Saturday 15 May 2010

Family Planning Services : NHS Tayside responds

I recently received this concern from a West End resident :

"A concern I have is that the family planning clinic at Ryehill Health Centre has now moved to ninewells. It was very convinient for local residents to have a clinic nearby. It was also needed as now the only family planning clinic for Dundee is at Ninewells."

I therefore wrote to NHS Tayside about this and have received the following reply from Sandy Watson, NHS Tayside Chair :

"Dear Cllr Macpherson

I refer to your email addressed to both myself and Tony Wells regarding the concerns of one of your constituents around the changes to Family Planning Services in Dundee.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Services (SRHS) is a unified service hosted within Dundee Community Health Partnership (CHP). Until recently there were two sites in Dundee, Ryehill Health Centre which focused mainly on reproductive health and contraceptive advice (family planning) and the Ninewells clinic which focused on specialist sexual health screening (genitourinary medicine). The new integrated model based in Ninewells Hospital combines both family planning and genitourinary medicine.

The move to integrate the two parts of the service is in line with both local NHS Tayside and national Scottish Government policy and is planned for all Health Boards in Scotland. During 2005 NHS Tayside and the community planning partners developed the Tayside Sexual Health and Relationships Strategy, which was endorsed by the Board of NHS Tayside in November 2005. One of the strategic aims contained in the action plan was “to build capacity across the clinical services and increase access to specialist sexual health services.”

The first phase of this integrated service model has brought together genitourinary medicine and family planning onto one site at Ninewells to provide “a one stop shop” for patients and to make best use of resources. The ability to have these services on one site has undoubtedly improved the patient journey. The clinical team are able to provide enhanced services, work out of hours and expand the range of services available to patients at their clinic visit.

The service is currently based in an out-patient clinical area on Level 7 at Ninewells Hospital. The Ninewells site was chosen as the base for Dundee as an interim measure as this site has the clinical accommodation and support services required (eg laboratory services) to offer patients all aspects of a specialist sexual and reproductive health service.

The ultimate aim is to move the unified SRHS to a more central community based site, and to offer a specialist service with strong links into Dundee’s localities utilising a hub and spoke model. This model is supported by the staff in SRHS and our colleagues in primary and secondary care, the voluntary sector and local authority.

This new service offers a full range of care and specialist interventions which include Contraception, Psychosexual Counselling, Menopause Clinics, Nurse Led Counselling Services, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) screening, Health Advisory Services, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Clinics and Specialist Genital Skin Clinics. A specialised young people’s service is offered in conjunction with colleagues from child protection and there are plans to develop generic young people’s services.

As a service we are trying to target the vulnerable and hard to reach groups and tackle some of Tayside’s unenviable sexual health statistics. The Ninewells site has already attracted more young people and is accessible through many of the main bus routes throughout the city.

I hope this has given an insight into some of the decisions taken to improve the patient journey and the resultant changes to service delivery in Dundee and how as a specialist service we plan to move forward.

Yours sincerely

Sandy Watson
Chair, NHS Tayside"

I would welcome residents' comments/feedback on this matter - either e-mail me at or call Dundee 459378 - many thanks.