South Eastern Trust Signposts Accessible Contraception Services as Part of Sexual Health Awareness Week

12th February 2024
Gillian McCullough, Sexual Health Nurse, Team Lead, Interim Lead Nurse, Sexual Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health Emma McCall and Co-ordinator with the Pharmacy and Medicines Management Team Emer McLean.

“It’s very important to us that we are an accessible service for all,” explains Interim Lead Nurse, Sexual Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health Emma McCall speaking from one of the South Eastern Trust’s four confidential contraception clinics at Lisburn’s Primary and Community Care Centre.

As part of Sexual Health Awareness week which starts on February 12, Emma detailed how the team’s aim is to “focus on access to contraception and the different methods of contraception available to people in the Trust area.”

The Team have clinics in Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre, Downe Hospital, Bangor Community Hospital and Stewartstown Road Health Centre in West Belfast. “We have clinics that run five days a week, Monday to Friday and offer a phone first service.”

“We want people to have a safe and enjoyable sex life and we are here to give contraceptive advice. We provide a thorough consultation over the phone and will discuss what can be medically suitable for that person as well as their personal contraception.”

Emma explained how accessing information and managing someone’s contraception need is very much all year round. “Our service is free, it’s confidential and is open to people of all ages. There is no size fits all when it comes to deciding on contraception.”

Co-ordinator with the Pharmacy and Medicines Management Team Emer McLean added how the Pharmacy First Emergency Hormonal Contraception Service in which women can access emergency contraception commonly known as the ‘morning after pill’ is “a free, confidential and discreet service provided across 70 community pharmacies in the South Eastern Trust area.”

“An appointment isn’t needed for the service but you may be asked to wait if the pharmacy is busy.”

“Those who wish to access the service can rest assured that a confidential consultation in a private area of the pharmacy will take place and the community pharmacist can provide a free supply of the morning after pill where that is appropriate. They can also provide advice on long-term contraceptive options and direct that person to other relevant services if needed.”

Gillian McCullough, Sexual Health Nurse, Team Lead explained, “we provide a confidential sexual health service for anyone who would like a sexual health check-up for Sexually Transmitted Infections ( STIs), whether it is for peace of mind or if they have symptoms or concerns about exposure to an STI.  We have clinics in Downpatrick, Bangor and Lisburn.”

“What is great about this service is that it is not attached to your GP or hospital service, you can self- refer. The best way to contact us is through our dedicated Appointments Line or if you have symptoms or concerns you can speak with a nurse directly. These are for patients to attend any of our three clinics sites.”

Gillian reiterated that their clinic is for everybody and all genders. “We support people who are living with HIV and provide a PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis to HIV) service. PrEP is a prescribed medication which people can take to help prevent them from acquiring HIV through sexual exposure. The service can also provide access to appropriate vaccinations as required.

“We are a confidential service, your sexual health is the most private part of your life and our team here truly respect that. We work to give the service user a positive, dignified experience and reassure them that everything is and will be manageable.”

For more information and for appointments telephone 028 9041 3796 or email (Sexual and Reproductive Health)

Sexual Health: Appointments Line: 02844838133

Sexual Health: Nurse Advice Line: 02844838392

Gillian McCullough, Sexual Health Nurse, Team Lead at Lisburn’s Primary and Community Care Centre