The first Brook service was established in 1964 to provide contraception and advice to young, unmarried people. Today Brook services work holistically with young people to promote their health and wellbeing while maintaining our specialism in sexual health for the under 25s.
The range of services varies locally depending on the requirements of our commissioners, usually local authorities and NHS organisations.
All of our services provide free and confidential sexual health information, contraception, pregnancy testing, advice and screening for chlamydia. Some services are able to test and treat a wider range of sexually transmitted infections (including swabs and blood tests) and treatments. As well as providing sexual health services in our own services, in some areas we also deliver services out in the local community, in schools and colleges, and even in people’s homes.
Services are delivered by multi-disciplinary teams of reception workers, wellbeing support workers, nurses and doctors. Our reception staff provide a friendly and confidential welcome to the service, register clients, explain our confidentiality policy and ensure clinics run smoothly by directing clients to the most appropriate member of staff. Wellbeing support workers can take a sexual history, provide advice, carry out pregnancy tests and some STI tests such as rapid HIV tests.
Our Sexual Health Nurses can provide advice and administer most methods of contraception using Patient Group Directions. A small number of the nurses that we employ have a Non-Medical Prescribing Qualification and are able to use this in their clinical work. Many of our nurses are able to fit and remove sub dermal implants and we are implementing a training plan to ensure that they hold the nationally recognised Letter of Competence (LoC) in Sub-dermal implants from the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare. Intrauterine technology (IUT) is available in the majority of our clinics either provided by members of the nursing team or a Sexual Health Doctor. Sexual Health Doctors support clients who fall outside of Patient Group Directions, clients with concurrent medical problems or clients who need a procedure that the nursing team cannot perform.
Brook has endorsed the NICE quality standard for sexual health along with the Department of Health and Social Care, and leading bodies representing sexual health professionals.
The standards include quality statements on a range of practices including: sexual history taking, STI testing, partner notification, and condom distribution schemes.
Some of our services employ counsellors who can provide long or short term support to young people. Counselling at Brook covers a range of talking therapies delivered by appropriately trained and qualified Brook Counsellors who work with young people to help them bring about effective change in their lives or enhance their wellbeing. The issues young people present with may include pregnancy choices, relationships, bereavement, self-harm, academic pressure, sexual and gender identity, bullying and so on.
Brook has developed an integrated approach to supporting young people to improve their own health and wellbeing. Building on our existing practice we have created a new Wellbeing Support Worker role within our services, which in addition to undertaking clinical duties, will also support young people to improve their own health and wellbeing through delivering interventions around alcohol, smoking, drug use, healthy weight and coping with stress/feeling happier.
Our education practitioners also offer one to one and group programmes to support young people to improve their own health and wellbeing. The programmes, which have been co-produced with young people, are young people centred and holistic. They integrate evidence-based approaches to enhance motivation, build on strengths, teach lifelong skills, reduce and manage risks and support positive behaviour change. The programmes enable young people to identify and achieve important health and wellbeing goals and build a positive future of their choice. We offer counselling support alongside these health and wellbeing interventions.