North Yorkshire patients to benefit from 'more efficient' sexual health services

A more efficient and targeted approach to sexual health services begins on April 1 across North Yorkshire.

The arrangement – which enhances the county’s existing, high-quality YorSexualHealth service – will include more developed online help for people to improve access to services as well as a more bespoke and targeted approach for people with the greatest need.

The service involves a new partnership agreement between North Yorkshire County Council and the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust under Section 75 of the National Health Service Act for a period of up to ten years.

The aim is to build on a sexual health service that is already highly ranked nationally by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy for its high-quality, free, confidential and friendly sexual health provision across the county, accessed via face-to-face clinics, online and telephone.

North Yorkshire's sexual health services will include more developed online help.

The development of the service is based on public consultation in which respondents called for greater online access to help as well as more targeted support.

The new arrangement will 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)

* More information and advice on the website, including self-referral for counselling and ordering of STI tests

* 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

* A full contraception service, where appropriate those aged over 19 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 will work more closely to improve access for those in high-risk groups, such as drug and alcohol users and sex workers.

Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, said: “This partnership to deliver YorSexualHealth services removes the need to re-tender every two to three years and provides 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.

"The new arrangements take into account how people have adapted their use of the service during the Covid-19 pandemic, and will help to meet the needs of the community in North Yorkshire.”

Dr Jo Mannion, Consultant and Care Group Director for Family Health at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have successfully provided a range of high-quality, easily accessible sexual health services over the last few years, while co-existing with Covid, and we welcome the opportunity to continue to build on this success, working in strong partnership with the County Council and our local population.”

To contact the free and confidential North Yorkshire YorSexualHealth service, visit the website, www.yorsexualhealth.org.uk or call 01904 721111.