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New technology boosts revamped sexual health services

26 June 2006

State-of-the-art technology is improving treatment for HIV and sexual health patients at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

State-of-the-art technology is improving treatment for HIV and sexual health patients at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

The John Hunter Clinic for Sexual Health will be officially re-opened this Thursday (29 June) – improvements in its design mean that an extra 30% more patients can be treated there since it re-opened in March.

Patients now have access to a new waiting area, triage room, double the number of examination rooms and an upgraded laboratory to speed up test results.

This new look clinic, which was revamped as part of a £900,000 redevelopment of the St Stephen’s Centre, is supported by technology to help the Trust keep pace with rapidly increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Latest Health Protection Agency statistics published in November 2005 show:

  • More than 58,000 people are now living with HIV in the UK
  • A 9% year on year increase in the number of chlamydia cases diagnosed – 104,155 new cases were reported in 2004
  • A 37% year on year increase in the number of syphilis cases diagnosed – 2,254 cases were reported in 2004

Dr Ann Sullivan, Lead Clinician at the John Hunter Clinic, said: “The refurbishment of the clinic means we now have a state-of-the-art environment for patients but we also needed to change the way we provide services to treat more patients and make it easier for people to access our clinics.

“That is why the clinic was redesigned and why we are utilising modern technology to help us provide better care.

“The recent increase in STI rates shows no sign of slowing down and there is also now a government target that by 2008 all patients must be able to access NHS sexual health services within 48 hours.”

Heather Lawrence, Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust added: “Improving the nation’s sexual health is now a national priority. This redevelopment and our innovative use of new technology will help us to meet these targets and improve sexual health services for our patients.”

3 examples of new technology include:

  • A new call centre has been set up so there is now one phone number – 0845 8116699 - for patients who want to book appointments at any of the Trust’s sexual health clinics including the John Hunter Clinic at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, the West London Centre for Sexual Health at Charing Cross Hospital and the Victoria Clinic in Vincent Square, SW1 as well as HIV clinics at all three locations
  • Mobile phone texting of test results for sexually transmitted infections speeds up treatment, saves hours of staff time and safeguards patient confidentiality – research published by Dr Ann Sullivan and colleagues in February showed that chlamydia patients received test results by text message at least three days faster than usual
  • Internet technology is being developed so that patients who think they may need treatment in a sexual health clinic can ‘triage’ themselves online 24 hours a day – patients will be able to find out where they should seek treatment and even book appointments via email

Notes to Editors:

For more information and interviews, please contact Matt Akid, Head of Communications at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, on 020 3315 6828 or Sarah McKellar at Nexus PR on 020 7808 9899.

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