Sexual health services in North and North East Lincolnshire will come together under one name on 1 December but there will be no change to the service.
Virgin Care has been awarded the contract to provide sexual health services on behalf of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire Councils following agreement between NL and NEL Councils to re-commission an integrated service across Northern Lincolnshire.
Now to be known as the Northern Lincolnshire Integrated Sexual Health Service the two main centres will remain at the Stirling Medical Centre in Grimsby and the Ironstone Centre in Scunthorpe.
Jacquie Cotterill, Virgin Care’s Business Unit Head, said, “Integrating these two services will help us to provide a more streamlined facility for the local people who use them. We will continue to offer free, friendly and confidential advice and treatment services.”
This includes advice on all aspects of sexual health and wellbeing, provision of all methods of contraception, screening for sexually transmitted infections and their diagnosis and treatment. These services will continue to be easily accessible at a variety of venues convenient for people in North and North East Lincolnshire.
As well as the two main hubs in Grimsby and Scunthorpe, the community clinics that provide services across the two local authority areas will continue at –
· Birkwood Medical Centre in Grimsby
· Riverside Surgery in Brigg
· Barton Central Surgery in Barton Upon Humber
· Ashby Children’s Centre
Outreach services will also continue at the Open Door Surgery in Grimsby and through the existing variety of venues in North Lincolnshire.
Service users will not experience any changes in the booking process as appointments across the two services are already made via a central booking phone line. Last year Virgin Care launched a national Sexual Health Hub providing 24/7 online appointment booking, the ordering of STI postal tests plus links to local services.
Jacquie concluded, “We will be consulting with our service users to find out what they think we can do to improve our services in the future such as increasing online resources or opening new clinics. We also plan to develop a training centre for practitioners.”
Councillor Jane Hyldon-King, North East Lincolnshire portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said, “We are delighted to be able to announce this joined-up approach to sexual health.
“The new integrated service provided by the staff at Virgin Care will focus on a programme to help contribute to a more open and honest culture around sexual health, sex and sexuality.
“There is a particular focus on digital information and Virgin Care has an innovative plan to be accessible to everyone with apps and interactive tools as well as continuing their long-held tradition of providing trusted, confidential sexual health services to patients, the public and professionals.”
Councillor Julie Reed, cabinet member for Adults and Health at North Lincolnshire Council, said, “This new integrated approach for sexual health services provided in North and North East Lincolnshire will provide a more efficient service.
“We are committed to providing sexual health services in North Lincolnshire and building on the well-established relationship with Virgin Care to deliver high quality and responsive services.
“The service can already be accessed online in addition to going to the clinics, which has helped improved accessibility for local people.”