Improved sexual health and contraception services
People needing sexual health or contraception services in the Chichester area are set to benefit from shorter waiting times and extended opening hours.
The full range of services will be brought together at St Richard’s Hospital to offer ‘one-stop’ appointments, rather than the current arrangement where staff and services are divided between the hospital and the Chapel Street clinic.
The decision to make the change has been made following a staff consultation process.
With the current arrangement of two sites, a number of patients end up needing to be referred from one site to the other, causing delays.
The new arrangement will mean that patients get an even better service
The new integrated clinic will ensure that most people will be able to get contraception, screening, or treatment in a single visit. More clinics will also be run later into the evenings and at weekends.
Some people were concerned that the closure of the Chapel Street clinic would mean fewer younger people accessing contraception.
Although the evidence from other centres does not suggest that this is the case, except in the very short term, the Trust has joined forces with West Sussex County Council to ensure that clinics for young people will also be offered at the centrally-located ‘Find It Out’ centre, as well as continuing to be available at Chichester College.
There are also plans to invest in more sexual health services in the areas around Chichester, particularly Bognor Regis.
Jeannie Baumann, director of clinical services for women and children’s health at the Trust, said: “The changes we are making will mean that people living in Chichester will finally have access to the same standard of services as are available elsewhere in West Sussex.
“The reasons for the change are simple – integrated services, longer opening hours, one-stop visits with fewer delays for patients. In addition, the change will enable us to expand integrated services to other parts of the community where we are seeing considerable growth in demand.
“We know that the Chapel Street clinic is highly valued both by the people who work there, and the people who use it. Those same excellent staff will remain, but the new arrangement will mean that patients get an even better service.”
The move is now being planned in detail and is likely to be in place from June.