Petition to reopen Hertfordshire sexual health clinics needs last few signatures today
PUBLISHED: 09:19 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:19 25 February 2020
A petition to reinstate sexual health clinics which closed across the county last year ends today – and needs just a few more signatures to reach the threshold to be considered by Hertfordshire Council Council’s cabinet.
A new five-year sexual health strategy has seen a move away from the 'hub and spoke model' of sexual health clinics to three specialist Centres of Excellence in Stevenage, St Albans and Watford - with the St Albans centre set to move to brand new premises in Hatfield next month.
The satellite clinics in Potters Bar, Hertford, Hemel Hempstead, Waltham Cross and Bishop's Stortford all closed at the end of last year and the services relocated to the Centres of Excellence.
Hertfordshire County Council says the three centres 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 local authority says the Centres for Excellence offer a much wider range of services and consultant expertise than some of the now defunct smaller clinics, and have longer opening hours.
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But concerned Hertfordshire resident Emma Curtis has mounted a petition to reinstate the closed sexual health clinics.
She said: "I have no personal agenda with this. The new Hatfield centre will be extremely convenient to where I work in Potters Bar, as I drive, and I am soon moving to Stevenage, which has its own centre too.
"I hit the postcode lottery, but there are some residents who will find it so difficult to get to a clinic that they may not be able to be tested.
"I am petitioning the county council to find the funding to reopen sexual health clinics at accessible locations throughout Hertfordshire.
"It seems too late, but I have to believe that the voice of reason will pierce through the noise of this autocratic reform."
At the time of writing, 228 people had signed the petition. If it reaches 250 signatures by the end of today, the petition can be presented to Hertfordshire County Council's cabinet for discussion.
To sign the petition, which has run since December 31, visit https://democracy.hertfordshire.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=55&RPID=1875934&HPID=1875934