Citizens in Nottingham and south Nottinghamshire will now benefit from improved sexual health support following the launch of ‘one-stop shops’.
A new contract has been agreed by Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County councils which will see the implementation of an up-to-date Integrated Sexual Health Service.
The new service went live on Monday (April 4) and will be delivered by Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust.
The new free and confidential service aims to bring together sexual health advice, information and support, including contraception; pregnancy testing; and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
A wider range of services will be available across existing sites in the region, meaning most individuals will be able to have all their sexual health needs met in one clinic visit.
Professionals will work closely with other providers to ensure that individuals who require specialist help can access it as easily as possible. Residents will continue to be able to access a range of contraceptive and sexual health support through their GP and community pharmacies.
Evidence suggests that men and women of all ages, sexual orientations and ethnicities will benefit from the new service. Some groups are at particular risk of poor sexual health, and stigma and discrimination can affect their ability to access these services.
The highest burden of poor sexual health is borne by people who often experience other inequalities in health, including men who have sex with men, young people, black and minority ethnic groups and those from more deprived backgrounds.
The new integrated contract was commissioned following a review of sexual health services in the city and county, after a public consultation in 2015. The contract will run for five years, with an option to extend.
Both authorities recognise the importance of good sexual health and how it contributes to wider health and wellbeing benefits. In particular, it is hoped the new arrangements will help reduce STIs and unplanned pregnancies.
Councillor Alex Norris, Portfolio Holder for Health at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is positive news and will make it easier for people to access different sexual health services and support under one roof. We’re looking forward to working with NUH over the next five years on this.
“The City Council, together with the Health and Wellbeing Board, is committed to tacking social and health inequalities, and we believe that this move will help reduce STIs, promote sexual health and contraception services, while allowing earlier detection of infections like HIV.”
Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, chair of both the Public Health Committee and the Health and Wellbeing Board at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “I am pleased that we will be working with NUH, who will be delivering this important service on our behalf.
“Along with the City Council, our aim is to ensure that local people have easy access to the health support services they need, when and where they need them, to deliver the very best outcomes for them. Good sexual health is an important aspect of health and wellbeing and improving sexual health outcomes remains a public health priority for both authorities.”
Dr Ruth Taylor, Head of Sexual Health services at NUH said: “Our staff are committed to providing free, confidential and easy-to-access sexual health services to all sections of our local community. We are delighted to be working with the City and County councils to continually improve how we provide these services. I believe that the new ‘one-stop-shop’ model will improve access and streamline the care we offer.”