Skip to content
left end
left end
right end

22 November 2016

UH Bristol selected to transform regional sexual health services

Today (Tuesday 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 five 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.

sexual health team new 2016

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.

South Gloucestershire Council's Adults, Housing and Public Health lead member Cllr Ben Stokes, said:

"Sexual health covers a wide range of important services for people such as confidential advice and information on sexually transmitted infections and access to free pregnancy testing kits. Working with our partners, this new contract will help ensure that residents continue to receive quick and easy access to these free services to help them stay healthy. The new contract will also bring services closer to the community and have an increased focus on prevention, especially in schools."

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."

Dr Paddy Horner, consultant senior lecturer at Univeristy Hospitals Bristol, added:

"This extremely novel re-design incorporates recent developments in information technology and diagnostics, and highlights the willingness for all partners, including Public Health England and University of Bristol, to work collaboratively together.

"Our new model will significantly improve the quality of care we provide, whilst improving efficiency.

"The success of our bid clearly demonstrates that healthy sexual relationships for all members of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester communities continue to be a priority for the local councils, despite pressures on public health funding, which research shows benefits all aspects of society.

"The focus is very much on increasing the availability and quality of the services people need, not only through promotion of self-help but also by introducing online testing and advice via an interactive website, as well as the service re-design which will see an integrated service provided by all partners.

"We will be introducing the local provision of pregnancy advisory services at Weston-super-Mare and a level three sexual health service in South Gloucestershire. These were services for which patients had to previously travel to Bristol.

"Eventually, we will be able to provide people with the results of diagnostic tests within hours, rather than days, thanks to the introduction of new testing technology. We hope this will improve the patient experience, result in better treatment and reduce the need for follow-up visits.

"Finally, we will also be working with Public Health England and our partners to make better use of all the information currently collected, so that it can be used to improve prevention activitiesfor those most at risk."

Sexual health services provide information, advice, treatment and support with sex and relationships. These services are free, confidential and open to everyone.