Sexual Health Review
Sexual Health Theme background
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans+ (LGBT+) individuals have specific sexual health needs in particular gay and bisexual men as well as men who have sex with men being vulnerable not only to sexually transmitted infections including HIV, where gay men remain at risk of getting and passing on HIV. Whilst there have been huge advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections including HIV we know that more can and must be done to address health inequalities and promote improved health outcomes. Sexual Health was included in the National LGBT Manifesto under the theme Wellbeing. When the West of England LGBT Manifesto was created it was felt due to the serious need for effective services sexual health should be a theme on its own.
In November 2015 discussions were had regarding the LGB & T National Manifesto and the need to have one locally similar to the other manifestos which were developing in Bristol. On the 17th December 2015 a planning group meeting was held at Bristol City Council to start the process of creating one.
On the 23rd February 2016 the LGBT Manifesto held a visioning event to gather feedback on the key challenges facing the LGBT communities. One of those themes was Sexual Health lead by Simon Nelson these two questions were posed to the room.
1 What are the barriers to accessing current sexual health provention and testing services?
2 Considering the future of sexual health services what do you expect of potential providers?
Following the vision event the planning board were reformed into the steering board bringing together South Glos, Bristol, BATHNES and North Somerset councils, LGBT organizations, Commissioners, Police, the NHS and other strategic partners. The report created from the vision event was discussed and each of the themes had a lead assigned who recruited organizations and people to that working group to formilate the prorities.
Sexual Health working group background
Our sub-group has been formed to appeal to LGBT people who have an interest in sexual health from a service user perspective and we welcome ideas, comments and suggestions via this unique page. The priorities of the working group was to work with those who commission sexual health services across the West of England to ensure that the needs of LGBT+ people are comprehensively considered to include intersectionality issues, such as LGBT people of colour and to take a non hetro normative approach when recommissioning services.
To ensure this process was inclusive of all LGBT Communities the Sexual Health lead Simon Nelson and Leighton de Burca Out Bristol engaged with community organizations, clubs, LGBT venues and LGBT activists to host meetings to analyze tenders for the new sexual health services to ensure the new services would meet the needs of the communities.
Sexual Health working group Outcome
Provider selected to transform region’s sexual health services, Today (22 November) it has been announced that University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has been appointed to manage sexual health services across Bristol and the surrounding region.
The new service, commissioned by Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset councils, and the accompanying Clinical Commissioning Groups, will begin on 1 April 2017. Running for a 5 year period, it will provide the region’s first fully integrated sexual health service including the prevention and treatment of infections, unplanned pregnancies
and other aspects of sexual health. It will also manage Bath and North East Somerset’s chlamydia screening programme.
The decision comes after a competitive tender process which followed a wide reaching consultation period to canvas the public’s views about how sexual health services should operate, to ensure services were right for people who use them.
Under the new contract, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust will lead a dynamic partnership that will oversee management of sexual health services across the region, subcontracting the running of some services to a range of NHS and third sector partners to ensure existing local expertise is utilised.
A new identity for these services will be developed to raise the profile of support available and ensure access is quick, easy and joined up. There will be a single point of entry into all services via a telephone line and a new interactive website, to help people get care in the right way, in the right place, at the right time.
Speaking on behalf of the commissioning councils, Councillor Fi Hance Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for City Health and Wellbeing, said: “With a growing population and increasing pressures on budgets, we needed to take a fresh look at sexual health services to ensure they are flexible and fit for the future. I am pleased with the new model we have agreed which draws on the expertise and professionalism of local services, with strategic overview from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. Taking care of our sexual health is an important part of being healthy and we hope that these sexual health services will help to empower people to have the confidence and understanding to enjoy and take responsibility for their sexual lives.”
As well as making things easier to access, the new joined up services will benefit citizens in a number of other ways including improved management of STIs and more effective use of self-testing kits.
Speaking on behalf of NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups, Dr Kirsty Alexander, clinical lead for maternity health services, said: “This new contract will make it much easier for people across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to get sexual health advice, support and treatment. As well as new and innovative web-based technologies and services, helping people take manage their own care in their own time, there will also be a single phone number to call.
“We hope this new service will allow people to have greater control of their sexual health and make informed choices about everything from safe sex to contraception.”
Paul Mapson from University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, who led the bid, said “We are delighted to have been awarded this five year contract on behalf of our partners. We are working with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Brook, Marie Stopes International, North Bristol NHS Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust and Eddystone Trust, and Weston Area Health NHS Trust to transform sexual health services in our region. UH Bristol has been a major provider of sexual health services for many years and, by working together with these partners, we will ensure we meet service users’ needs now and in the future.”
Sexual health services provide information, advice, treatment and support with sex and relationships. These services are free, confidential and open to everyone.
Sexual Health working group lead contact