22 November 2016
UH Bristol selected to transform regional sexual health services
Today (Tuesday 22 November) it has been announced that
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has been
appointed to manage sexual health services across Bristol and the
The new service, commissioned by Bristol, South Gloucestershire
and North Somerset councils, and the accompanying Clinical
Commissioning Groups, will begin on 1 April 2017. Running for
a five year period, it will provide the region's first fully
integrated sexual health service including the prevention and
treatment of infections, unplanned pregnancies and other aspects of
sexual health. It will also manage Bath and North East Somerset's
chlamydia screening programme.
The decision comes after a competitive tender process which
followed a wide reaching consultation period to canvas the public's
views about how sexual health services should operate, to ensure
services were right for people who use them.
Under the new contract, University Hospitals Bristol NHS
Foundation Trust will lead a dynamic partnership that will oversee
management of sexual health services across the region,
subcontracting the running of some services to a range of NHS and
third sector partners to ensure existing local expertise is
A new identity for these services will be developed to raise the
profile of support available and ensure access is quick, easy and
joined up. There will be a single point of entry into all services
via a telephone line and a new interactive website, to help people
get care in the right way, in the right place, at the right
South Gloucestershire Council's Adults, Housing and Public
Health lead member Cllr Ben Stokes, said:
"Sexual health covers a wide range of important services for
people such as confidential advice and information on sexually
transmitted infections and access to free pregnancy testing kits.
Working with our partners, this new contract will help ensure that
residents continue to receive quick and easy access to these free
services to help them stay healthy. The new contract will also
bring services closer to the community and have an increased focus
on prevention, especially in schools."
As well as making things easier to access, the new joined up
services will benefit citizens in a number of other ways including
improved management of STIs and more effective use of self-testing
Speaking on behalf of NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South
Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups, Dr Kirsty Alexander,
clinical lead for maternity health services, said:
"This new contract will make it much easier for people across
Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to get sexual
health advice, support and treatment. As well as new and innovative
web-based technologies and services, helping people take manage
their own care in their own time, there will also be a single phone
number to call.
"We hope this new service will allow people to have greater
control of their sexual health and make informed choices about
everything from safe sex to contraception."
Paul Mapson from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation
Trust, who led the bid, said:
"We are delighted to have been awarded this five year contract
on behalf of our partners. We are working with the British
Pregnancy Advisory Service, Brook, Marie Stopes International,
North Bristol NHS Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust and Eddystone
Trust, and Weston Area Health NHS Trust to transform sexual health
services in our region. UH Bristol has been a major provider of
sexual health services for many years and, by working together with
these partners, we will ensure we meet service users' needs now and
in the future."
Dr Paddy Horner, consultant senior lecturer at Univeristy
Hospitals Bristol, added:
"This extremely novel re-design incorporates recent developments
in information technology and diagnostics, and highlights the
willingness for all partners, including Public Health England and
University of Bristol, to work collaboratively together.
"Our new model will significantly improve the quality of care we
provide, whilst improving efficiency.
"The success of our bid clearly demonstrates that healthy sexual
relationships for all members of Bristol, North Somerset and
South Gloucester communities continue to be a priority for the
local councils, despite pressures on public health funding, which
research shows benefits all aspects of society.
"The focus is very much on increasing the availability and
quality of the services people need, not only through promotion of
self-help but also by introducing online testing and advice via an
interactive website, as well as the service re-design which will
see an integrated service provided by all partners.
"We will be introducing the local provision of pregnancy
advisory services at Weston-super-Mare and a level three sexual
health service in South Gloucestershire. These were services for
which patients had to previously travel to Bristol.
"Eventually, we will be able to provide people with the results
of diagnostic tests within hours, rather than days, thanks to the
introduction of new testing technology. We hope this will improve
the patient experience, result in better treatment and reduce the
need for follow-up visits.
"Finally, we will also be working with Public Health England and
our partners to make better use of all the information currently
collected, so that it can be used to improve prevention
activitiesfor those most at risk."
Sexual health services provide information, advice, treatment
and support with sex and relationships. These services are free,
confidential and open to everyone.
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