New and improved sexual health services for the people of Lancashire will launch on 1 April.
The services, one providing a comprehensive service for all adults and one specifically for younger people aged up to 25, will be run by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust respectively, on behalf of Lancashire County Council.
The improved 'all age' service run by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust means that people will be able to see health experts who will provide the full range of sexual health advice and support in one appointment.
This will include giving advice about sexual health issues, testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), prescribing medicines to treat STIs, and discussing and arranging contraception. The trust will also provide education and training to other organisations involved with sexual health issues.
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust working in partnership with Brook, the young people’s sexual health and wellbeing charity, will run a separate service for young people up to the age of 25. This will provide specialised contraception, STI treatment, advice and testing services in one appointment.
The young people's service will also deliver the Lancashire-wide condom scheme and co-ordinate the national chlamydia screening programme across the county.
For more complex STI treatment and contraception issues, young people will be referred to the 'all age' sexual health service.
County Councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:
"We're committed to improving people's health and reducing the gap in health between poorer and more affluent communities.
"Sexual health is an important part of this and the new services will lead to major improvements across the county. To develop these services, we've carried out detailed research to find out which levels of care would be most beneficial to communities across the county.
"The sexual health services that we currently have in Lancashire were introduced more than 20 years ago. They were bought in by different organisations, so there are differences in the levels of investment and type of services available across the county.
"In some areas, you cannot access STI treatment and contraception services at the same site, meaning people have to book different appointments. With the new services, people will be able to get all the support they need in one appointment in most cases.
"The opening times for services will be more convenient and ensure all communities have access to the same level of care."
Dr John Sweeney, consultant in sexual health from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“This is a fantastic new opportunity to provide a holistic and equitable service across Lancashire, so patients can get the same standard of care when and wherever they attend services.
“We are committed to working closely with the provider of young people’s services to ensure a joined-up approach."
Sue Capstick, service line manager for sexual health at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:
"We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to deliver this service to young people aged under 25 in Lancashire. Our team is dedicated to providing excellent, high quality sexual health care.
"We are looking forward to working in partnership with Brook to support young people so that they have the information, confidence and access to quality services, in order to seek appropriate care and make choices that are right for them."
Jackie Boath, deputy director of service delivery at Brook, said:
"This is very exciting for Brook and we are looking forward to working with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust to provide the best possible contraception and sexual health service for young people in Lancashire.
"Brook is dedicated to empowering young people to take charge of their health and wellbeing, through providing non-judgemental and specialist services which are tailored to clients' needs."
County Councillor Ali added:
"It's important that our sexual health services cater for young people's needs and help to get across safe sex messages.
"They will be available in places which are easy to get to for young people. The providers that have been chosen have experience in this area and we hope to reduce the spread of STIs and the numbers of unplanned pregnancies in the under 25 age group.
"As with the 'all age' service, young people should be able to get all the advice they need in one appointment."
Further information about the services will be available on www.lancashire.gov.uk from 1 April when the new service begins.
Notes to editors
Lancashire County Council is responsible for commissioning most sexual health services across the county including contraception, STI screening, condom distribution and genitourinary medicine (gum clinic) services to treat STIs.
The county does not commission services for those living with HIV. These are commissioned by NHS England. However, the county council will be working even more closely with them to ensure services are joined up.
The county council invited organisations to a bidder process last year and gave them information about what the new services would need to provide throughout the procurement process.
For media enquiries please contact Brook's press office on 07789 682831 or email email@example.com
Notes to editors
Brook believes that young people should have access to great sexual health services and wellbeing support.
Brook provides free and confidential sexual health information, contraception, pregnancy testing, advice and counselling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and education programmes, reaching nearly 235,000 young people nationwide every year.
Read our Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and learn more about the difference we make in our latest Success Report.