Our service model for specialist sexual health services

Closed 22 Jul 2021

Opened 28 May 2021

Feedback updated 12 Oct 2021

We asked

Over the summer we consulted on our plans for sexual health services in East Sussex ready for the new contract in October 2022.

The aim was to make sure that the proposed service model would provide easy access to services that meet people’s needs. It was important to hear people’s views as the service model has changed significantly in the last few years due to digital innovation and COVID-19.

You said

People were concerned that some groups of people may find it more difficult to access the service. 

We did

In response to the consultation feedback, the service specification has been adapted to allow two drop-in triage clinics for all ages at each clinic site in Hastings and in Eastbourne. This is in recognition of people who are digitally excluded, do not have phones, or rely on limited phone credit or are genuinely unable to access their GP.

Results updated 12 Oct 2021

Thank you to everyone who took part in the consultation. The consultation received 20 responses and feedback was broadly positive about the model. People feel that it should work well for most of the public who are online.

There were some key points of concern, including:

  • vulnerable individuals or those who face access barriers, including people without internet access or their own GP may struggle to access the service.
  • young people may find it find it more difficult to access the service and/or feel less supported with a virtual service.
  • some people need, or prefer, face-to-face appointments. It is also harder to pick up on safeguarding issues over the phone.
  • the location of the clinics is less accessible for those living in the north of the county. Closure of the Saturday clinics removes choice for patients.
  • increasing pressure on primary care GP services and their ability to see more symptomatic sexual health presentations.
  • offering support to key marginalised groups through support teams leaves the most complex patients being managed by inexperienced non-specialist staff.

Our proposals were approved by the Lead Member for Adult Social Care & Health on 21 September. For a full summary of the consultation results, you can read the papers for the meeting on our website (see item 6). 

See the 'we asked, you said, we did' section above for more on what we have done in response to your comments.

We will be publishing the service specification and inviting tenders in October. Providers should sign up to if they want to take part in the process. If you have any questions about the procurement process please contact East Sussex County Council via the South East Shared Services Portal. 


Everyone in East Sussex should have easy access to specialist sexual health services that meet their needs. Do you think our updated service model will help achieve that aim? 

Tell us what you think 

We want to know what you think about our service model and whether it will allow everyone to get the support they need. We particularly want to hear from everyone who has used the service or will do in future. We are also keen to hear from people who would struggle to access phone and online services. 

How you can take part

You can fill in the survey online or on paper, but you can also send us a letter or email – whatever works for you. The consultation closes on 22 July.

  • Complete the online survey by clicking on the link below
  • Email us your survey or feedback: public.health@eastsussex.gov.uk 
  • Post us your survey or feedback (download a copy below): Just write Freepost, East Sussex County Council, Public Health on your envelope (you don’t need a stamp)

If you need this information in another format or language, or you need help to take part, please contact us. Email is better at the moment, as many of us are still working at home, but you can call us if you need to on 01273 336 036Read our easy read leaflet about how to get help to take part.

What will happen next 

What you tell us will help us finalise the specification that providers will use to bid for the contract. Your feedback will be included in a consultation report and inform the Equality Impact Analysis action plan. All of these documents will be considered by the Lead Member for Adult Social Care & Health in September 2021.  

Privacy information

This questionnaire is anonymous and we don't ask you to provide any personal information, although there is an optional ‘about you’ section at the end. Please ensure that any comments don't include any names or personal details of you or anyone else. You can find our privacy notice about how the data will be stored and processed by East Sussex County Council on our website.


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