Coronavirus (Covid-19) important notice: changes to our sexual health services

All sexual health services are run from Barking Community Hospital until further notice.

Sexual Health Services in Barking, Havering and Redbridge

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Please do not attend our service if you have any of the following symptoms (or live with someone who has either of these symptoms):

  • Cough
  • Fever (high temperature)
  • Loss or change to your sense of taste
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell  

Please wear face a covering at all times when attending our service. You will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures while in the clinic. This may also include a temperature check on entry to the clinic.

Visit the NHS website for the latest advice.

If you are self-isolating due to the above symptoms or have been in contact with anyone with these symptoms and need emergency contraception, have been recently sexually assaulted or had sexual exposure to HIV within the last three days; please contact us on 0208 970 5724 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday for an initial telephone consultation or please contact NHS 111

Our services currently run from Barking Community Hospital only

Our sexual health services at Queen's Hospital, Loxford and Hainault clinics are closed. Limited services are available at Outpatients East, Barking Community Hospital, Upney Lane IG11 9LX.

Please call 020 8970 5724  between 8am and 4pm Mon-Fri to book an appointment, further information or advice

Opening times and processes

We are open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Our sexual health services are now by appointment only. This will usually be an initial telephone consultation with one of our clinicians. We will only be able to offer face-to-face consultations to individuals with the most urgent sexual/reproductive health needs. Please inform us if you have a learning difficulty or speak little English.

You can attend without an appointment* if you are under 18, require HIV PEPSE, emergency contraception, or have been sexually assaulted.

*Please check this webpage regularly for updates, as further restrictions to access may apply.

Our current services

  • Contraception - This is limited. See Contraception FAQs below. 
  • Quick-check sexual health testing: See Sexual Health FAQs below
  • Treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs): See Sexual Health FAQs below

Sexual Health

It is important to protect yourself against STIs. Condoms protect against most STIs and pregnancy. See below for further information on condom use:

https://www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/sexual-health/improving-your-sexual-health/condoms/how-use-condom

Sexual Health FAQs

I want a sexual health screen – what do I do?

STI screening (home self-testing) is available via NHS and private services:

There are numerous private (non-NHS) sites offering STI screening. You can search and compare prices online.

I have been receiving follow-up care – what do I do?

All previously booked appointments have been cancelled. If you have been receiving ongoing care with us such as treatments/vaccinations; your medical records are being reviewed and those with urgent needs will be contacted by a clinician. Continue to check our website for updates on the service.

I think I have an STI – what do I do?

You can self-test by ordering a free home self-testing kit from: www.bhr.shl.uk If you have tested positive for an STI; we are still currently able to offer you treatment. Some STIs (e.g. genital warts) are not considered urgent. Your treatment will need to be postponed. Continue to check our website for updates on the service. We are only able to offer face-to-face appointments for those with the most urgent sexual health needs. This will involve an initial telephone consultation with one of our clinicians.

I think I have BV/Thrush/UTI – what do I do?

We are currently unable to see you for these symptoms. Many pharmacies offer over-the-counter treatments. Your GP may be able to issue you a prescription over the telephone. BV and Thrush can cause an unpleasant vaginal discharge.

Visit the link below for further information:

https://www.sexwise.fpa.org.uk/resource/thrush-and-bacterial-vaginosis-pdf

Urinary tract Infections often cause painful frequent urination and pelvic discomfort. Visit the link below for further information:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-tract-infections-utis/

Contraception

Long-acting Reversible Contraception - LARC

There are long-acting reversible contraception methods. These are:

  • intrauterine device (IUD)
  • intrauterine system (IUS)
  • contraceptive injection
  • implant.

For further information on LARC methods, visit: https://www.sexwise.org.uk/contraception/long-acting-reversible-contraception-larc

All routine procedure appointments for IUD/IUS/Implant insertions/removals/replacements previously booked between March 2020 and June 2020 were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Unfortunately, we are unable to automatically re-schedule these appointments. Affected patients should have received an SMS message regarding this. Contact us if you wish to arrange an appointment. Due to high demand; appointment availability is extremely limited. Vulnerable patients and/or those with urgent needs will be prioritised. You will be offered pills if there are no “LARC” appointments available.

It is important to protect yourself against an unintended pregnancy. Condoms are 98 per cent effective when used perfectly. Visit: 

All routine procedure appointments for IUD/IUS/Implant insertions/removals/replacements previously booked between March 2020 and June 2020 were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Unfortunately, we are unable to automatically re-schedule these appointments. Affected patients should have received an SMS message regarding this. Contact us if you wish to arrange an appointment. Due to high demand; appointment availability is extremely limited. Vulnerable patients and/or those with urgent needs will be prioritised. You will be offered pills if there are no “LARC” appointments available.

