We thought our readers might be interested in the news that Barnet Council have launched a new sexual health service initiative. It is clearly a very good idea to have such services available locally. We have long been concerned about the lack of such provision, so it is clearly excellent news to see the council has at last started to take this issue seriously. We are rather surprised that they have not chosen Finchley Memorial Hospital as one of the sites for this service, given the situation there. Perhaps that is something we really should be looking at in detail. The hospital is fast becoming a white elephant, unsupported by the council or the local Conservative administration. Here is what the press release on the Council website has to say.
A range of new services aimed at improving sexual health has been launched in Barnet.The new services which were launched on 3 July aim to bring down rates of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies and to make services more accessible and simpler to use by residents.
As part of a new contract with Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL), all these services will be open for longer and at weekends and will offer a new ‘one stop shop’ providing both contraceptive and sexual health services initially at three locations in the borough. Specialist clinics will also be available to young people under the age of 18 between 3pm to 6pm at one of these locations.
CNWL will provide an improved range of sexual health and contraceptive services, including contraception, testing and treatment of STIs, HIV testing and diagnosis, sexual health outreach work and health promotion.
The services will be located at the Vale Drive Primary Care Centre, Edgware Community Hospital, and Grahame Park Health Centre.
The new services have been developed in collaboration with Camden, Islington and Haringey councils. The new contract is part of a unique London-wide programme to improve the capital’s sexual health services. London has the highest rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the country, and as a result, the demand for sexual health services in London is significantly higher.
In addition to the three clinics in Barnet, residents can also use services at locations in these other boroughs as well as those in LBB Enfield.
Barnet’s services will also work closely with a new London-wide online sexual health service, which will allow patients to access information online and register to receive self-sampling kits, thereby reducing the need to attend clinics.
The website will guide people through a risk-assessment process to identify the most clinically appropriate tests for their individual needs. A self-sampling kit will then be posted to them which they can complete in the privacy of their own home, before sealing it and dropping it off at a post box.
Councillor Helena Hart, Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “This important new sexual health service will provide Barnet residents with a One Stop Shop for Sexual Health and Contraceptive Services at threelocations across the borough. They will provide a full range of sexual health and contraceptive services with far easier access and availability made possible through the introduction of longer opening hours and availability at weekends.
“The additional online services will also help to make it as safe and convenient as possible for people to get information, advice and access to self-sampling kits, whilst ensuring the utmost confidentiality.
“London has the highest rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in the country and these services should play a very important role in helping to reduce those rates.”
Mark Maguire, CNWL Sexual Health Service Director, said: “We’re pleased to be working with local councils to deliver a modern service across North London that is quick and easy to access.
“Our services provide a one stop shop for people wanting sexual health treatment and/or contraception. We will also focus on prevention of disease and increasing the uptake of Long Action Reversible Contraception (LARC).
“To support this, we will have two specialist centres, Mortimer Market Centre and The Archway Centre, and we’ll also be offering services in community settings that may be more convenient to access.