Sexual health talks on agenda
More than 6,000 people attended sexual health clinics in Shropshire during 12 months – but the county remains below average for infections.
Shropshire Council is looking to have preliminary market talks about how to provide community sexual health services going forward.
It has been revealed that 6,352 people attended sexual health clinics in Shropshire in 2017, although 1,711 of these were by people from outside the county.
The authority said that between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, 398 people were diagnosed with chlamydia, 77 with gonorrhoea, 88 with herpes and 228 with genital warts.
It is now seeking early talks with market providers about services it could offer going forward.
A tender report says: “Shropshire Council is currently engaged in early market engagement in relation to innovative, efficient and cost effective methods of providing community contraception and sexual services.
“The purpose of this process is for the council to discuss with the market and affirm their current understanding of what the market has to offer to assist the council to deliver the changes being envisaged.
“This initial process is intended as early market engagement only. Shropshire is mainly a rural county with around 66 per cent of the population living in what is classified as a rural area.
“It is now Public Health’s intention to ‘refocus and reshape’ the delivery of an innovative ‘community sexual health system’, with an emphasis on supporting prevention programmes, and delivering faster, better and more accessible care in the community.
“It is anticipated that this approach will help sustain the low and even lower levels of sexual ill-health whilst containing the costs of provision in the medium and long term.
“Shropshire remains a low transmission area for sexually transmitted infections, with total diagnosis rates often lower than the national rates.”
It adds: “This is not the commencement of any formal procurement process and the council is not committed to carrying out such a process.
“The council will consider the information received as a result of this exercise to help inform the council’s options appraisal and subsequent council decision making process.”