Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A ridiculous storm in a teacup

Today's Metro has the front page story 'girls, 11, to send text for sex pill'. Another storm in a teacup where the mistruths and lies are hidden behind hysterical headlines.

As far as I can tell the service provides young people with the opportunity to text their school nurse in the holidays so s/he can tell them where the nearest sexual health service is if they need sexual health advice and information. Sounds very sensible to me and will to most sensible adults once they can see beneath the surface.

So why create 'sex pills' and produce inflammatory headlines that make people object. Yes, theoretically an eleven year old could text their school nurse. Most won't because very small numbers of 11 years are having sex (most under 16 years old aren't). And if they are having sex and they do they ask for help the school nurse will have an identified process to follow and there is a real chance to identify any harm and abuse.

There are all sorts of things that theoretically I can do and I won't which suggests they don't deserve the front page -that doesn't make space for a headline that can only create mistrust between parents and professionals. And just for the record, children's professionals across health, education and social care are not in the business of undermining parents. We know partnerships between parents and professionals work. And health professionals work to Fraser Guidelines when working with under 16s that explicitly require them to encourage communication with parents.

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