King’s comes second in sexual health league tables

By Ben Wilson

 

The reputation of King’s College London has received a boost recently, as King’s has come 2nd in a survey ranking sexual health facilities at Russell Group universities.

 

Based on the USA’s Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, which has been running since 2006, the DrEd Sexual Health Report Card has ranked all Russell Group Universities on such criteria as contraceptive access, information available on campus and sexual assault service.

 

KCL, in 2nd place behind Nottingham University, is one of only three institutions to receive a ‘First Class Honours’ for the high level of excellence of the services it provides.

 

Information for the study was gathered through data provided by university representatives (usually the student union welfare officer with responsibility for sexual health) in an online questionnaire, secondary research and analysis of the sexual health services provided, and ‘mystery shopping’ of all university health centres to ascertain service levels, responses and recommendations for treatment.

 

Speaking to ROAR!, Community Manager for DrEd James Porter stated that “we thought that this in-depth analysis, coupled with friendly competition in the form of a report card was an excellent way to draw attention to sexual health services in UK universities, and to act as a focal point for improvement of services.”

 

Mr Porter also commented on KCL’s provision of full sexual health services on campus as a benchmark for some other universities to aim towards, whilst making note of student led groups like KCL Sexpression and SHAG (Sexual Health And Guidance) Week as “interesting innovations”.

 

Another area of mention was that “both the top 2 universities in the table were NHS administered health centres, which would perhaps suggest that a top down approach to sexual health provision works best as excellence at the top level filters down to the rest of the university.”

 

However, as a consequence of government cuts to the NHS the quality of many services could come under threat. Put together by Brook and Family Planning Association (leading sexual health charities within the UK), the ‘Unprotected Nation’ report predicts an increase of 91,620 STIs per year by the year 2020, due to “increased restrictions, fragmentation of services and reductions in the effectiveness of education and awareness raising programmes” resulting from decreased spending.

 

The report goes on to claim that of these additional diagnoses, 76,840 cases are expected to be chlamydia. According to Dr Jasper Mordhorst, Clinical Consultant at DrEd, these figures are especially troubling since at present “roughly 10% of under 25’s still carry chlamydia, and chlamydia remains the number one reason women can’t conceive in later life.”

 

He also added that “young people tend to change partners much more than other age groups, so transmission rates of STI’s are much higher”, making these education and treatment services crucial at university level.

 

Already many students nationwide are being told they are unable to access university facilities depending on their postcode, instead being told they will have to find their nearest GUM (genito-urinary medicine) clinic.

 

While in Dr Mordhurst’s opinion “the UK is blessed with phenomenally good sexual health services generally” and that “the whole concept of freely available anonymous sexual health clinics is eyed jealously from countries such as France and Germany”, these services must not be taken for granted or allowed to fall by the wayside since “in the under 25 age group, sexual health issues remain critical”.

 

 

 

You can read the full DrEd report here: https://www.dred.com/uk/sexual-health-report.html#.UTjKRBlH_wg

 

You can also read the Unprotected Nation report here: http://www.fpa.org.uk/pressarea/pressreleases/2013/january/unprotected-nation-cuts-to-sexual-health-services-cost-uk-136-billion

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