’re ready is one of life’s big decisions. You’re the only one who can, and should, decide. Whether you’re thinking about losing your virginity or having sex again. It’s your choice to choose whether you want to have sex, whoever you’re with. Just because you’ve done it before, even with the same person, doesn’t mean that you have to do it again.

Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to have sex. Even if you’ve done it once or twice you still need to make sure that your boyfriend or girlfriend is as keen as you each time.

Talking about sex 

It’s better to have an embarrassing discussion about sex than an embarrassing sexual encounter before you’re ready. There are lots of things to think and talk about, such as:

  • Are you both ready?
  • Will you be having sex for the right reasons and not because of peer pressure?

Sex isn’t the only aspect of a relationship, and there are other ways of enjoying each other’s company. You can do other things that you both like, such as talking, meeting each other’s family and friends, going to the cinema, doing sport, walking, and listening to music.

Safer sex

When you decide to have sex, consider the possibility of pregnancy and/or catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea. It’s important to talk about contraception and condoms before you have sex. Both of you have a responsibility to have this conversation.

Choosing the right contraception

There are many different kinds of contraception, including the implant, injection, the combined pill and the progesterone-only pill.  Most kinds of contraception are used by girls, but both of you have a responsibility to consider which you will use.  A pregnancy will affect both of you. Nursing and medical staff are available to discuss and help you choose the best contraception for you.

Herrington Medical Centre is able to provide free condoms via the C-Card scheme – you may make confidential enquiries about this scheme from any of the nurses in surgery.

Sometimes the time is not right to start a family and you need to know your options for contraception or in some cases termination of an unplanned pregnancy.  Advice is available from your local family planning CaSH clinic or GP surgery.

Chlamydia Screening

Free Chlamydia screening for those aged 24 or under is available at the surgery. The test is done by a simple urine sample.

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection, but it often gives you no symptoms at all so you do not know you have got it, unless you do a test. if left untreated can cause infertility (not being able to have children) and long term pelvic pain but it is an infection that can be easily treated with antibiotics.

If you are 24 or under you are welcome to be screened for Chlamydia. You choose how you receive the results, phone call, e- mail, letter, text to mobile phones. Just ask any member of the Nursing Team about this.

For more information about Chlamydia, please click here.

Emergency Contraception

The morning after pill is effective up to 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected intercourse or condom failure, but the earlier it is obtained the more effective it is. A coil can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse for emergency protection.

CaSH Clinics

Tel: 0191 569 9966.  Clinics held at:

  •  Houghton Primary Care Centre
  • Washington Primary Care Centre
  • Bunnyhill Primary Care Centre
  • Springwell Health Centre
  • Sunderland Royal Hospital

Lesbian, gay or bisexual couples

Click for further information – MESMAC North East website

If you have lesbian, gay or bisexual sex you can still get or pass on Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Be alcohol aware

From the second you take your first sip, alcohol starts to affect your body and mind.  Some of the alcohol effects disappear overnight – but others can stay with you a lot longer or indeed become permanent.

Whilst drinking alcohol can make you feel happy carefree and part of the group, it can also make you vulnerable more likely to take risks.

Want more information on Alcohol? Click on the link below:

Drinking & You – Units and guidelines (drinkingandyou.com)


Want information and help regarding drugs and alcohol?  Click on the link below:

Drugs A to Z | FRANK (talktofrank.com)

Mental health & wellbeing

Please click on some of the useful links below for further information:

MIND Washington

Offers a wide range of special services for young people. They can help sort our young peoples thoughts and feelings and enable things to change. If you are aged 13 yrs to 25 yrs. If you would like to get in touch with them follow the link below

Telephone 0191 4178043

Website: www.washingtonmind.org.uk/

Email: [email protected]

Do you need to talk?

At times young people need to talk and sometimes your parents are not always the best people to talk to for one reason or another. Having said that your best friend may not be the one either!

Can I discuss any issues with doctors or nurses?

Yes we are happy to discuss anything about your health –for example:

  • If you feel ‘down’ all the time
  • If you are bullied at school
  • If you have an embarrassing condition
  • If you have had unprotected sex
  • If you are concerned about your weight

If you wish to discuss contraception or think you may be pregnant

School Nurse 

Telephone: 0191 5171191

Can offer advice and support for young people and parents on any health issues including feelings and emotions, behaviour issues, weight management, sexual health, continence, smoking cessation.


Leaving home is something that most people think about at some stage in their lives. It’s the time when you leave your family and start out on your own…

How to make appointments

  • Coming into the surgery and making the appointment at the desk
  • Telephoning the surgery on 0191 5842632
  • Online booking
    (To do this you must register at the surgery first to get a password)

Non-urgent advice: Important

Make sure you have your appointment written down or noted on your phone as a reminder.

You will be surprised at how many people get the wrong day or time.

Comments / Suggestions on Services for Young People

Comments and suggestions from young people are very welcome.

Please post your comment in the suggestions box in the surgery entrance or speak to the Practice Manager. Twice a year we complete a Young Persons survey, this helps us to look at services and make improvements if we can, look out for the evaluation forms and participate, after all its for your benefit.