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

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  

You will be offered a face mask to wear 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 venues

Our services currently run from Barking Community Hospital and Loxford Polyclinic only

Our sexual health services at Queen's Hospital, Loxford and Hainault clinics are closed. 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

The following patients can walk-in without an appointment:

  • Are under 18 years of age
  • Have been sexually assaulted
  • Have had sexual exposure to HIV within the last three days
  • Are in need of emergency contraception
  • are pregnant

during these times:

  • Monday 9am – 4pm
  • Tuesday 11am – 4pm  
  • Wednesday 1pm - 4pm
  • Thursday 9am – 4pm
  • Friday 9am – 4pm

For all other enquiries or to make an appointment, call 020 8970 5724. Please inform us if you have a learning difficulty or speak little English.

Our current services

  • Sexual health care - See Sexual Health FAQs below
  • HIV care – See HIV FAQs below
  • Contraception See Contraception FAQs below

Sexual Health

It is important to protect yourself against STIs. Condoms protect against most STIs and pregnancy. Visit the tht website for further information on condom use:

Sexual Health FAQs

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

Free 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 think I have BV/Thrush/Urinary tract infection – what do I do?

Many pharmacies offer over-the-counter treatments. Your GP may be able to issue you a prescription over the telephone. If you are concerned, or your symptoms do not resolve with over-the-counter treatments/GP treatments then please contact us to make an appointment.

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/

 

HIV FAQs

I have been diagnosed with HIV and would like to transfer my care

You can refer yourself to us for your treatment and care. Please contact the Appointment Line on 020 8970 5724 and ask to speak to the Health Adviser for HIV.

You can also be referred to us by other professionals, such as your GP or social worker who should refer you via the above email address.

We provide treatment and a range of support services, including counselling and advice. We work closely with Positive East, for more information about their services please see

https://www.positiveeast.org.uk/

I need more HIV medication

Please contact Pharmacy on 01708 435 000, extension 4355. Please allow at least three days for us to prepare a prescription for you. If you are on Home Delivery, we will need ten working days’ notice in order for your medication to be delivered before you run out.

Please do not attend Pharmacy without making an appointment. Antiretroviral medication cannot be dispensed without prior notice.  

If you need advice about side effects when this clinic is closed, please contact Barts and The London on 020 7377 7000 and ask for bleep 0121 or to speak to a senior nurse.

 If you are on Home Care and have any problems with the delivery of your medication, please telephone Fairview on 020 3393 2242.

I feel Unwell, what do I do?

If you are unwell/taken sick your first telephone should be to your GP. If the GP surgery is closed, telephone NHS 111. If you are advised to go to an Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) and you cannot get yourself to hospital, telephone 999 for an ambulance which will take you to the nearest A&E department. It is important to tell the Paramedics your HIV status.

You must take your medication with you, including your HIV treatment. This is so that you will not be given anything that is harmful to your treatment and so that you do not miss taking your medication if you are admitted. Whatever reason you are admitted for, your health will not improve if you miss taking your antiretroviral medication.

British HIV Association information regarding COVID19 and isolation:  https://www.bhiva.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19

I am going to travel overseas, what do I need to consider?

Before arranging travel abroad, please consider if you are well enough to travel and does your HIV consultant agree you are fit to travel?  Will travel fit around your appointments? 

For example, if you have just started taking medication you will be seen regularly in clinic and you may not be able to manage any side effects while you are away. 

Ensure your appointments fall before and after you travel or re-arrange your appointments, including blood tests, around your travel dates. Let your HIV consultant know your travel plans in advance so adequate medication can be provided for you.  

Make sure you have enough medication to cover your trip, plus a little extra in case you are delayed. Arrange for a further supply of medication if necessary. This may mean contacting Pharmacy before you go away.

When you return to the UK you will need to isolate according to UK government guidance. Please take this into account when arranging follow up appointments. If you have been told to isolate you cannot attend this clinic.

I need more information on COVID-19 and HIV. 

For information regarding COVID-19 and HIV please see:

https://www.bhiva.org/important-covid-risk-and-vaccine-updates

Visit the NHS website to book your COVID-19 vaccination.

