The London Sexual Health Programme (LSHP) was set up in 2015 as a result of the transfer of public health responsibility to local councils in the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
It is a partnership of 31 London local authorities working with the NHS to improve access to high quality sexual health services at a time when Government funding for public health in London is reducing by around £70 million between 2015 and 2020.
The London Sexual Health Programme is not a decision-making body itself, but supports all partner local authorities to deliver sexual health services across the capital.
Since 2015, the LSHP has:
Supported councils to launch the online Sexual Health London service
People in London can now order free, easy-to-use sexual health home testing kits online at shl.uk, or pick them up at clinics across twelve NHS trusts. This makes it more convenient for people across the capital to access sexual health testing and manage their sexual health whenever it suits them without having to take time off work to visit a clinic.
The service is aimed at people who don’t have symptoms of an STI but would like to be tested.
Once the kits are sent back for free in the post, people can check their results online.
If there’s any need for follow-up care, clinics get in touch to arrange an appointment for treatment, while treatment for certain types of chlamydia can also be sent through the post for free without any need to visit a clinic.
People can still choose to use clinics, but the new online service provides the same tests straight to their home, meaning no time off work or travel costs.
Over 98% of people who have used the service would recommend it to friends or family.
As of November 2018, people in London have ordered over 100,000 STI home testing kits.
Supported councils to introduce joint commissioning for contraception, testing and treatment services, meaning that people can now access these services together in more sexual health clinics across London
There is now better access to more types of contraception in clinics as a result of these changes, and many new and existing clinics across London now also offer six day, morning and evening appointments.
Introduced long-term contracts for clinics and new tariffs for sexual health services
This means that local authorities pay similar rates for comparable services across the capital, meaning both clinics and local authorities can better plan their budgets.
These changes mean that people in London can access sexual health services in a way that suits them, whether that’s by going into a clinic, or through the online Sexual Health London services.
Sexual health services in London remain open access, whether that’s through shl.uk, at one of London’s more than 60 sexual health clinics or by visiting their GP.
With the changes, clinics are freed up from routine sexual health tests on people with no symptoms and can dedicate more face-to-face appointments to people most in need.