Service case study: Liverpool Community Pharmacy Sexual Health Service

The Liverpool Community Pharmacy Sexual Health Service is commissioned by Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, on behalf of Liverpool City Council, to provide sexual health services to the residents of Liverpool.

The pharmacy service forms part of an integrated sexual health service offer, that incorporates community contraception services, genito-urinary medicine, and sexual health promotion. It was launched in November 2021.

The aims of the service, are to increase access and availability to sexual health services for residents of Liverpool. It is hoped that this will help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, control the transmission of chlamydia, and will help contribute to reductions in the following indicators in the Public Health Outcomes Framework:

  • Under 18 conceptions;
  • Chlamydia diagnoses (15-24 year olds); and
  • Reduce late HIV diagnosis by facilitating community HIV postal testing.

Scope of the service

The service is set out in two tiers. Tier 1 of the service provides:

  • Emergency contraception under a Patient Group Direction (PGD);
  • Quick-starting of oral contraception under a PGD (Desogestrel 75mcg); and
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) kits as part of a pharmacy ‘click and collect’ scheme.

These elements of the service are being provided by over 80 pharmacies across Liverpool. These pharmacies also support with provision of blood pressure and Body Mass Index measurements to facilitate remote contraception prescribing by Axess, the Sexual Health Team for the Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Tier 2 of the service, which is a new enhanced element, is due to go live next week and will provide:

  • Initiation of both progesterone only contraceptive pills and combined oral contraceptive pills via a PGD;
  • Initiation or follow on/quick-starting of contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera, Sayana Press) under a PGD;
  • Provision of Hepatitis B vaccine via PGD; and
  • Provision of treatment via PGD for diagnosed Chlamydia.

This will provide care to individuals, in more community venues and therefore, closer to home. Tier 2 of the service will initially be available from 14 community pharmacies in Liverpool.

The service is eligible to individuals who are residents in Liverpool or those who work or travel within Liverpool. Individuals may self-refer into the service, or they can be referred by another health professional such as a GP.

As part of the service offer, pharmacists can also provide pregnancy tests to individuals.

Speaking about the service, Matt Harvey, Chief Officer of Community Pharmacy Liverpool, said:

“I am proud that the new tier of the service is launching in Liverpool. It has been the culmination of several years of planning and negotiation to ensure expanded sexual health services are offered to patients nearer to home.”

More information on the Liverpool Community Pharmacy Sexual Health Service can be found under Sexual Health on the PSNC Services Database.