The NHS GP Surgery will be providing a weekly sexual health clinic to help Royal Holloway students access medical advice on contraception, alongside sexual health screening i.e. HIV testing and counselling, chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing. This is a free service for Royal Holloway students.
Some of you may remember that over two years ago, the sexual health clinic on campus was closed due to drastic cuts from the local council. Consequently, many students have had to seek off-campus guidance and support for their sexual health off-campus, which involves travel costs to the nearest clinic and long hours of waiting once you are at the clinic.
Since then, I have organised a free STI testing day as part of the Let’s Talk About Sex campaign to encourage more students to take care of their sexual health and get tested. Over 120 students attended the STI test drive, which demonstrated how crucial accessible sexual health provision is at a university campus.
At the beginning of October 2018, over 100 students took part in the SU’s second STI test drive which also saw 52 students participating in HIV testing within a period of four hours.
President Clem Jones and I knew the importance of sexual health provision at Royal Holloway could not be understated.
For over two years, we attended many meetings with the College’s Student Advisory & Wellbeing team alongside the GP partners at the GP Surgery to discuss issues which Royal Holloway students see as key priorities; these range from mental health and sexual health to appointment waiting times.
Across this year, we have seen many improvements in the operation of the GP Surgery which include better access to appointments, reception changes and additional staffing resources for mental health to help students access the appropriate support they require. You can read more about the progress here and here.
And now, I am delighted that the GP Surgery has made the decision to implement a weekly sexual health clinic in direct response to student feedback.
The College and GP Surgery have been working tirelessly to recommission a sexual health service for Royal Holloway, with students' wellbeing at the heart of their plans. They have taken student feedback very seriously and after extensive efforts and exhausting all possible external options, their solution is to implement a weekly sexual health clinic which will be partner led under the care of Dr Laura Dickinson.
Some changes happen overnight; others will take more than two years to come into effect.
The implementation of the sexual health clinic on campus will significantly and positively impact on the personal wellbeing of hundreds of students during their studies at Royal Holloway, which would not have been possible without extensive close collaboration between the Students’ Union, the College and the GP Surgery.
As I step out of my role as Vice President Welfare & Diversity, the campaign around sexual health and healthy sexual relationships will be continued by Lucy Simpson, your incoming VP Welfare & Diversity.
There will also be further updates to follow with regards to the finer details, which will include more good news on extended hours access to NHS services, where students will be able to book a telephone appointment to speak directly with a partner after normal NHS services have closed for the day.
As usual, if you have any questions, please do get in touch via email or Facebook!
Registered charity no: 1141998
The Students’ Union, Royal Holloway
Egham, TW20 0EX