Publicly Funded Sexual Health Service Delivery
Publicly Funded Sexual Health Services in NSW offer a range of clinical services provided by a variety of disciplines including medical, nursing, and counselling. PFSHS play a key role in supporting general practice and alternate primary care providers to offer STI and HIV testing, care and management. They participate in and support sexual health education and health promotion activities within their communities.
Services are delivered in a variety of urban, regional and rural settings across NSW using diverse models of care developed and based on the needs of priority groups. Innovation, collaboration, sharing expertise and use of best practice approaches are a shared commitment.
Core service delivery within PFSHS support the goals of the NSW Health STI Strategy 2016-2020, the NSW HIV Strategy 2016-2020 and the NSW HCV Strategy 2014-2020. Core services are targeted to the priority groups defined in these documents, symptomatic patients, sexual partners of a person with an STI or HIV and those with complex presentations of an STI. In addition to core services, where LHD resources permit, PFSHS services may provide care for referred patients with non-STI related sexual health issues and any other locally identified needs.
Services should have systems in place to enable patient access to information and services. Not all people contacting a PFSHS require a clinical appointment or service. Those who do require an appointment should be efficiently provided with one.
The intake process for PFSHSs will vary across services due to differences in locations, hours and staffing.
The telephone number of services should be answered during core business hours. When this is not possible, a message should clearly indicate when the caller should ring back and also provide the NSW Sexual Health Infolink (SHIL) contact details. Some services may use a callback system.
Outside normal business hours, a concise after-hours and public holiday message should be provided.
Patients who have been referred to the service by SHIL should be given an appointment; they do not need to be reassessed.
Services are provided in a variety of settings based on the needs of priority groups. Examples are: community-based settings; partnerships with nongovernment organisations; linking with drug and alcohol and mental health services and emergency departments; outreach to settings providing services to priority populations; and peer-based programs.
For priority populations a process must be in place to prioritise urgent presentations. This may be a system where urgent conditions can be assessed by a medical officer on site, or where there is no medical officer on site the patient is referred to the closest emergency department or general practitioner.
Urgent presentations include:
- postexposure prophylaxis (PEP)
- acute lower pelvic pain in women
- acute testicular pain
- patients who are systemically unwell or have symptoms of seroconversion illness
- urgent referrals triaged by SHIL, including sexual partners contacted by the SHIL Partner Notification Service.
- people diagnosed with HIV through HIV rapid testing or HIV dried blood spot testing during outreach or online testing programs.