Short-acting contraception

Short-acting hormonal contraception includes pills, patches and the vaginal ring. Please contact us if you wish to start one of these methods or need repeat supplies.

Contraception appointments

You will be offered an initial telephone consultation followed by an appointment in clinic depending on your needs. For short-acting contraception; you will be offered a medication collection appointment. If you are unable get an appointment with us, you can access other NHS and private services.

NHS

  • You can request a prescription from your GP (this will likely be a telephone consultation).
  • You can register with Echo who will arrange for your medication from your GP to be sent to you by post. This is a free NHS service for repeat prescriptions.
  • GP at Hand: www.gpathand.nhs.uk/ 

This is a free NHS service but you will be de-registered from your current GP

Private: (Chargeable)

Contraception Procedures

This section is for patients awaiting a contraception procedure: IUD/IUS/Implant insertion/removal/replacement; or for those who have recently had a contraception procedure.

Intrauterine Contraception - IUC

We offer two types of IUC; the copper IUD (intrauterine device) or hormonal IUS (intrauterine system).

Please note this service is funded to provide care for women requiring contraception.

If you want an intrauterine system (for example, Mirena) for HRT/other gynaecological reasons alone; please contact your GP.

Pre-fitting information

Please read the following information and watch the video before your IUC fitting appointment.

It is important that you are suitably prepared prior to the fitting of your intrauterine device (IUD) or intrauterine system (IUS).

No method is 100 per cent effective. There is a small risk of failure (less than 1 in 100 chance of pregnancy; 1 in 2000 chance of this being an ectopic pregnancy). There is a small risk of pelvic infection (less than 1 in 100) in the first few weeks after insertion of the device There is a 1 in 20 chance of the device being expelled (falling out) and that this may go un-noticed There is a rare (1 in 1000) risk of perforation (hole) of the womb at the time of insertion of the device and if this happens, you may require an operation in hospital to remove the device. 

If breastfeeding: 

In the first 6 months of breastfeeding, the risk of perforation increases to 6 in 1000

If having the Copper IUD:

The copper IUD may make periods heavier, longer and/or more painful

If having the Hormone IUS:

The IUS may cause:

  • • irregular bleeding or spotting for 3-6 months; after which lighter, infrequent or no bleeding is common
  • • some general hormonal side effects, particularly in the first few months of use (e.g. headache, acne)

It is not safe to insert an IUD/IUS if there is a risk of pregnancy: 

Pregnancy risk assessment:

To undergo safe fitting, you must fulfil one of the following criteria: 

  • Using a hormonal method of contraception correctly for a minimum of 4 weeks
  • Have not had un-protected vaginal sex since the beginning of your last period
  • Have not had un-protected vaginal sex for at least 3 weeks
  • Using a non-expired IUD/IUS that needs replacing and have not had un-protected vaginal sex in the last 7 days

Visit the NHS website for more information on before a IUC fitting

IUS links:

https://www.sexwise.org.uk/contraception/ius-intrauterine-system

IUD links:

https://www.sexwise.org.uk/contraception/iud-intrauterine-device

IUC video

Information about intrauterine contraception from CNWL NHS Foundation Trust on Vimeo.

Post-fitting information

What you should expect after the fitting and when you should seek advice. 

Bleeding

You may experience some light vaginal bleeding after the fitting.  

If you have had a hormonal IUS fitted.
Irregular and unpredictable light vaginal bleeding is common within the first 3-6months. This usually settles to light monthly or infrequent bleeding or to no bleeding at all. This is because over time, the hormone in the IUS thins the lining of the womb. This is a normal side-effect of the IUS and is not a cause for concern. 

If you have had a copper IUD fitted.

The copper IUD may make periods heavier, longer and/or more painful. The 2-3 months after the fitting are usually the most affected. Occasionally the IUD may cause bleeding between your periods, but you should return for a check-up if this continues beyond 3 months. 

Pain

You may experience some lower abdominal (tummy) cramping for a few days after the fitting. The cramps are often worse if you have not had children. Taking regular pain relief can help to relieve these symptoms. 

Checking the threads 

We recommend that you check after each period (or monthly) for the presence of the threads at the neck of the womb (cervix). If you cannot feel the threads, or can feel the hard stem of the device, use alternative contraception or avoid sex and contact the clinic as soon as possible. Use of a menstrual cup may cause the device to become dislodged, which might increase the chance of failure. 

