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Changes to York’s sexual health service proposed

Proposals to change the way sexual health services are provided in York will be considered later this month and could then be consulted on later this year.

 

The sexual health service in York is delivered through YorSexualHealth, provided by the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The provision of free, comprehensive, open access sexual health and contraceptive services is a mandated Public Health function of local authorities, as part of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

City of York Council is working closely with the Trust to review the service and its partnership, as part of the re-procurement of the service for the next 10 years.

A report was taken to an Executive meeting on 13 June to outline what these changes could mean.  

The current contract with the Trust is due for renewal in July, and a proposed extension is being put forward, which will see an additional 12-month extension period.

In order to deliver the new contract, the Trust has identified that some efficiencies would need to be made to the service. These would be proposed to be done by a staged approach during the 12-month extension period, to ensure robust monitoring and evaluation.

The proposed changes include these staged service reductions over a 12-month period:

  • Maintain the YorSexualHealth service until October 2024
  • The Trust will work with the council on an impact assessment and public consultation which is proposed to start in July 2024
  • Depending on the above, a proposed approach would then be to negotiate and introduce service changes during 2024/25.

Without prejudging the outcome of the consultation (and subject to contract), this could potentially include:

  • A reduction in the number of clinic hours the service is open for
  • A cap on activity relating to Preventx (online STI testing)
  • A cap on activity relating to LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraception)

The council and the Trust will then continue negotiations, due diligence and analysis and work towards potential commencement of a new contract in 2025/6.

Sexual health services are a key part of public health and are funded via the ring-fenced Public Health Allocation.

Consultation regarding the proposal to extend the current contract with York and Scarborough NHS Trust and Nimbuscare Limited has recently taken place with the providers through the Sexual Health Joint Management Board, chaired by the Director of Public Health. Wider consultation, including with service users will be completed once the changes to the service provision are known.

A benefit of extending the current Integrated Sexual Health Services contract with the Trust is that the Trust have a proven track record and have been a provider of sexual health services in York for over 10 years.

The council’s Executive is being asked to approve arrangements, before these are taken forward for public consultation, which could see a new legal agreement between the two.

 

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