I need a clinic letter

The clinic needs at least two weeks’ notice to provide letters or other written information. Letters can be requested from the medical secretaries on 01708 435 000, extension 4336.

What is PrEP – Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis?

PrEP is medicine people at risk of HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injecting drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV.

For more information, please see: https://www.tht.org.uk/hiv-and-sexual-health/prep-pre-exposure-prophylaxis

If you would like to talk to someone about PrEP, please telephone 0208 970 5724 and ask to speak to the Health Adviser.

Useful contact details

Appointment line: 020 8970 5724

Pharmacy: 01708 435 000 extension 4355

Referrals:   

Email: barking.administrators@nhs.net

Contraception

Contraception appointments

 

Due to high demand; appointment availability is limited. If you are a vulnerable patient and/or have urgent needs, you will be prioritised. You will be offered contraceptive pills or an alternative short-acting method of contraception if there are no appointments available for the IUD/IUS or implant.

You may 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 to 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)

It is important to protect yourself against an unintended pregnancy.

Please see below for information on your options.

Condoms are 98 per cent effective when used perfectly. Visit: 

 

For an overview of all contraceptive options; visit

https://www.contraceptionchoices.org/

https://www.sexwise.org.uk/contraception/which-method-contraception-right-me

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.

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

Contraceptive Injection

We are encouraging women to consider the self-injection telephoneed “Sayana Press”. This method allows you to have full control over your injections and administer them yourself at home.

Please visit the website below for further information on Sayana Press:

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

This may not be a suitable option for all women and we will assess your suitability. We still offer in-clinic Depo-Provera injections for women that cannot use Sayana Press or decline.

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). These devices are commonly known as “coils”.

Our service is funded to provide care for women requiring contraception.

If you do not require contraception and 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; one in 2,000 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 one in 20 chance of the device being expelled (falling out) and that this may go un-noticed. There is a rare (one 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 six 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 3-6 months. 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. 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. Although generally, use of a menstrual cup is fine; in some cases, it 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 implant fitting appointment.

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

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

Contraception FAQs

I need emergency contraception

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

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

I want to know more about contraception

Please see:

My IUD (copper-coil)/IUS (hormone-coil) / Implant is expired – what do I do?

Once your device has expired; continued contraceptive cover cannot be guaranteed. Contact us to book an appointment for your device to be replaced. In the meantime, you should use alternative contraception such as condoms or the contraceptive pill.

Due to high demand; appointment availability is limited. Vulnerable patients and/or those with urgent needs will be prioritised. You can request contraceptive pills or an alternative short-acting method of contraception if there are no appointments available.

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

We are encouraging women to consider the equivalent self-injection telephoneed “Sayana Press”. This method allows you to have full control over your injections and administer them yourself at home.

Please visit the website below for further information on Sayana Press:

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

This may not be a suitable option for all women and we will assess your suitability. We still offer in-clinic Depo-Provera injections for women that cannot use Sayana Press or decline.

If you are already 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?)

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 medication collection appointment.

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

Please visit below for pre-conception advice.

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

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

I am worried about side effects from my contraception

See www.sexwise.fpa.org.uk/ for information on contraception and common side effects. If you have 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 telephone.
  • 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 telephone 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 0208 970 5724. 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 Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm.

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 and Loxford Polyclinic. This may comprise 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.

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.

HIV

Lead Consultant: Dr Avan Umaipalan

Lead Nurse: Brian Thornton 

HIV services are based at Barking Community Hospital. 

Contraception

Lead Nurse: Sally Kelsey

We provide level 3 contraception services at our main hub site: Barking Community Hospital.

Vulnerable patients/Safeguarding 

Lead Consultant: Dr Cecelia Theodore

Lead Health Advisor: Tommy Barry

Safeguarding Lead Advisor: Sallyann Boxer

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-18s) 
  • Domestic abuse victims
  • Sex workers
  • Learning disabilities
  • Children/Adults in care

Training / Work-experience

General training lead consultant: Dr Cecelia Theodore.

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 .

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