Changes to Hertfordshire’s sexual health services mean five clinics will permanently close
- Credit: Archant
Changes to the way sexual health services are delivered in Hertfordshire is set to see the closure of five clinics by October.
The new five-year sexual health strategy will see a move away from the 'hub and spoke model' to three specialist Centres of Excellence in Stevenage, St Albans and Watford - with the St Albans centre moving to brand new premises in Hatfield by January.
The satellite clinics based in Potters Bar, Hertford, Hemel Hempstead, Waltham Cross and Bishop's Stortford will close over the next four months and the services will be relocated to the Centres of Excellence.
Hertfordshire County Council says the three centres will offer a complete range of sexual health and contraception services, as well as an online testing service which means people can order home testing kits for a range of sexually transmitted infections.
The county council will also be launching an interactive map of all sexual health and contraception services in Hertfordshire so residents can find their nearest service online.
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HCC's Cabinet member for public health and prevention, Tim Hutchings, said: "We are committed to providing high quality sexual health services for our residents.
"The new Centres of Excellence will be able to offer a much wider range of services and consultant expertise than some of our smaller clinics and have longer opening hours, opening five days a week plus some evenings.
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"In addition, new community long-acting reversible contraception services will be introduced, providing local access for those who need it.
"Contraception services continue to be available from local GPs and some local pharmacies and free confidential chlamydia screening for people 24 years and under is available from a number of participating pharmacies across Hertfordshire.
"This strategy enables us to be responsive to the needs of Hertfordshire's residents while at the same time ensuring that we make the best use of all local services, avoid duplication and provide value for money."
The new five-year sexual health strategy has been through a consultation process and will go to full council for final approval on July 16.
More information is available at hertfordshire.gov.uk/sexualhealth