In New Zealand most young people aged 15 years and over who access secondary or tertiary healthcare services are seen by clinicians trained in caring for adult patients, are admitted to adult wards and are seen in adult outpatient facilities.

Unique Youth Health Needs

Adolescents and young adults have health needs which are distinctly different from younger children and adults. Physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes will continue to take place throughout adolescence and into their twenties, as youth reach early adulthood.

Quality Improvement

Quality improvement is all about problem solving and giving things a go as a team. It involves identifying areas for improvement and testing small changes.

The Youth Health Quality Improvement Programme is a collaboration between Counties Manukau Health, primary and secondary care providers, and young people. We used quality improvement methodologies to develop a range of tools to help healthcare providers bring about positive change in how we deliver care to young people.

Getting started

  1. Complete our Youth Health eModule 
    We have developed this module to help you and your colleagues understand how you can engage with young people, how they are developing, and how to respect young people's right to confidentiality and privacy while involving important supports like their friends and family.
  2. Make young people feel welcome and safe:
    Get trained in adolescent and young adult health . Communicate clearly and encourage young people and their whānau to talk openly . Respect young people's privacy and confidentiality . Empower young people to make decisions about their health
  3. A 'champion' for young people
    Identify someone to be a 'youth champion' within the service to take the lead on youth health quality improvement initiatives. They will not be responsible for all changes – that's a whole team effort.
  4. Get some feedback
    Put out a suggestion or feedback box for young people or use the youth survey (PDF, 481 KB) . Invite them to give anonymous feedback about the service – what they like, don't like, how they would like things to change.
  5. Feel comfortable around confidentiality
    Check if you have a current confidentiality policy and circulate to all staff. Ensure reception staff are included and also make sure your policy is displayed. Encourage all staff to routinely discuss conditional confidentiality with young people.
  6. A welcoming place to be
    Refresh your clinical area. Are there ways to make it less intimidating and more relaxed? Consider getting some games, resources or magazines that are more appropriate for teenagers and young adults.
  7. What exactly are we doing for young people?
    Think through the various aspects of care you provide and identify different services that are relevant to young people. Create a 'Did you know…' poster listing all these services.
  8. Experience of working with young people
    Talk with your team members about working with young people. Find out what previous experience they have working with young people. Are there any positive or negative stories that can be learnt from? What does your team feel are the barriers to engaging positively and productively with young people?
  9. Find out who's out there
    Do some research into connected services in the area that support young people's health and wellbeing. Think about community projects and events, and key professionals such as school nurses and school guidance counsellors. 
  10. Encourage young people to connect with a GP of their choice 
    Primary care needs to be actively involved with young people to help coordinate care across a range of services. What innovative ways can your area encourage young people to engage with primary care?


All Health Providers

Youth Health eModule
A free online course with quick and easy ways to improve your skills in working with young people for anyone working in health.

Kidz First Centre for Youth Health – Education and Training
Our youth health workshops and HEEADSSS assessment training provide practical programmes to enhance professional skills when working with young people in clinical and community settings.

Primary Care

Self-Assessment (PDF, 481 KB)
An assessment tool to assist primary care in improving access for young people

Youth Experience Survey (PDF, 1.9 MB)
A tool for collecting feedback from young people using your service, alongside the HQSC Primary Care Patient Survey.

Youth Provider and Support Staff Climate Survey (PDF, 1.7 MB)
A tool to capture staff perspectives on the responsiveness of their work environment to youth health needs.

Secondary and Tertiary Care

Improving Youth Health Services in New Zealand 
A toolkit developed by the Northern Regional Youth Health Network

Contact us:

Youth School Health Services

Kidz First Centre for Youth Health

Phone: (09) 261 2272 | Email:

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