local people are being asked to give their views.
Plans to develop and improve sexual health services in Renfrewshire are being unveiled and
Later this year Sandyford Renfrewshire - a sexual health "hub" clinic linked to the award-winning city-centre Sandyford - is set to open at the Russell Institute.
This new hub, the seventh in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, will provide an expanded range of treatment, testing, counselling and care in the heart of Paisley town centre.
To support this expansion, there are plans to redesign local family planning clinics to enhance existing local services and provide additional new services, not previously available in the Renfrewshire area.
There are currently family planning clinics in Erskine, Ferguslie, Foxbar, Johnstone, Linwood and Renfrew which operate between 2 and 12 hours each week. The existing clinics, however, cater almost entirely for women and several currently see fewer than 10 clients per week.
Following a detailed review of existing local services, proposals have been developed to transfer family planning services from Foxbar and Linwood to enhanced clinics at Renfrew and Johnstone. These would offer expanded family planning and sexual health care and would also be open longer. Erskine's clinic would be developed as a sexual health service for young people; current adult users would instead attend Renfrew, Johnstone or Sandyford Renfrewshire. The clinic in Ferguslie would continue to operate as it currently does.
Now, local people, staff, statutory agencies and community groups are being asked for their views on these proposed changes. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's award-winning Sandyford centre for sexual, reproductive and emotional healthcare is launching six weeks of opinion-seeking on Monday (March 17th 2008), supported by Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership (CHP).
Sandyford Clinical Director Dr Alison Bigrigg explains: "For many years now, our locally-based clinics have been doing great work but they've been catering almost entirely for women. Men and young people have not been able to access that same quality care on their doorsteps. In addition, the Sandyford provides a much broader range of treatment and care than the old family planning clinics have done.
"So we want to close some of the smaller clinic services, enhance the services provided at others and provide some completely new services for the people of Renfrewshire. We now want to know what local people think. Similar changes to sexual health services have been made in other parts of Greater Glasgow. These new arrangements are working well and have been welcomed by local people."
Dr Bigrigg added: "We and our CHP colleagues believe that these proposals strike the best balance between allowing us to invest in new services, and retaining some of the existing clinics.
"Many of these services are not well-used - one is used by only six people each week on average - and it makes sense to transfer them to areas where they can give a better service to more people.
"We would like to hear what people living in Renfrewshire think of our plans and I would urge anyone who has any opinions on what we're proposing to get in touch with us."
Other options considered include retaining existing services on all sites. However, other expansions and improvements could not be implemented, meaning very limited sexual health care for men and young people in Renfrewshire and a continuation of current limited opening hours and limited services.
An option to expand and improve services in Renfrew and Johnstone, run along the Sandyford model of providing reproductive advice and sexual healthcare together was also considered. However, under this arrangement clinics at Erskine, Ferguslie, Foxbar and Linwood would close, with services transferring to Renfrew and Johnstone.
Fiona Mackay, Head of Planning and Health Improvement, Renfrewshire CHP, said: "Improving sexual health for men, women and young people is a key target for the CHP and in fact a Sexual Health Action Plan for Renfrewshire is one of our top priorities for our 3-year CHP Development Plan. It's also a top priority for our colleagues at Renfrewshire Council, with whom we work very closely. These proposed improvements will result in a significant upgrading of the sexual health service available here.
"The creation of Sandyford Renfrewshire and the proposals for the "satellite" services being outlined today will modernise and expand the sexual health care being offered. Not only that, adapting our service to follow the Sandyford model will mean that new services will be available close to home right here in Renfrewshire for the first time.
"It's important that local people make their views known about the proposed plans, and I would encourage anyone who has an interest in the service to speak up."
Beginning today (Tuesday March 18th), the six-week listening period will last until Friday May 2nd. Copies of the consultation paper can be obtained from the CHANGES AFFECTING YOU section of the NHSGGC website (www.nhsggc.org.uk) or by telephoning Sandyford on 0141 232 8443. Anyone who would like to offer views on the proposal, or any of the options being considered, is asked to email [email protected] or to send comments to:
2-6 Sandyford Place
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429.