During this time of uncertainty, many NHS community services are operating differently to ensure they continue to meet the needs of their local communities the best they can and the team at Sexual Health Wirral want you to know that although their clinic doors may be limiting the number of people coming through, they are ‘still here for you’.
Part of our Trust, Sexual Health Wirral has worked hard and has built on their existing interactive website, as well as adopting new, innovative ways of providing care and treatment. These ways of working ensure that the people of Wirral can continue to access the services they need as safely as they can.
Although all existing sexual health walk-in and wait clinics are suspended, a responsive telephone assessment and consultation service is in place, providing support, advice and treatment. Following a telephone assessment people will be provided with advice or signposted to support, sent appropriate medication eg repeat contraceptive pill or STI treatment (criteria applicable) or condoms in the post (aged 16 plus), or encouraged to request a sexually transmitted infection (STI) kit online. A face-to-face appointment will be arranged for the same day if an individual meets the service’s criteria.
The team has also worked with a number of community pharmacies across Wirral to enable access to sexual health and contraception support. A list of community pharmacies can be found on the Sexual Health Wirral website.
With the click of a button people can also access a wealth of support online – www.sexualhealthwirral.nhs.uk. There is a list of frequently asked questions, providing further support and reassurance which have been compiled from calls received over the last 6 weeks, covering a whole range of topics including safety, contraception, STI risks, access to smear testing, sexual assault and domestic violence. A range of patient information leaflets have also been produced digitally, meaning people can be sent a link and access the information they need via their phone, laptop or tablet.
Judy Fairbairn, Service Development, Outreach and Engagement Lead for the service said; ‘In addition to our daily clinics, we have an important role to play around education and prevention. So whilst we’re unable to go out into communities and talk to people face-to-face, continuing to share messages to educate people and minimise risk has been really important.
We’ve received many calls into our service asking a variety of questions from ‘transmission of COVID-19 by having sex’ to ‘I’m in isolation how do I get my contraceptive pill?’, so making sure people have factual information and feel assured that they can still receive our care has been key.
The service’s resident GP Sexual Health Champion, Jane Wilkinson, is also urging people to look after their sexual health during this time of crisis; “It’s times like this when we should be more aware of looking after ourselves, to stay fit and well; preventing an unplanned pregnancy during a time of huge uncertainty.
As the lockdown plan is revealed it’s extremely important that we all continue to think about staying safe and this includes safe sex!”
Accessing support from the team at Sexual Health Wirral is easy;
- for a telephone assessment please call 0300 123 5474
- to request an STI kit or access a range of advice, support and FAQs online visit www.sexualhealthwirral.nhs.uk
- ‘like’ Sexual Health Wirral’s Facebook page to keep up-to-date with all sexual health and contraceptive news and updates @SHWirral.