PCS is supporting the re-opening of LARC services within general practice by re-commencing its community contraception clinics from 17 June. Appointments are by self-referral only to SPA on 0114 226 8888. Emergency contraception continues to be available via the same number.
From 1 July, PCS will begin to provide weekly community gynaecology clinics in addition to those offered by PCNs. Referrals to the PCS clinics must be via CASES and can be made by general practice for the following procedures: pipelle biopsy & IUS fitting for HMB; removal of cervical polyps and first-fit ring pessaries.
GP practices make a substantial and crucial contribution to women’s sexual health by providing a range of contraception options including LARC. During the pandemic, routine fitting of LARC has (understandably) reduced to a minimum with temporary alternatives, such as POP, being issued remotely in its place.
A number of practices have informed us that they intend gradually to reintroduce routine LARC fitting using appropriate PPE. We would like to encourage this and reassure all contracted practices that we will continue to accept claims for payment.
Activity continues to be contracted between PCS and individual practices until PCN arrangements are in place.
We are also working towards reintroducing LARC fitting in our community clinics. Presently, the service accepts calls for general contraception advice; emergency contraception and pregnancy choices counselling and referrals. Referral of complex presentations should also continue to be made to Sexual Health Sheffield SPA on 0114 226 8888.
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In light of the current pandemic, we have been monitoring closely access to EHC via our service and noticed a decline in uptake, but at the same time an increase in requests for terminations. In response, we would like to ensure we are doing everything possible to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
- Effective immediately, but on a temporary basis, we have removed the upper age limit (currently 25 years) for the provision of free EHC via approved community pharmacies. These pharmacies, along with opening times, are detailed in this notice.
- Please continue to direct patients you are unable to see within your practice to our EHC telephone call-back service (0114 226 8888) open Monday to Friday. Outside of these times, please direct patients to the above community pharmacies or the NHS Walk-in Centre on Broad Lane.
- Our team of sexual health practitioners continue to fit emergency IUDs and offer general contraception advice over the telephone (0114 226 8888).
Sexual Health Sheffield single point of access (01142268888) will be closed during the Easter weekend, from Friday to Monday inclusive. Consequently, nurse-led telephone triage and clinical pharmacist-led emergency contraception consultations will not be operable during those times. They will reopen on Tuesday morning as normal.
There are a number of alternatives for patients to access emergency contraception during these hours, including from their own GP given these services will now remain open. Please refer here for the latest guidance. http://www.sexualhealthsheffield.nhs.uk/services/emergency-contraception/
A scaled-back version of community sexual & reproductive health services will be implemented from Monday 30 March in order to protect those aspects of the service considered critical, such as emergency contraception.
Practices can assist in this process by ensuring they’ve signed up to the data sharing agreement allowing PCS clinical pharmacists to issue emergency hormonal contraception and POP via their GP clinical system.
In considering both guidance from FSRH which extends substantially the longevity of coils and implants in situ, and taking into account pressures being placed on the service presently, the decision has been taken to cease temporarily all Depo injections and routine LARC fittings and removals.
Essential services will continue or be expanded as follows:
- We will expand our capacity to give contraception advice over the telephone. Our team of sexual health specialist doctors and nurses will operate a telephone call-back service from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturdays for:
- general contraception advice
- advice on complications with recent LARC fits
- pregnancy choices counselling and referral to Ward G1
- POP initiation counselling
Patients can make appointments directly by calling 0114 226 8888.
- Our clinical pharmacists will continue to offer remote issue of EHC via the patient’s own GP clinical system. Patients can self-refer to this service by calling 0114 226 8888.
PCS clinical pharmacists will:
- offer EHC/coil counselling
- for females aged 16+, prescribe EHC and issue remotely via EPS
- for females aged under 16, refer them to STH’s youth clinic or an approved community pharmacy for a face-to-face appointment
- issue 3/12 POP under the recommendation of a specialist doctor or nurse
- book appointments for emergency coils
- Our specialists will continue to fit emergency coils and see patients with complications. While available resource permits, we will hold up to three sessions a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays initially at Sloan Medical Centre and Darnall Primary Care Centre.
*Our approved community pharmacies are authorised to issue EHC free of charge, under PGD, to females aged 14-25. Pharmacies in Crystal Peaks, Heeley Retail Park and Meadowhall will come online shortly.
These changes represent a small amendment to the data sharing agreements in place as they now include prescribing of POP in addition to EHC. In the current circumstances, and in light of the ICO’s guidance, we don’t propose to spend valuable admin time – here and in practices – processing amended agreements. This position will be monitored and reviewed in due course.
Please continue to direct patients for general advice, including asymptomatic STI testing and self-testing, to our website at sexualhealthsheffield.nhs.uk
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A significant proportion of our nursing staff are unable to attend work presently due to self-isolation. Despite this, services have continued largely uninterrupted thanks to colleagues volunteering to cover shifts.
Inevitably, LARC activity within general practice will decrease in order for clinicians to cope with the demand for urgent care. However, we would ask practices to maintain as much LARC activity (and wider contraception services, EC and TOP counselling) as possible please whilst acknowledging that this may be difficult.
We have prioritised (in this order) the following aspects of the community service:
1. Emergency contraception (EC) telephone service (accessible via SPA 0114 226 8888)2. Nurse-led telephone triage, contraception advice and TOP counselling (accessible via SPA 0114 226 8888)
3. Fitting of emergency IUDs
4. Routine LARC services
Where individual practices are unable to cope with demand, where possible please liaise with neighbouring practices for assistance prior to directing patients to SPA.
The transition of practice contracting to PCN contracting presently timed for 1 April 2020 is suspended and we will work with PCNs to agree a new timetable in due course.
For the latest information regarding access to emergency contraception visit http://www.sexualhealthsheffield.nhs.uk/services/emergency-contraception/