Sexual health services in Tower Hamlets

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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.

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General details

Report title 
Sexual health services in Tower Hamlets
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Tower Hamlets
Date of publication 
Monday, 1 April, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Sunday, 1 April, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 31 March, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
User stories
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
Not Known

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Sexual health

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Specific ethnicity if known 
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.