This month (April) heralds the start of a three-year expansion of community sexual and reproductive health services across the city, as part of NHS Greater Glasgow's response to Scotland's new sexual health strategy.
The expansion will begin with the creation of a service 'Hub' at Govanhill Health Centre that will offer a wider range of sexual and reproductive health services than has been available before in Glasgow's communities. This pilot is hoped to lay the foundations for similar service expansion across the city.
The move follows a consultation launched last December on expansion proposals, led by NHS Greater Glasgow's Sandyford Initiative which is responsible for providing a wide range of sexual, reproductive and emotional health services.
Positive feedback was given by everyone from sexual health staff to young people, and illustrated that current services are highly valued and expansion plans will be largely welcomed.
Rosie Ilett, Associate Director for Strategy and Communications at the Sandyford Initiative, explained: "Sexual and reproductive health services in Glasgow have changed over the years and now it's time to make them even better.
"Although the Sandyford Initiative's main city centre base in Sauchiehall Street provides a comprehensive range of sexual health services six days per week, our community based clinics only offer a limited range of services on a part-time basis. In addition, although the existing local clinics are popular with women, men are missing out.
"The consultation showed that more people - including men - would visit the local clinics if they were based in more accessible locations and if they offered a wider range of services and were open for longer periods of time."
Rosie went on: "We have therefore developed proposals to reorganise our existing local clinic services by introducing this new type of community clinic called a Sandyford Hub, which will be piloted at Govanhill Health Centre.
"Such a new clinic would offer a more comprehensive range of sexual health services and be open for longer periods of time than existing local clinics. It would also be supported by a new Satellite clinic to offer a general range of sexual health services."
It's hoped that the Hub and Satellite pilot plan will be successful in providing:
* a wider range of services, including many which are available at the Sandyford's city centre base e.g. diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, counselling, library and information services and the provision of all forms of contraception and vaccinations.
* Improved accessibility with a choice of drop-in sessions and pre-booked appointments.
* Increased attendance levels with a broader range of service users, including men and younger people, who do not tend to access services in existing local clinics.
* Good accommodation and facilities including three consulting/treatment rooms, a dedicated waiting area and a separate reception and information area.
* Partnership working with a wide range of health professionals, voluntary organisations and local authority staff to develop a more integrated service.
The pilot work will be continually assessed in order to shape the plans to roll out the models in communities across Glasgow.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
* The consultation ended in February and the results were analysed by an independent group.
* The Sandyford Initiative itself was established in 2001 as a Glasgow-wide sexual, reproductive and emotional health service that brought together existing services to provide an integrated one. These included Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services, Genitourinary Medicine and Sexual Health Services, the Centre for Women's Health and the Steve Retson Project.
* Key services provided in the Sandyford Centre are: sexual health (genitourinary medicine); family planning and reproductive health; Centre for Women's Health (emotional support); The Place (for young people); Steve Retson Project (for gay and bisexual men); SAPPHO Service (for lesbian and bisexual women); Sandyford library and information service.
* Last year, just under 100,000 people used the Sandyford Initiative - of which 55,000 were new attendees.
* To find out more about the Sandyford in general, visit www.sandyford.org.uk
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