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Agenda item

Joint Update report for the Integrated Sexual Health Service


The Committee considered a joint report of the Director of Public Health and Associate Director of Operation, County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust (CDDFT), which provided the Committee with an update with regards to the Integrated Sexual Health Service.  Members also received a joint presentation of the Strategic Manager, Public Health and Associate Director of Operations (for copies see file of minutes).


With regards to the contraception and sexual health (CaSH) Clinics, the Associate Director of Operations confirmed that there were currently 2 centralised hubs in University Hospital of North Durham and Bishop Auckland Hospital which held 21 clinics and 13 community facilities holding 23 clinics.  There were ongoing plans to increase the number of secondary school clinics from 4 and work to extend the provision to 6 days.  In the past provision had been over 6 days but the additional weekend clinic was rotating from area to area and people were not aware of its location week by week.  Clinics were held at all freshers’ events offering a Chlamydia screening programme and C card distribution scheme.


Long acting reversible contraception (LARC) provision was a priority area, there were 42 GP’s in County Durham and 27 offering the service.  To maintain the level of required skills GP’s were required to undertake a minimum number of coil and implant fittings per year and some were only fitting 2, therefore some work was required to increase those with a low uptake.


Councillor Temple queried the number of online sexually transmitted infection (STI) packs sent and received and the Strategic Manager, Public Health confirmed that of the 3141 test packs sent out, there was an 80% return rate.  The number of reactive tests at 230 were the number which had returned a positive testing result.


Councillor Jopling asked where County Durham sat with regards to the national average and the Strategic Manager, Public Health, confirmed that some areas of the County were below, but not in those areas which suffered from high rates of deprivation.  Teenage conception was a problem area in County Durham, with regards to the national and regional average, however it was still reducing year on year and targeted work in schools would assist in developing resilience and reducing risk taking behaviour.


In response to a further question from Councillor Jopling with regards to looked after children, the Strategic Manager, Public Health, confirmed that staff and carers were attending sexual health training programmes to ensure they were able to meet the needs of the children.


Councillor Quinn commented on the vulnerable groups and noted the absence of provision for the older generation.  The Associate Director of Operations, CDDFT, confirmed that the target age range was from 16-25 as this was known to be most sexually active.  There had been an increase in Chlamydia in the over 40’s, attributed to the increase in online dating.  Vulnerable groups were defined by liaising with GP’s, Education and Social Services and differed by geographical areas.


The Strategic Manager, Public Health, confirmed that getting the right communication was key.  For the younger generation, services were promoted online and in work was ongoing with GP’s to promote sexual health for all ages.


Councillor Grant suggested that young people communicated much more openly about sexual health than older generations.  During the meeting she had attempted to order an online test kit, however she had received a response that the daily limit had been exceeded and was unable to order a test.  This raised concerns that this was the case so early in the morning.


The Strategic Manager, Public Health, advised that the daily allowance restriction was due to funding.  When the service was first initiated the demand was unknown, but the service were monitoring demand in order to ensure they could meet the needs of service users.


The Director of Public Health reassured Members that future risks to the public health grant would not affect the protected budget of the ISHS.


Councillor Hopgood queried the 4 schools which were signed up to the service and whether they were aligned to hotpots.  It was confirmed that Hermitage, New College Durham, North Durham Academy and Wolsingham Comprehensive were signed up and it was noted that New College Durham was provision for post 16 year olds.  Councillor Crathorne advised that clinics had been held in Ferryhill Business and Enterprise College (FBEC) in the past and the Strategic Manger, Public Health, confirmed that the decision was down to the individual education establishment and would depend on whether they had the required facilities.  The C Card distribution was more flexible and could be provided in those County hotspots.  The education service was focusing in those areas by upskilling staff to enable them to have conversations with regards to sexual health and there was a mobile sexual health bus to visit target areas.  With regards to the teenage pregnancy hotspot areas, the figures were based on the addresses of the children and they did not necessarily go to school in the same area.


Councillor Crute queried the governance arrangements in place - there was no certainty around funding, but it was necessary to ensure the sexual health scheme was sustainable and met the current demand.  The Strategic Manager, Public Health, advised that although there was a prioritisation process in Public Health, there was a commitment to the sexual health service.  There was a Public Health Intelligence Team to identify and monitor trends, which were reviewed on a quarterly basis.  Performance monitoring was robust and included data from patient surveys and the Health and Wellbeing Board met bi-monthly.


Councillor Crathorne referred to outside bodies such as The Cornforth Partnership working with children in FBEC with regards to teenage pregnancy.  The Strategic Manger, Public Health, confirmed that AAP’s and work alongside teenage pregnancy steering group.


Councillor Crute confirmed that the work programme was currently being developed and he requested a further update following the public health consultation as sexual health was a serious issue which the Committee needed to monitor.



     i)        That the report and presentation be noted

    ii)        That the actions being taken to reduce inequalities and meet the sexual health needs of residents in County Durham be noted

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714