From today, local authorities and other health services can commission online sexual health services from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, as part of the SH.UK service led by Preventx, using a new Public Health England framework.
Working in partnership with Preventx and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the services provided include online STI self-sampling and treatment as well as emergency hormonal and routine contraception.
The expansion of these online services supports a noticeable channel-shift away from physical clinics to continue safe, quality care for patients and help commissioners adapt their service provision in favour of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Andy Sloman, managing director at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Preventx and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of Public Health England to help take some of the pressures away from sexual health clinics and GP surgeries so that they can focus on looking after patients that need a face to face consultation. We’re keen to continue offering more digital sexual health services to support local health commissioners and the communities they serve”.
“With the doors to many GP surgeries and clinics closed during the Coronavirus outbreak, people have had to embrace new ways to manage their sexual health. From March to June 2019 vs 2020 LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor has seen a 31% increase in routine contraception and a 41% increase in the number of patients seeking emergency contraception from our clinicians. Furthermore, there’s been a 126% increase in the number of STI tests we’ve dispensed. We don’t want this to just be because people have had no alternative during lockdown. We want to see these numbers continue to increase as we educate both clinicians and the general public on the benefit of using online services.”
Once commissioned, patients can access the services via an online portal and are guided through a consultation with a LloydsPharmacy clinician Where appropriate, prescribed medication can be collected by the patient from their nearest LloydsPharmacy or they can have it delivered directly to their home. Both new starters and repeat users of contraception can be managed, and an emergency contraception service is also available. The online STI testing service offers a discreet online consultation and treatment for chlamydia. In some cases, the patient will require further assessment by the clinician or is signposted to other healthcare services.
Andy continues: “It’s vital that the NHS diverts its resources where they are most needed. This is an ideal service to deliver remotely that safely and efficiently provides patients with the advice and medicines they require. Not all services are suitable for everyone’s needs and we want to be able to provide more people with greater choice and convenience when it comes to managing their sexual health. This is a tried, tested and fully managed digital solution and we hope local health commissioners will see the value SH.UK can add by being their partner of choice.”
Ruth Poole, CEO of Preventx, adds: “We are delighted to extend our work with LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to bring SH.UK’s online sexual and reproductive health services to more people across the UK. In creating this way of commissioning, Public Health England have recognised the growing need for safe, person-centred online health services and we’re proud that our partnership, SH.UK can be selected to provide them.”
LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, a leader in the field of online medicine, has operated a CQC regulated private sexual health service since 2002.