by Kate Ebbutt
Residents in five London boroughs can now receive routine and emergency contraception from Sexual Health London (SHL), a service delivered by Preventx in partnership with Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust and LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.
SHL currently delivers remote sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment in 30 London boroughs and has recently been expanded to offer routine and emergency contraception in Lambeth, Southwark, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster. Brent, Harrow, Ealing, the City and Hackney.
During the pandemic SHL has already increased its activity, supporting more people with their sexual health as face-to-face services are affected by restrictions. The Advisory Group on Contraception recently published a report that found that 38% of women surveyed nationally had found it difficult to access the contraception they needed during the pandemic.
Online services enable people to access the healthcare they need without having to go to clinics, therefore enabling clinicians to focus on patients who require a face-to-face appointment.
Ruth Poole, CEO of partnership lead, Preventx said: “I’m proud that our Sexual Health London partnership is now able to offer contraception to people in London. Contraception is vital to people being able to make choices about their lives and bodies. Providing safe, medically assured contraception online makes access easier and quicker while freeing clinics to deliver methods of contraception that require a face-to-face appointment. With access to services still restricted in response to the pandemic, I am sure this will be a welcome development for Londoners”
The service was due to be developed but has been delivered more rapidly as result of COVID-19, taking just 6 months. It has been co-produced with the London Sexual Health Programme and its clinical partners and it is hoped more London local authorities will make it available to their residents over the coming months.
Currently available to people aged 16 and over, patients access the services via an online portal and are guided through a thorough consultation which is conducted in accordance with the latest national clinical guidelines. Where appropriate, a prescription is issued and patients can choose between collection in a pharmacy or home delivery. In some cases, the patient will require further assessment by the clinician or is signposted to more suitable healthcare services
Andy Sloman, Managing Director of LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, said: “We are eager to help and support the NHS by providing online alternatives to attending a clinic. This is an ideal service to deliver remotely and provides patients with a fast and convenient response, regardless of the pandemic. We look forward to rolling this out across more London boroughs in due course.”
About Sexual Health London
Sexual Health London is commissioned by the London Sexual Health Programme, a partnership of London’s local authorities, working to improve access to sexual health services in the capital.
Find out more about Sexual Health London at shl.uk