Publish date: 15 March 2023
Contract awarded for integrated sexual health service in Northumberland
Northumberland County Council has awarded Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust the integrated sexual health service contract for Northumberland, following approval by its cabinet yesterday (Tuesday, March 14, 2023).
The new two-year contract has the option of extending for a further two years and an agreed contract price of £2,306,070 per annum, funded via the Public Health Grant.
The existing contract for Northumberland’s sexual health service expires at the end of this month and a formal tender exercise was completed to identify the successful applicant organisation.
Cllr Wendy Pattison, cabinet member for adult wellbeing at Northumberland County Council, said: “The new contract and additional investment will create an enhanced and modernised offer to our residents, improving access and increasing effective interventions.
“Good sexual health matters to individuals and communities. Sexual health needs will vary according to factors such as age, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity. However, there are certain core needs common to everyone, including high-quality information and education enabling people to make informed responsible decisions, and access to high-quality services, treatment and interventions.
“The council has consistently maintained its investment in sexual health prevention and treatment and as a result, we have an effective system with a skilled workforce that creates positive outcomes for our residents.”
Sexual Health services are evidenced as being cost-effective. They prevent costs associated with unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. For example, it is estimated that for every £1 invested in contraception services, there is a £9 saving created for health, care and education services over 10 years.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s general manager for the sexual health service, Sue Welsh, said: “We are delighted to have won this contract again and look forward to continuing to work with the team at Northumberland County Council. Easy and appropriate access to sexual health services is very important to so many people at different stages of their lives and we will continue to ensure that the services we provide are tailored to the needs of the communities we serve.
“Tackling health inequalities is also a very important priority for our trust and working in partnership with the council in relation to this can only strengthen and improve any service we provide. Our communications and marketing offer is also a vital element of what we provide as ensuring people are informed about and empowered to use services available to them is crucial.”
Northumberland's director of public health, Gill O’Neill, said: “Sexual ill health is not equally distributed within the population. Links exist between deprivation and sexually transmitted infections, teenage conceptions and abortions, with the highest burden borne by women, teenagers, young adults, men who have sex with men, and black and minority ethnic groups. Some groups at higher risk of poor sexual health face stigma and discrimination, which can influence their ability to access services.
“Our commissioned sexual health services aim to address inequality and improve sexual health by providing targeting, needs led, interventions and open access to services where most of the sexual health and contraceptive needs can be met at one site, often by a single specialist, in services with extended opening hours and accessible locations.
“The re-commissioning of the service will create opportunities to develop service provision to ensure it can appropriately respond to new and emerging needs and demands within the local community.”
To find out more about the sexual health services available, visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/our-services/sexual-health-services
You can book an appointment online via the website or contact the service directly on 0344 811 8118.