University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust has just been appointed to manage sexual health services across Bristol and the surrounding region – it was announced today.
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 consultation 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 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.
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.
Sexual health services provide information, advice, treatment and support with sex and relationships. These services are free, confidential and open to everyone.