Accessible community sexual health services for residents have been secured.
North Tyneside Council has awarded the contract to supply integrated community sexual health services to Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, following a competitive tender process.
Northumbria Healthcare will continue to deliver sexual health services and also as part of the new contract, they will work with GP practices, pharmacies, and voluntary sexual health organisations to provide locally based services.
The service will be available free to all who need it and will also include community outreach services and support services for people with HIV and their carers.
Coun Lesley Spillard, cabinet member for public health, said: “The service will continue to address national sexual health priorities, which include reducing the rate of teenage pregnancies, reducing the number of young people diagnosed with chlamydia, and decreasing the number of people diagnosed with HIV at a late stage of infection.
“North Tyneside has recently achieved a teenage pregnancy rate lower than the regional average and it is hoped that these figures will continue to stay low.”
“We are pleased to announce that the main sexual health service based at the One to One Centre in Shiremoor will continue to offer various outreach clinics located throughout the borough to widen access to our residents.”
The council has been through a lengthy procurement process which involved a stakeholder event and resident online survey.
Residents said they wanted sexual health services to be free, confidential, and easily accessible and staffed by knowledgeable healthcare professionals.
Residents also requested that available services are far better advertised.
The council have put plans in place to ensure this happens and will make sure that services are well located throughout the borough and are open at convenient times.
Dr Jane Weatherstone, GP clinical director from Northumbria NHS Healthcare Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to have won the competitive tender with North Tyneside Council to deliver a range of community sexual health services from a variety of locations in the borough for the people of North Tyneside.
“As the current service provider we are pleased to be able to build on the excellent community sexual health services we already provide which are highly regarded by patients and promote positive sexual health.
“This includes preventing and treating infections, providing good quality contraception and preventing unwanted pregnancy.
“As part of the new contract we will be managing a range of contraceptive and sexual health services in GP practices and pharmacies and delivering the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP), it also includes managing sexual health services for gay and bisexual men carried out by MESMAC in North Tyneside.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to make services even more accessible to residents.
“Our success in winning the tender is testament to the excellent service our staff already deliver on a daily basis for the people of North Tyneside.”
The new contract is due to start on October 1, and runs until March 31, 2019.
For further information on the sexual health services available visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/sexualhealth