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Nurses to be trained to treat teens

Specialist training is to be made available for medical staff working with teenagers.

The new measure is being brought in to counter criticism that there are shortcomings in the government's approach to providing healthcare for young people. The new web-based training tool has been launched which has been designed to assist nurses and doctors treat teenagers more effectively.

It includes advice on issues such as eating disorders, self-harm and drug and alcohol abuse, as well as how to communicate with teenagers properly.

The course has been developed by bodies including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), which has previously highlighted the need for better teenage healthcare.

Speaking at the launch, Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: "If we can't actually relate to these youngsters in the way that everyone in the Health Service would want to, if there are issues about communication, if there are issues about putting young people at ease... then there's a real gap in the system."

The scheme was announced as a new report by the Chief Medical Officer called for greater attention to be paid to adolescent health.

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson made a series of recommendations including setting the permitted alcohol level for teenage drivers at zero, and highlighted a World Health Organization report that revealed that British teenagers are more likely to drink excessively.

The new training scheme is funded by the Department for Health and run by RCPCH and other colleges including the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of GPs.

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