Published on: 6 May 2021
Sexual Health Services in Gateshead and South Tyneside have been recognised nationally for their dynamic approach to providing young people friendly services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The services have been awarded with the prestigious, national ‘You’re Welcome Friendly Service’ accreditation after meeting a number of quality standards set by the Department of Health to ensure that young people get the very best experience of local health services.
COVID-19 has had a particular impact on how sexual health services were provided, meaning that teams had to make rapid changes to ensure safe health care was delivered in line with national social distancing guidance and infection prevention and control measures.
The Sexual Health Teams in Gateshead and South Tyneside service introduced a number of changes in the way that services were delivered, including developing online access to contraception and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing during lockdown.
The teams also provided telephone consultations to reduce face to face contact, waiting times and unnecessary travel. Patients advised that they preferred the changes, rather than long waits in a walk-in service. This new way of working has reduced the number of patients not attending appointments and helped support social distancing in waiting rooms.
David Newell, Business Manager for Gateshead and South Tyneside Sexual Health Services at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said:
“We are delighted and proud to have achieved the ‘You’re Welcome’ accreditation. The pandemic forced us to change the way we would normally deliver services pretty quickly and the teams have worked really hard to ensure that the needs of our patients are very much at the heart of everything we do. Using the ‘You’re Welcome’ standards gives us assurance that, despite the challenges of COVID-19, we have continued to provide high quality, safe services and maintained a positive experience for our patients.”
The Trust’s sexual health services in Gateshead and South Tyneside work closely with partners to improve public health with initiatives such as free condoms and free home testing kits for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea for the under 25s.
The majority of the Trust’s sexual health clinics provide all forms of contraception. Main clinics at Trinity Square Health Centre, Gateshead, and Stanhope Parade Health Centre, South Shields, also offer screening/testing for sexually transmitted infections.
To find out more about the sexual health service in Gateshead ring 0191 2831577/1575 and for South Tyneside ring 0191 4028191 or go to Sexual health services :: South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust (stsft.nhs.uk).
Photo shows: Members of the Sexual Health Teams in Gateshead and South Tyneside with their “You’re Welcome Friendly Service” accreditation award.