Health and Care’s Top 70 Stars

Sexual Health Team

The Sexual Health Team is committed to providing patients with the highest quality care. They embrace the Health Board values of working together, to improve services and care for the patients accessing their service.

The service has integrated, genitourinary medicine, family planning, HIV and Pregnancy Advisory Services to provide a holistic approach to care. This has enabled staff to meet all patients sexual health needs in one visit. This transition has meant a considerable amount of hard work for all staff as they have endeavoured to learn new skills and become knowledgeable in all aspects of sexual health. Sexual health is advancing all the time and in order to keep up to date and ensure patients are provided with the latest treatment, priority is given to ensuring staff are given the training to enhance their knowledge. Recently we have seen the introduction of the HPV vaccinations for MSM (Men who have sex with men). PrEP (HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) for the MSM group of clients to reduce their risk of contracting HIV. 

Within sexual health, there is a need to be open minded and non-judgemental. With the majority of clinics being open access, staff have no idea what sexuality patients may have or what history they may give. At all times they must not show any opinion as they ensure they provide the best advice and care the patient requires. Staff are required to use motivational interviewing techniques, to try and get patients to have safer sexual experiences, knowing that they often won’t stop their practices.  The role requires confidentiality to be respected but must not compromise patient safety. Safeguarding is paramount to  sexual assessment. Consideration is given to domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and FGM. Staff  have had training in all these areas enabling them to make assessments and have the knowledge to know when further intervention is required from other services. Staff need to be sensitive and supportive as they see patients following sexual assault. It is rewarding to staff to have such positive feedback as “I would like to thank everyone for the support and empathy I was given when attending your service, I felt the staff were a credit to the NHS”.

Sexual health strives to ensure patients are given optimum choice and sufficient information  to make an informed decision. For example, within the Pregnancy Advisory Service we have introduced  home terminations and surgical terminations under local anaesthetic (MVA). A termination isn’t an easy decision and our aim is to provide a treatment which best suits the woman’s needs, The introduction of these extra services has enhanced patient choice and had a positive impact on waiting times. Waiting times have reduced as we have been able to increase the number of patients being seen. This in turn has enabled women to have treatment at lower gestations, with less risk of complications, psychological impact and ensures a better use of resources and less demand on inpatient beds.

Our outreach service provides care for the more vulnerable members of our society. This includes the homeless, sex workers, drug abusers and LAC. These are individuals who don’t access normal services but whose needs are greater than most. Our dedicated outreach workers are committed to ensuring this group of clients’ sexual health needs are met even if it means going back in the evening when they are off duty.

Patient feedback influences future service delivery. The main complaint we receive is waiting times. With an open access service and large numbers attending all our clinics we find it difficult to deal with the large numbers and provide a quality service. In the past three years, numbers attending clinics have increased from 26,322 to 28,798. As a means of trying to reduce waiting times in clinics we have recently introduced a “Test and Go” service. The service provides screening of asymptomatic patients who do not require any other services and do not have any safeguarding issues or more complex sexual health needs. Prudent health care has been considered and the band 2 HCSWs utilised to provide the service, freeing up the nurse practitioner to undertake more complex work. The feedback provided has been very positive and has even resulted in a comment of “a very quick and efficient service”, something rarely heard of in sexual health.

The improvements being made could not be achieved without the commitment and dedication of the team and their drive towards improving patient care. The past year has been very difficult with very high sickness levels and the loss of the lead nurse in her fight with cancer. Throughout they have battled on sharing roles and working together to keep the service running and can only be commended for their hard work. Priority is given to maintaining the Health Board values of Caring, Improving and these couldn’t be achieved without the team working together.

Amy Buckingham 9 months ago

This idea has been advanced to the current phase

Amy Buckingham 9 months ago

This idea has been moved back to the previous phase

Amy Buckingham 9 months ago

This idea has been advanced to the current phase

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