How you can have you say on partnership to deliver sexual health services across North Yorkshire

A public consultation about a long-term partnership to deliver sexual health services across North Yorkshire is now under way.

By Duncan Atkins
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 1:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 1:38 pm

In comparison to 16 other councils nationally, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) ranks North Yorkshire second for sexual and reproductive health.

The service delivers high quality, free, confidential and friendly sexual health provision across the county accessed via face-to-face clinics, online and telephone.

Proposals for a new approach to delivering the service could be in place by Spring 2022 – in the meantime the council is asking people to comment on the partnership arrangement that will deliver them.

A public consultation about a long-term partnership to deliver sexual health services across North Yorkshire is now under way.

The proposed partnership involves entering an agreement under Section 75 of the National Health Service Act 2006 with the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The trust has already delivered the top ranking service since 2015 through YorSexualHealth.

The draft S75 Agreement would be for ten years, with an initial term of four years (1 April 2022 – 31 March 2026), with the option to extend for further periods of three years.

The council is asking for views on whether to enter into the partnership and the details of the Section 75 agreement with the trust.

The partnership would enable the delivery of new proposals aimed at improving the efficiency of the service in North Yorkshire based on how people use the services on offer.

These include:

• further development of the existing online offer, with more services available remotely dependant on risk including:

• an online system where people can book appointments, get test results and find out what treatment they need

• continuation of a telephone triage system manned by highly skilled clinical staff – which will ensure that people get to the right part of the service (a mobile number will still be available to young people which they can use to access the service)

• continuation of face-to-face community clinics in some locations, five days a week, with the main hubs in Harrogate, Northallerton, Scarborough and Selby remaining as they are.

• full contraception service to remain in place, but those aged over 19 will be directed to their GP for longer-term continuation.

• an improved training offer for frontline sexual health professionals.

Integration between counselling and HIV support services to provide a more co-ordinated service for people living with HIV and their carers.

Professionals with different roles would work more closely to improve reach for those in high-risk groups, such as drug and alcohol users and sex workers.

Earlier this year the county council consulted on proposals for some changes to the sexual health services. These were largely well received:

• 83% of respondents support additional online and virtual support within the sexual health service, to complement face to face delivery.

• 87% of respondents support a personalised offer to STI testing based on an individual’s level of risk and history

• 93% were in support of a coordinated approach between the sexual health counselling and HIV support services

• 89% of respondents support a more responsive joined up clinical and community approach, engaging with those at greater levels of risk or need in relation to sexual and reproductive health.

Cllr Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supported Housing, said: “A longer term partnership to deliver Yorsexualhealth services would remove the need to re-tender every two to three years and provide consistency and a fully collaborative approach.

“The existing service, which has been delivered on the council’s behalf by the trust for the last seven years, has an excellent track record.

"It is well respected and delivered to the highest standards."

Dr Jo Mannion, Consultant and Care Group Director for Family Health at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is an exciting development. The partnership arrangement will ensure the continued delivery of high quality, patient-centred sexual health services for our local population in North Yorkshire.”

To give your views on the Section 75 agreement between North Yorkshire County Council and York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, please read the agreement and fill in the survey at www.northyorks.gov.uk/sexualhealth or email [email protected]

You can write to: Sexual Health Service Consultation, Central Admin Team, North Yorkshire County Council, County Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 8AE.

If you are having difficulty accessing the information online, or need the information in an alternative format or language, please contact North Yorkshire County Council on 01609 780780.

The 30-day consultation will end on February 3, 2022.

Subject to the outcome of this consultation, the agreement would be scheduled to be in place on 1 April 2022.