Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded the contract to provide the new integrated sexual health service for Somerset, by Somerset County Council which is responsible for these services.
The new service will run a greater number of clinics across the county and will start operating in April. The new service takes over from the Contraceptive and Sexual Health (CASH) service, the Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) services based at Musgrove Park Hospital and Yeovil District Hospital and the Mendip Area Sexual Health service.
Ethna Bashford, Somerset Partnership’s Head of Children, Young People and Families Division welcomed the news and said:
“I am pleased our Trust has been chosen to provide the new integrated sexual health service in Somerset. Good sexual health is so important but as a sensitive topic it can sometimes be hard for people to have the confidence to get help and advice when they need it.
“By providing a joined up service we can offer extended hours and a greater range of clinic locations, making a big difference to people needing to access services. We will run a ‘one stop shop’ where people can make sure all their contraceptive and sexual health needs can be met all in the one visit.”
Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will work in partnership with The Eddystone Trust who will provide services for targeted HIV prevention, targeted sexual health promotion and support to those living with or affected by HIV. Both services will work collaboratively to ensure the hard to reach, vulnerable and young groups have better access to sexual health services to improve sexual health outcomes. The Eddystone Trust will also promote early HIV testing and deliver HIV rapid results point of care testing across the county.
Andrew Evans, Director of Operations for The Eddystone Trust said:
“We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to expand on the support service we already deliver in Somerset to now encompass the targeted HIV prevention and sexual health promotion. We understand some of the challenges of living with HIV in mixed rural and urban areas and the challenges around stigma, disclosure and living well. We are confident in being able to continue an excellent standard of care and support to the county and are looking forward to working closely with Somerset Partnership.”
Cllr. Anna Groskop, Cabinet Member with responsibility for health at Somerset County Council said:
“We are really pleased that we are now able to provide accessible and integrated sexual health services in the community that are more convenient for our residents to use and will better suit their needs. The service was developed following consultation with the public, service users and practitioners and will have a greater focus on prevention as well as reducing teenage conceptions, earlier diagnosis of HIV and reducing chlamydia which remains the highest sexually transmitted infection amongst young people”.
There will be a range of services on offer including walk-in clinics, a full range of contraception, as well as emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing and support, chlamydia screening, advice on sexual abuse and abortion services, an advice line, and online booking.
The biggest burden of poor sexual health is with young people aged 15-24 years, but middle aged people have the next highest rates of sexually transmitted infection with the figure increasing due to changes in lifestyle. It is important that men and women are proactive in looking after their sexual health needs and the service will be available to young and old alike.
Full service details, including clinic locations and opening hours will be available to the public in the run up to the service going live in April 2016.
For further information please contact Somerset County Council press office on 01823 355020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
and also Victoria Eld, Head of Communications
Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Tel: 01278 432 036 / Mob: 07887 947 423
Note for Editors:
1. Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides a wide range of community health, mental health and learning disability services in Somerset. It also provides a number of regional specialist services to patients from across the wider southwest.
2. Somerset Partnership’s services include inpatient care for general and mental illness, minor injury units, a wide range of specialist services in both community health and mental health services, and specialist healthcare for adults with learning disabilities. Many of these are delivered from 13 community hospitals and our four principal mental health sites across the county but, as well as seeing people in Trust premises, staff are able to offer appointments in other community venues which may be more easily accessible to patients. Wherever possible the Trust seeks to support people in their own home or as close to their home as possible.
3. Somerset Partnership’s services are provided in partnership with other statutory agencies and a range of voluntary sector providers. The Trust employs more than 4000 members of staff, and has a turnover of ﾣ160 million.
4. The Eddystone Trust. For more than 27 years Eddystone, a registered charity, has delivered a wide range of HIV and sexual health related services: supporting people affected by HIV; providing prevention services; developing and delivering targeted evidence based awareness campaigns and professional accredited training. We are experienced at providing consistent and equitable service delivery across a geographically diverse area that encompasses Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset and Gloucestershire. We have significant expertise in working in towns and cities and across rural areas, delivering services that are tailored to local needs and requirements. Our innovative service delivery is supported by a team of people with a wide range of skills, knowledge and abilities. Central to all we do is a commitment to challenging stigma, discrimination and ignorance of HIV and sexual health issues affecting some of the most marginalised groups in society.