Sexual health clinics doubled in North West

The number of sexual health clinics available in the North West has been doubled thanks to funding from the European Union's INTERRREG IVA programme.

They include a new sexual health clinic at the University of Ulster Magee campus on Wednesday afternoons for students.

Funding for the clinics, run by the Western Trust was secured by Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT), the cross border health services partnership.

Four additional sexual health clinics have been added to the weekly schedule of clinics available at Altnagelvin Hospital.

This means that anybody concerned about their sexual health now have greater access to services in the Western Trust area.

Sexual health clinic sessions are available five days a week: Monday evening, Tuesday morning and evening, Wednesday morning, Thursday morning and afternoon and Friday morning.

Times of the clinics and information on how to access both 'appointment only' and 'walk-in' clinics are on the Western Trust website: www.westerntrust.hscni.net.

For appointments the telephone number to contact is 028 71611269 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

The numbers and rates of STIs in Ireland have been increasing since the mid-1990s.

According to the Public Health Agency during 2008 there were 7,452 new STI diagnoses were made compared with 6,897 in 2007.

Welcoming the service, Western Trust Acting Assistant Director for Health Care, Anne Marie McGurk said: "We are delighted that this EU investment has enabled to the Trust to develop more clinics to provide better access to sexual health services in the west.

"Anyone concerned about their sexual health will now have greater access to GUM services locally.

"This is a significant step towards creating an Integrated Sexual Health Service which is fully accessible for people within their local communities and educating about the importance of keeping good sexual health."

Improve access

Commenting on the new services, CAWT's Chief Officer, Bernie McCrory said: "CAWT's role is to improve access and to facilitate greater integration between both health services in the border area.

"The expansion of sexual health services in the border region is one of 12 cross border services which the CAWT partner organisations are taking forward between now and 2013.

"This is a significant investment in sexual services and will improve the health and well-being of people living in the Western Trust area."

Pictured launching the new Sexual Health Clinics at Altnagelvin Hospital are: Dr Rory Canavan, Speciality Doctor GUM; Professor Wallace Dinsmore, Consultant GUM; Ann Stewart, GUM Sister; Kathy Jackson, Lead Nurse, Public Health; Marian Martin, CAWT Project Manager; Brigid McGinty, CAWT Programme Manager; and Alan Convery, GUM Charge Nurse. (1212eh11)