A new text messaging service has been launched in Derby to help young people and parents and carers living in the city to access confidential health advice and support in a quick and easy way.

Young people in Derby aged 11-19 who send text messages to 07507 327104 can get advice from a health professional about subjects including physical or emotional health, sexual health, relationships, bullying or drug or alcohol use. Parents or carers looking after children in Derby city aged between 0 and 19 can text 07507 327754 to seek advice about subjects ranging from breastfeeding and bedwetting to emotional wellbeing and behaviour.

Messages are delivered to a secure website and responded to by the service, which is made up of qualified school nurses and health visitors. Young people and parents or carers can remain anonymous if they wish, and don’t have to give their name.

If anyone texts the service out of hours, they will receive a bounce-back message explaining where to get help if their question is urgent and when they can expect a response. Texts to the service are usually replied to within one working day.

The service is being run by the Derby Family Health Service, a partnership led by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, using the ChatHealth text messaging system which is used by several NHS providers across the country.

Ifti Majid, Chief Executive of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We are very pleased to launch this confidential text messaging service for Derby city, particularly at a time when it is still difficult for parents and young people to get health advice face to face. Many people find text messaging not only quick and easy but also less embarrassing or judgemental than an initial phone call or face-to-face appointment.

“We hope it will encourage young people and parents in the city to seek advice, gain the reassurance they need and ensure that any issues or problems are dealt with before they become more serious.”

More information about the service can be found on the Derbyshire Healthcare website.