Community health

Sexual health services move online

By - Primary Care Journal

Sexual health services move online

As the transition away from face-to-face contact within healthcare to online services becomes more common, LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, in partnership with NHS trusts and Preventx, will begin providing online sexual health services.

Local authorities and other health services will be able to commission online sexual health services from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, as part of the SH.UK service which is led by Preventx.

Working in partnership with Preventx and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the services include online STI self-sampling and treatment as well as emergency hormonal and routine contraception.

The expansion of these services coincides with the noticeable shift away from physical clinics, adapting service provision to support the direction of the NHS Long Term Plan.

“With the doors to many GP surgeries and clinics closed during the coronavirus outbreak, people have had to embrace new ways to manage their sexual health," said Andy Sloman, Managing Director at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.

LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor has seen a 31 per cent increase in routine contraception and a 41 per cent increase in the number of patients seeking emergency contraception from our clinicians from March to June 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

Mr Solman added that there has been a “126 per cent increase in the number of STI tests we’ve dispensed. We don’t want this to just be because people have had no alternative during the lockdown."

Patients will access the services via an online portal and will be guided through a consultation with a LloydsPharmacy clinician. Where appropriate, prescribed medication will be able to be collected by the patient from their nearest Lloyds Pharmacy or the prescription can be delivered directly to the patients home.

Both new starters and repeat users of contraception to will have access through the scheme. An emergency contraception service is also available.

Ruth Poole, CEO of Preventx, commended: “We are delighted to extend our work with LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to bring SH.UK's online sexual and reproductive health services to more people across the UK. In creating this way of commissioning, Public Health England (now NIHP) has recognised the growing need for safe, person-centred online health services and we're proud that our partnership, SH.UK can be selected to provide them."

 LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor has operated a CQC regulated private sexual health service since 2002.

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