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Nurse-led online triage service launched for STIs

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A new nurse-led online triage service for people worried about sexually transmitted infections has been launched by a community health provider in Essex.

Developers say the service, which allows people to check symptoms and get advice via mobile phone or computer, will make it easier for people to access the information they need.

“It will give many people reassurance without the need for a visit to a clinic”

Kez Spelman

The innovative resource, available to people in the mid Essex area, was launched by Provide – also known as Central Essex Community Services. The social enterprise scheme provides community health services across the county as well as parts of Cambridge and north east London.

It was developed with Time for Medicine, a spin-off company from the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff that was founded by clinicians.

The online service takes people through a series of questions to assess sexual risks and symptoms and also gives advice on contraception.

“The most common sexually transmitted infection is often unnoticeable and easily treated,” said Kez Spelman, a sexual health nurse consultant at Provide who is leading the service.

“This new service can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” he said. “It will give many people reassurance without the need for a visit to a clinic.”

However, the service will also advise people if they need to seek further help.

“We feel this online, easily accessible service will give people a prompt response without necessarily taking time off work or other commitments,” added Clive Minihan, joint managing director of Time for Medicine.

“It will also give an indication of those people who do need more personal clinical attention,” he said.

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