Having sex

If you had a copper IUD: it is effective as a contraceptive immediately. If you had a hormonal IUS: it becomes effective 7 days after fitting (or immediately; when fitted during the first 5 days of your period). If you have been using alternative contraception before the fitting, you may have been advised to continue with this, or use condoms, for the first 7 days.

You should seek further help if:

  • The pain does not settle within a week, or is getting worse
  • You experience heavy bleeding (more than a period)
  • You experience a continuous aching pain in your lower abdomen or a smelly discharge, or feel hot, shivery or unwell, particularly within the first 3 weeks of fitting. This may suggest an infection.
  • You get deep pain during sex.
  • You cannot feel the threads or think you can feel the stem of the device.

If you are having problems or think something is wrong you should contact our clinic. Alternatively, you may visit your GP, or your local A&E if you are very unwell/if it is an emergency.  

Please see this video for useful post-fitting information:

Implant

Pre-fitting information

Please read the following information and watch the video before your IUC fitting appointment.

“SDI Sexwise” link to leaflet

https://www.sexwise.org.uk/contraception/contraceptive-implant

Advice from Nexplanon website on device insertion

Watch the video Information about subdermal implants from CNWL NHS Foundation Trust on Vimeo.

Contraceptive Injection

We have very limited appointments for the contraceptive injection and are encouraging women to consider the equivalent self-injection called “Sayana Press”. Please visit the website below for further information on Sayana Press:

https://www.sayanaanswers.co.uk/home

Contraception FAQs

I need emergency contraception

We are currently offering a walk-in service for emergency contraception which includes the emergency pill and emergency IUD. You must access emergency contraception as soon as possible.

Please check this webpage regularly for updates, as further restrictions to access may apply in the near future.

You can also access emergency contraception (pill only) from most local pharmacies.

I want to know more about contraception

Please see:

www.sexwise.fpa.org.uk

www.contraceptionchoices.org

Download Advice for women seeking contraception, abortion and other sexual and reproductive healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic [pdf] 232KB

My five-year IUD (copper-coil) is expired – what do I do?

You should use condoms or you can contact us for a supply of the contraceptive pill. Continue to check our website for updates on the service. 

My ten-year IUD (copper-coil) is expired – what do I do?

If your device is less than two-years expired; the risk of becoming pregnant is very low. Condoms can be used as an extra precaution or you can contact us for a supply of the contraceptive pill. If your device is over two-years expired; you should use condoms/the pill as an extra precaution. Continue to check our website for updates on the service

My five-year IUS (Mirena) is expired - what do I do?

If your device is less than 1-year expired; the risk of becoming pregnant is very low. Condoms can be used as an extra precaution or you can contact us for a supply of the contraceptive pill. If your device is over 1-year expired; you should use condoms/the pill as an extra precaution.  Continue to check our website for updates on the service

My five-year IUS (Mirena) is expired and I am using it for HRT (menopause treatment) - what do I do?

An expired Mirena IUS will not protect your endometrium (womb lining) during HRT treatment. You should contact your GP to discuss either: Stopping the oestrogen component of your HRT or starting a combined (oestrogen & progesterone) regimen. We currently do not offer menopause care at our services.

My five-year Kyleena is expired what do I do?

You should use condoms/ or you can contact us for a supply of the contraceptive pill. Continue to check our website for updates on the service

My three-year Jaydess is expired what do I do?

You should use condoms/ or you can contact us for a supply of the contraceptive pill.Continue to check our website for updates on the service

My three-year Nexplanon implant is expired – what do I do?

If your implant is less than 1-year expired; the risk of becoming pregnant is very low. Condoms can be used as an extra precaution or you can contact us for a supply of the contraceptive pill. If your implant is over 1-year expired; you should use condoms/the pill as an extra precaution.  Continue to check our website for updates on the service

I am due for my repeat Depo-Injection – What do I do?

We are not offering depo-injections. You can contact us for a supply of the contraceptive pill or use condoms If you are using the Sayana press injection see below (I am running out of my regular contraception (pills/patch/ring/Sayana press injection)- What do I do?)

Continue to check our website for updates on the service

I am running out of my regular contraception (pills/patch/ring/Sayana press injection) - What do I do?

Please contact us to book a telephone consultation and same-day collection appointment. Continue to check our website for updates on the service.

