There is increasing evidence that COVID 19 is affecting people’s willingness and ability to seek and access medical care during this time. There is also growing evidence that individuals (including young people) already vulnerable to abuse and exploitation may be even more at risk during this period of reduced support and isolation.
Central and North West London (CNWL) Sexual Health Services are available to support vulnerable patients and assist professional partners managing and safeguarding individuals during this time.
They would like to optimise partnership working and streamline pathways between CNWL Integrated Sexual Health Service and their various partner services, agencies and stakeholders in order to better support vulnerable individuals and those in need.
CNWL Sexual Health Services cannot work in isolation and recognise the need to work closely with partners to identify and address the needs of the vulnerable groups and maintain the opportunity for service users to maintain good sexual health during this period.
Services continue to have lots of capacity for telephone consultations and are also able to offer limited face to face appointments and walk-in service for those in need. Access to advice, information, testing and treatment to vulnerable and hard to reach groups and the organisations that support them will be prioritised.
If you are currently supporting a client who needs to access integrated sexual health services, several pathways are offered.
- If you are working with young people (under 18) and they want to access screening, have internet access and a safe postal address then we can advise on how to order a home testing kit.
- For any young person a routine appointment can be booked for an initial telephone assessment via the central booking office on 0203 317 5252. Appointments are generally available for the same day or next day. If during the course of the telephone consultation a need is identified the young person can then be booked for a face to face review.
- If young people under the age of 18 attend the services as a walk-in patient they will be assessed and if appropriate will be offered a face to face consultation. This service is not advertised but we will endeavour not to turn away young people needing care.
- SMS are being sent out to all registered patients under the age of 18 advising help and advice available.
- For services working with vulnerable adults you can either support them to access online testing through SHL www.shl.uk or call the central contact centre on 020 3317 5252 who will book them a telephone appointment.
- If a need is identified, limited face to face consultations (generally following telephone assessment, but this is flexible) can be booked. This includes vulnerable adults such as people living with learning disability, mental health issues, commercial sex workers and those living with Domestic Abuse.
If you need any support and advice from the safeguarding team, or would like to refer a young or vulnerable person directly to the safeguarding team please call 020 3317 5252, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and ask them to arrange a call back from the safeguarding team. This pathway can also be used if you have a young person that you would like to share information about and facilitate their appointment.
The team of nurses, doctors and safeguarding advisers are available to offer support to patients and professionals to help patients access appropriate support, advice, screening and treatment.