Tools and resources for commissioners of HIV, sexual and reproductive health services to help plan and commission regional and local services.
Sexual and reproductive health is not just about preventing disease or infection. It also means promoting good sexual health in a wider context, including relationships, sexuality and sexual rights.
Sexual health services are commissioned at a local level to meet the needs of the local population, including provision of information, advice and support on a range of issues, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), contraception, relationships and unplanned pregnancy.
Local authorities commission comprehensive open access sexual health services (including free STI testing and treatment, notification of sexual partners of infected persons and free provision of contraception). Some specialised services are directly commissioned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), and at the national level by NHS England.
Local authorities commission:
- comprehensive sexual health services including most contraceptive services and all prescribing costs, but excluding GP additionally-provided contraception
- sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing and treatment, chlamydia screening and HIV testing
- specialist services, including young people’s sexual health, teenage pregnancy services, outreach, HIV prevention, sexual health promotion, services in schools, college and pharmacies
- most abortion services
- non-sexual-health elements of psychosexual health services
- gynaecology including any use of contraception for non-contraceptive purposes
NHS England commissions:
- contraception provided as an additional service under the GP contract
- HIV treatment and care (including drug costs for PEPSE)
- promotion of opportunistic testing and treatment for STIs and patient-requested testing by GPs
- sexual health elements of prison health services
- sexual assault referral centres
- cervical screening
- specialist fetal medicine services
Across England there is considerable regional variation in how sexual health services are provided and commissioned. They vary from distinctly separate general practice and community-based contraceptive provision with hospital-based abortion and genito-urinary medicine (GUM) services, to fully integrated sexual health services in the community. The variations occur because of differences in commissioning and contractual models used in local areas.
This section brings together existing resources that commissioners can use to support the commissioning process. It is primarily aimed at people working in local authorities who are either new to sexual health or new to commissioning, or to both. It should also be useful to those who have been working in the field for some time – as a reminder of a familiar issue, a prompt about something new or a useful reference point for key important documents.
The document should be used as a reference that can be dipped into at all stages of the commissioning cycle.
A framework for sexual health Improvement in England Department of Health 2013
Commissioning sexual health services and interventions: best practice guidance for local authorities Department of Health 2013
NHS five year forward view NHS England 2014
Making it Work – a guide to whole system commissioning for sexual health, reproductive health and HIV Public Health England 2015
HIV, sexual and reproductive health: current issues bulletin 3 – commissioning HIV services Public Health England 2014
Sexual health, reproductive health and HIV: Commissioning review Public Health England 2017
Prescribed places of detention: health needs assessment toolkit Public Health England 2014
Data and evidence
Sexual and reproductive health: spend of outcome tool Public Health England 2018
Health economics evidence resource Public Health England 2017
Chlamydia screening: evidence summary and briefing Public Health England 2014
Addressing late HIV diagnosis through screening and testing: evidence summary and briefing Public Health England 2014
Promoting the health and wellbeing of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men Public Health England 2014
Local health and care planning: menu of preventative interventions Public Health England 2016
Sexual health: clinical governance Department of Health 2013
Teenage pregnancy prevention framework Public Health England 2018
Teenage mothers and young fathers: support framework Public Health England 2016
National chlamydia screening programme Public Health England 2017
C-card condom distribution schemes Brook/Public Health England 2014
Sexual health commissioning in local government Local Government Association 2015
HIV, sexual and reproductive health: current issues bulletin 4 - tendering sexual health services Public Health England 2014
Integrated sexual health services: national service specification Department of Health 2013
Framework of principles on cross charging arrangements for sexual health services Department of Health 2013
Standards for Management of STIs BASHH 2014
STI outreach standards BASHH 2016
Standards of care for people living with HIV British HIV Association 2013
National chlamydia screening programme standards (7th Edition) Public Health England 2014
You’re welcome: quality criteria for young people friendly health Services Department of Health 2011
NICE guidelines and resources
Further resources for commissioners
Various organisations provide additional information and guidance to inform the commissioning of sexual health services. These include statutory organisations, educational bodies and the voluntary sector:
- National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides evidence-based practice, pathways and guidelines for sexual health
- British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) champions good sexual health and provides training and workshops and information on governance and guidelines.
- British HIV Association (BHIVA) is a national advisory body to professions and other organisations on all aspects of HIV care, providing clinical guidelines and standards as well as educational events
- Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health produces guidance and advice on all aspects of contraception, including service standards and clinical governance for reproductive services
- Family Planning Association has details of training courses for health professionals
- Sexwise provides information and advice about contraception, pregnancy, STIs and sexual wellbeing for public and professionals including webinars
- Brook has information for professionals about sexual health advice for young people
- National Aids Trust has information, advice, a range of publications and useful leaflets, and also runs the English HIV and sexual health commissioners network
- Terence Higgins Trust (THT) has resources and information on sexual health and HIV for several audiences, including for teachers, health