I would like my IUD/IUS/Implant removed so that I can plan for a baby

Planning a pregnancy during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is discouraged. It is safest to continue using contraception and delay conceiving until the pandemic is over. In the meantime; please visit below for pre-conception advice.

www.sexwise.fpa.org.uk/planning-pregnancy

Download FSRH CEU: information to support management of individuals requesting to discontinue contraception to plan a pregnancy during the Covid-19 [pdf] 149KB

I am worried about side effects from my contraception

See www.sexwise.fpa.org.uk/ for information on contraception and common side effects. Most side effects are mild and self-limiting. If you have serious concerns; contact us to arrange a telephone consultation with a clinician.

Video Consultations

Visit https://nhs.vc/sexual-health-service to begin your video consultation. 

Things to remember

  • Please read the patient information leaflet which provides details of how you conduct your appointment by video call.
  • Please ensure that you log in 5 minutes earlier than your appointment slot to ensure that all equipment is working adequately. Please ensure you are in a quiet place free from distractions and where you are unlikely to be disturbed. The use of headphones is recommended.
  • You will be asked to provide verbal consent to the video call appointment at the start of the consultation.
  • Where technical difficulties arise; your consultation may need to continue as a telephone consultation/or be re-scheduled.
  • If you feel that you would not like to have an appointment by video or wish to re-schedule your appointment please contact us on 020 8924 6674. Please ensure you notify us as soon as possible before the appointment in order for any changes to be made to our booking system.
  • Our lines are open Mon to Fri 8am-4pm.

Additional Information

It is important that you understand your rights concerning the video consultation which are stated below:

  • The NHS privacy and confidentiality policies and procedures relating to your medical information also apply to video consultations. However; it is your responsibility to ensure that adequate anti-spyware/ antivirus protection exists on your hardware. The consultation will only be as secure as any other calls you make on your mobile network
  • The video consultation will not be recorded by sexual health staff
  • The clinician (doctor/nurse) or therapist will not allow any other individual who is not directly involved in your care to listen to the video consultation unless you have consented otherwise
  • Our staff will keep your personal information confidential, except where there are very serious concerns around your safety or the safety of others

We look forward to seeing you at your video consultation appointment.

Domestic Abuse Services available during the COVID-19 epidemic, including limitations

If you or someone you know are suffering from Domestic Abuse, sometimes it can be difficult to seek help. If you or your family are in immediate danger, don’t be afraid to call the police on 999

Here are the local DV services and some national services are operating during the Covid-19 epidemic. These will be in effect until further notice following the Government guidelines.

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Domestic and Sexual Violence Service - Refuge.

The service is running via phone, email, webchat and online applications.

DV FLAG East

Free independent confidential advice on legal options to anyone experiencing domestic abuse in Barking and Dagenham plus surrounding areas.

London Borough of Havering

Havering Women's Aid

Currently Havering Women's Aid are working remotely. Assessments will be completed over the telephone and the floating support service is continuing in this way. Counselling and support group sessions have all been suspended until further notice.

MENDAS

Currently MENDAS are working remotely. Assessments are completed over the telephone and the floating support service is continuing in this way. Counselling is currently suspended until further notice.

IDVA/ISVA

Currently two IDVAs work remotely. There will be no face-to-face support offered to victims during this time. IDVA's will continue to offer all practical support over the telephone.

  • Telephone: 01708 .434009 / 01708 .432879 (for staff to make enquires only).

London Borough of Redbridge

Reach Out

Reach Out is a supportive service for adults who are experiencing abuse. They provide emotional help and support plus pratical advice on housing, finance and benefits.

Reach Out for Perpetrators

Is your behaviour harming a loved one? Call reach out for help and advice to help you stop yourself from harming or abusing someone in your home.

London Services

Ashiana Network

Specialist counselling and support for women who have experienced violence and abuse. Ashiana staff are working remotely. Support will be offered over the telephone, online and where safe to do so through Skype. Counselling will be offered over the telephone.

Email: info@ashiana.org.uk
Web: www.ashiana.org.uk

London Survivors Gateway

Offers survivors of rape and sexual abuse help to access specialist services in London. Works with anyone aged 13 or above regardless of sexuality, disability, language, ethnicity, or immigration status. Open 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday.

Telephone: 0808 801 0860
Professional Referral: www.dpmscloud.com/external/referralformorgwgn

East London Rape Crisis

Specialist help to women and girls over the age of 14 who have experienced rape, sexual abuse or violence. Support workers are working remotely. Advice, support or counselling are over the telephone.

Telphone: 020 7683 1210
Helpline: 0800 160 1036
Email: info@niaendingviolence.org.uk

Galop

LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse and violence can contact GALOP who provide confidential advice and support to the members of the LGBT+ community. The London Helpline is currently closed - alternative details given for contact.

