ANZIO Digital NHS DIRECTíS Online Female Sexual Health Checker

by Patricia Montgomery, LincsMag Writer.
Date: 14 August 2010

Getting Your Knickers In A Twist About Sexual Health?

NHS DIRECTíS online female sexual health checker is here to help

NHS Direct who employs over 3,400 staff, over 1,400 of whom are trained nurses, has launched a health and symptom checker for women looking for confidential sexual health advice online.

The health and symptom checker is available at www.nhs.uk/nhsdirect and covers a wide range of symptoms and problems, such as sexually transmitted diseases, period problems, loss of sex drive, and pain when urinating or during intercourse.

It works by asking the user a series of questions. Depending on the information provided, women may be offered self-care advice so that they can manage their symptoms at home, or it may suggest that further advice is sought from another health provider such as a GP, A&E or a sexual health (GUM) clinic.

A call back from an NHS Direct nurse advisor is only a click away if a further assessment is recommended, and the caller can choose to remain anonymous for the call back if they wish.

NHS Direct takes around 12,000 calls a month about sexual health and around 75 per cent of sexual health calls are from women. The most frequent sexual health-related symptoms women call about are vaginal bleeding, dysuria (painful urination), rectal bleeding, vaginal discharge, and advice about emergency contraception or missed contraception.

Helen Young, NHS Directís Chief Nurse says:

"Although more women contact us about sexual health than men, itís still a subject that many women are embarrassed to talk about or seek help for. Many sexual health problems can be treated easily if dealt with as soon as the problem occurs and itís never advisable to take a 'wait and see' attitude with sexual health. Our health and symptom checkers can provide confidential and evidence-based advice quickly or signpost patients to the most appropriate place to get help."

And One for the Men As Well

Women can recommend NHS Directís health and symptom checkers to the man in their life too, as there is already a menís sexual health checker available. There are four others too, covering contraception advice, mental health, colds and flu and an initial assessment (all available at NHSdirect).

And yes the services are well used, with the NHS Direct health information and advice line handling 14,000 calls a day. Thatís over 5 million calls a year.

All of NHS Directís health and symptom checkers have been developed to reflect the same protocols used by NHS Directís telephone advisors so patients get the same experience whether they use the phone or web.

Its web services are used 350,000 times every month. These include five online health and symptom checkers (with web chat facilities) covering colds and flu, contraception advice, menís sexual health, mental health and an initial assessment; plus an online enquiry service.

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