Sexual health clinics plan

Officaial launch of the new Contraception and Sexual Health service at Dewsbury Health Centre. Also known as the Pink Pod. Contraception. 12090834
Officaial launch of the new Contraception and Sexual Health service at Dewsbury Health Centre. Also known as the Pink Pod. Contraception. 12090834

Seven new nurse-led clinics to improve access to sexual health services in the borough have been proposed by NHS and council bosses.

But there will also be a focus on delivering some aspects of the revamped scheme within communities, with home testing kits and online consultations previously discussed by public health officials and clinical commissioners.

Current walk-in centres at Wigan Hospital and Leigh Infirmary will be retained and public information should be readily available through GP practices, pharmacies, schools and community centres under the new operating model, supported by digital advice pages.

In a joint report Prof Kate Ardern, the borough’s public health director, and Stuart Cowley, director of adult social care and health, said: “We have reviewed current provision and there are clear strengths to sexual health services in Wigan borough.

“But there are also particular challenges with our most deprived communities being disproportionately affected by poor sexual health outcomes.

“There are also increased rates of sexually-transmitted diseases, over a 10-year period, and our young people in Wigan are more affected by poor sexual health outcomes, in line with their peers nationally.”

Earlier this year the Post reported how the borough had recorded a high proportion of sexually-transmitted diseases among 16 to-25-year-olds, and 50 to 59-year-olds.

The borough also had the third highest rate in the UK for under-16s taking the morning-after pill, which conversely had led to a lower-than-average number of abortions.

Health bosses have highlighted that the existing model, relying on a number of different providers, is “fragmented”, with similar services being offered by different ventures within the same community.

Councillors have been asked to be consulted over the final location of the seven nurse-led clinics, before the new system comes online next February.

Part of the work will see a lead practice identified within each area of the borough.

A public consultation exercise was undertaken, to inform the revamp, and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) was approached for its input.