Agenda item

The Procurement of an Integrated Sexual Health Service for 2018-2023


Andrea Clement presented the report on the proposal to proceed to tender to procure a fully Integrated Sexual Health Service that was due to start from the 1 April 2018. Currently in Thurrock the majority of sexual health services were commissioned from the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) with some small contractors with general practitioners and pharmacies. This contract was due to expire on the 31 March 2018 and this provided an opportunity to identify further savings could be made through competitive procurement.


Councillor Pothecary stated she would have liked to have seen the Equality Impact Assessment undertaken based on the services that were under tender. Those sub-contractors may be hard to hold to account and how this will be monitored. Andrea Clement stated that only a very small number of sub-contractors were commissioned mainly around the on-line chlamydia screening and HIV testing. This would be developed as part of the specification as a feedback mechanism and patient engagement.


Roger Harris stated that some sub-contractors would be general practitioners and pharmacists which is currently the normal practice.


Councillor Collins questioned the number of cases of sexual transmitted diseases and had the numbers in chlamydia screening decreased over time. Andrea stated that the chlamydia screening levels were lower than the UK average and less than in 2014. With mixed results there were still lots more work to do. Figures on the number of AIDS referral were not to hand but would find out and report back to Members.


Ian Evans questioned Officers on the consultation timescales and whether any consultations had been undertaken with stakeholders. Would any section of the tender support people with learning disabilities in attending sexual health checks and accessing surgeries. Ian Evans also questioned if the Council Social Value Framework would be used and what weighting would be given to the social value in the tender.


Andrea Clement stated that a survey had been undertaken on what sexual health services people wanted and to identify any current gaps. Unfortunately this was delayed due to Purdah but now other methods of receiving this feedback would be looked into and would be engaging with the voluntary services going forward.


Andrea Clement stated that a social value key performance indicator would be incorporated into the specification and would feedback to Members at a later date.


Councillor Sheridan asked whether a process was in place to detect any signs of Female Genital Mutilation. Tim Elwell-Sutton stated that there was a national protocol and the National Health Service duty to report any signs of Female Genital Mutilation.


Kim James stated that HealthWatch had received a large number of complaints particularly with regard to the long waiting time for some services with over a four month wait for a service. Only a few general practitioners offered this service and if it wasn’t your GP this was dependent on patients bringing a prescription. With there being no key performance indicators it was impossible to hold North East London Foundation Trust to account and that a monitoring tool should be added to the specification.


Andrea Clement stated that the Council were aware of long waiting times and that changes to the specification would be made to tackle this problem by introducing a key performance indicator on waiting times and possibly incorporate a penalty fine.


Councillor Gerrish echoed the comments on key performance indicator monitoring and to ensure that adequate sanctions were put in place. Councillor Gerrish asked how the Genito-Urinary Medicine service would be delivered in the future. Andrea Clement stated that there were plans to locate some of the sexual health services into the Integrated Medical Centres but it would be likely that Level 3 services may have to be located in one central clinic.


Councillor Snell registered his concerns over the waiting list times but noted that this was now being addressed.




That the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee commented on the plan to proceed to tender as set out in this report for the delivery of Integrated Sexual Health Services starting on the 1 April 2018 prior to submission to Cabinet.

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