A NEW streamlined system to save the embarrassment of people using sexual health clinics in South Tyneside has won a national award.
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust staff were joint winners of the Clinical Team of the Year accolade in The General Practice Awards’s sexual health category.
The team piloted a system earlier this year in Gateshead to reduce the number of clinicians each patient has to see.
Healthcare assistants were specially trained to carry out the triage in relation to contraception, pregnancy and sexual health infections.
Using their experience and knowledge, they were then able to pass the patient on to the clinician with the appropriate skills.
After the successful pilot, the triage system has now also been introduced in the Trust’s sexual health clinics in South Tyneside.
The award, which recognised the work going on in primary healthcare to improve care was presented at a ceremony at the London Hilton Hotel in Park Lane.
Derek Curry, the Trust’s clinical business manager for women, children and families, said: “As a result of the new system, the patient pathway is smoother and quicker because we have reduced the number of staff the patient sees.
“This new approach avoids duplication of history-taking and examinations, which reduces clinical risk and improves the patient experience as it avoids the embarrassment of having to repeat their history.
“When it was evaluated, the vast majority of patients said they preferred the new approach as it maintained confidentiality, especially at the reception desk, and led, in many cases, to care being provided by one clinician.“