London Helpline: 020 7704 2040 (temporarily closed)
National LGBT + helpline:0800 999 5428
Web: www.galop,org.uk (still able to make referrals by way of web)

Deaf Hope

SignHealth works to improve the health and wellbeing of people who are deaf. DeafHope is their specialist domestic abuse service for people who are deaf.

Text: 07970 350366
Email: deafhope@signhealth.org.uk

National Services

National Domestic Abuse Helpline

The helpline is open 24/7 and is run by highly trained, female advisers. Many different languages are available. They can work with callers to increase safety, access refuge accommodation and other specialist services.

Telephone: 0808 2000 247
Website: www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk

Call back and email available from the website.

Respect Phoneline

The phoneline is staffed by non-judgemental advisors who can give honest advice to people using abusive
behaviours. Webchat available from the website 10:00-11:00 and 3pm-4pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Telephone: 0808 8024040
Email: info@respectphoneline.org.uk 
Webchat: https://respectphoneline.org.uk

Men's Advice Line

Non-judgmental emotional support, practical advice and information for men experiencing domestic abuse.

  • Monday: 9am-8pm
  • Tuesday: 9am-5pm
  • Wednesday: 9am-8pm
  • Thursday: 9am-5pm
  • Friday: 9am-5pm

Webchat available from the website 10am-11am and 3pm-4pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
 
Telephone: 0808 8010327
Email: info@mensadviceline.org.uk
Web: https://mensadviceIine.org.uk

Healthcare Professionals

This section of our webpage is for health and social care professionals/stakeholders only. 

Our service is an integrated sexual health, HIV and contraception service providing specialist (level 3) sexual health and contraception care to residents of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge; as well as those living in other London boroughs. 

Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in significant changes to our service delivery model. All services are currently appointment-only and are based at Barking community hospital. This usually comprises of an initial telephone consultation. This may be followed by a video consultation or a booked face-to-face appointment. We provide an urgent walk-in service. Currently; this is only for under 18's, emergency contraception, post-exposure prophylaxis following sexual exposure (PEPSE) and sexual assault.

We are continuing to develop and adapt our service delivery model in line with our trust guidance. Please continue to check our webpage for updates. 

Sexual Health

Lead Consultant and Service clinical lead: Dr Sharmin Obeyesekera​

Lead Nurse: Sally Kelsey

We provide level 3 GUM services at our main hub site: Barking Community Hospital. This includes specialist clinics for complex symptoms such as recurrent thrush/BV, recurrent herpes, skin dermatoses etc. Please note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic; we are not currently accepting new referrals into our specialist clinics. 

For non-urgent clinical queries/advice please e-mail: barking.administrators@nhs.net. Please do not include patient identifiable information in your e-mail. 

HIV

Lead Consultant: Dr Athavan Umaipalan

Lead Nurse: Brian Thornton 

HIV services are based at Barking Community Hospital. 

For in-hours clinical queries/advice call Dr Athavan Umaipalan on 07947 735 056

For non-urgent clinical queries/advice please e-mail: barking.administrators@nhs.net

Please do not include patient identifiable information in your e-mail. 

Contraception

Lead Consultant: Dr Jenine Bignall 

Lead Nurse: Sally Kelsey

We provide level 3 contraception services at our main hub site: Barking Community Hospital. This includes specialist clinics for complex contraception problems such as deep implants, missing IUD/IUS threads, concerns regarding medical eligibility for specific contraception etc.  Please note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic; we are not currently accepting new referrals into our specialist clinics. 

For in-hours clinical queries/advice call Dr Jenine Bignall on 07958745319 (Mon-Thurs)

For non-urgent clinical queries/advice please e-mail: barking.administrators@nhs.net

Please do not include patient identifiable information in your e-mail. 

Vulnerable patients/Safeguarding 

Lead Consultant: TBC

Lead Health Advisor: Matthew Chou

Safeguarding Lead Advisor: Sue Finnis

Our team of clinicians and health advisors support with the holistic care of vulnerable patients with sexual health and contraception needs. 

Vulnerable patients include: 

  • Young people (Under 18's) 
  • Domestic abuse victims
  • Sex workers
  • Learning disabilities
  • Children/Adults in care

For non-urgent clinical queries/advice please e-mail: barking.administrators@nhs.net. Please do not include patient identifiable information in your e-mail. 

Training/Work-experience

General training lead consultant: Dr Cecelia Theodore

Contraception training lead consultant/FSRH Faculty registered trainer: Dr Jenine Bignall 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we are currently unable to offer training/work-experience within our service.  Please continue to check our webpage for updates. 

Contact us

If you would like to book an appointment, or if you have any questions about our service, call us on 0208 970 5724 .