New set of standards to improve sexual health services in the NHS

A new set of clear recommended standards to improve sexual health services in the NHS have been jointly launched today by Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson and Ruth Lowbury of the Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health.

The standards will give guidance to healthcare professionals working in the field as well as giving people an idea of the level of sexual health services they should expect – wherever they live. 

The new recommended standards fulfil a commitment made in the Government’s sexual health and HIV strategy of 2001. They also provide a solid example of how the Department of Health is delivering on the Public Health White Paper’s sexual health commitments to modernise sexual health services as well as the aim to reduce inequalities and improve the patient’s experience.

Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson said:

"The Department of Health welcomes these recommended standards as excellent markers of good practice - which will help to improve the quality of sexual health services across the country.

"We recently announced an extra £300m in our Public Health White Paper to transform sexual services and I hope that these new, clearer recommended standards will offer healthcare professionals at all levels invaluable information to meet government targets as well as enhancing the quality of services in all settings."

Ruth Lowbury, Executive Director of MedFASH added: 

"The standards have been developed with the aim of enabling people to have prompt and convenient access to consistent, equitable and high quality sexual health care, wherever they live."

Recommended Standards for Sexual Health Services was produced by the Medical Foundation for AIDS and Sexual Health (MedFASH), on behalf of the Department of Health.

Ten sexual health standards have been recommended, which include:

  • a programme of sexual health promotion to help reduce the risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancy
  • measures to improve detection of sexual health need, including chlamydia screening
  • improving access to, and information on service provision
  • speedy detection and management of STIs
  • prompt access to contraceptive advice and provision
  • services working together to increase choice for their users

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