New sexual health clinic launches in Ulster University

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust this week launched the first ever sexual health clinics based on Ulster University’s Coleraine and Jordanstown campuses.

In partnership with the University, and funded by the Public Health Agency, the clinics will provide free sexual health services; including contraception, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) testing and treatments and family planning advice.

With rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Northern Ireland on the increase and high unplanned pregnancy rates, the clinics will be an essential provision to help improve the sexual health knowledge of our young people.  Feedback has indicated that many students do not access sexual health services through the more traditional routes, so the Trust has established this innovative service, with the help of the university, to provide easily accessible sexual health care and advice.

The service is led by a specialist doctor and senior sexual health nurses from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. It will run on both Coleraine and Jordanstown campuses in confidential facilities which will be open to all University students.

Claire Galloway, Clinical Lead Nurse for Sexual Health Services in the Northern Trust, commented: “We are delighted to launch this service as part of our vision to deliver excellent integrated services in partnership with our community.  It follows a successful model within the Northern Regional College and means young people can access services easily and, if required, they can be fast tracked into other mainstream services.  We would hope that this partnership model can be expanded to a ‘Healthy Universities’ approach with other areas of health improvement offered in the longer term.  We thank Ulster University for their help and support in getting this established and look forward to supporting the health needs of students in both Coleraine and Jordanstown.”

Jean McMinn, Head of Student Support at Ulster University says the clinic will provide a confidential space for young people to have their questions answered and alleviate their worries.

“Ulster University is delighted to be the first university in Northern Ireland to launch a sexual health clinic for students, which sees a partnership between the education and health sectors. Many young people who are considering having sex for the first time, or who are concerned about STIs, feel unable to talk about these issues with friends or family so it is crucial that they know they can seek advice from qualified professionals. These issues are often ignored due to their sensitive nature but the clinic provides a safe and confidential place for students to discuss them.”

To raise awareness and to help promote the new service, a clinic-naming competition was held amongst Ulster students.  The winning entry ‘SAFE @ The Clinic - Sexual Advice For Everyone’ was submitted by 3rd year student Jamie Shields.

Students will also be encouraged to avail of additional support offered by Student Support, including emotional support through the Student Health and Wellbeing Advisory Service or Carecall counselling if appropriate.  Student Support can also provide disability advice and guidance through AccessAbility as well as information regarding budgeting, money management and the Student Support Fund.

Michael Owen, Health & Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager at the PHA said: “Sexual health and wellbeing is important and looking after your sexual health can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.  We are delighted with the development of funding the new clinic which will increase the knowledge of young people by raising awareness of STIs and promoting good sexual health. We would encourage anyone who has concerns about their sexual health or who would like more information to avail of the new service.”

The Coleraine clinic will be open in Block J every Monday from 9:30am to 3:00pm and the Jordanstown clinic will be open every Tuesday from 9:30am to 3:00pm.

The service is provided on a confidential basis by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, external to Ulster University.  Student visits or personal information is held confidentially and not routinely disclosed to GPs.

Anyone with any queries can contact the Clinic on 028 9448 1713 or email sexualhealth@northerntrust.hscni.net.  

 

Page last updated:08 September 2016