Summary of report content
Healthwatch Tower Hamlets carried out a project to understand local people’s experiences of sexual health services in Tower Hamlets. This was done through five Enter and View visits to three sexual health services, two mystery shopping activities, speaking to local residents about their experiences, and analysing feedback received through Healthwatch Tower Hamlets’ outreach and engagement programme.
Findings from these activities included: overall, sexual health services in Tower Hamlets received very positive feedback from service users; service users appreciated having specialised clinics in the local area; staff were said to be kind, reassuring and supportive; the self-referral/walk-in system was very popular with people. Areas identified for improvement included: a lack of clarity around walk-in versus booked appointments for some services; confusion as to what sexual health services are available at GP surgeries; long waiting times to access appointments; clinics running late; concerns around a lack of privacy in reception areas; young people were hesitant to access services due to concerns that their privacy and confidentiality would be compromised; young people did not feel that they are given enough education and training about sexual health at the right time.
Healthwatch Tower Hamlets made 10 recommendations around: ensuring privacy in clinics; communicating delays to keep service users informed; clarifying the process that women can go through to expedite the termination process via priority appointments; offering cervical screening to all women accessing services; improving telephone services; encouraging the use of satellite clinics by service users; making clear the types of services available at regular GP practices; developing a text-based system for test results that don’t require a follow up and appointment reminders; updating the SafeEast website; and improving signposting at one of the satellite clinics to direct patients to the service without compromising their privacy.