Making a difference through co-production within Sexual Health services | Our latest updates

Making a difference through co-production within Sexual Health services

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This week at NHFT, we are celebrating our work in the area of co-production.  

For those who are not familiar with the term “co-production”,  this is when NHS services or teams work alongside people with lived experience of using that particular service, to either improve the service, make adaptations or develop new services. NHFT has been using co-production across services for almost ten years. By combining clinical expertise with the experiences of services users, the hope is that more patients and service users will have a positive experience receiving treatment at NHFT. This week, we will be sharing five different examples of how different service areas have used co-production to develop or improve services, and you will hear from those who have been involved. 

Northamptonshire Integrated Sexual Health and HIV Services (NISHH) recognises the power of co-production in helping to improve its services. Sarah Keiper, NISHH Service Manager said, 

“Connecting and listening to our service users helps us make changes, based on feedback, so that we can provide our patients with the best possible care – they are an essential part of influencing change and development.” 

NISHH is a busy service with two main hubs in Northampton and Kettering, as well as additional clinics when required in hub clinics across NHFT. The service provides genitourinary medicine (GUM), contraception and HIV care for the local and wider community. They also have an Outreach service dedicated to ensuring the Northamptonshire population receive public health messages around sexual health and sexual safety.  

Sarah continues, “The needs of service users always come first and that’s why co-production is so important. We recognise that those with ‘lived experience’ are the best placed to advise on what support and services will make a positive difference to their lives. We also feel that utilising trusted methods such as patient stories and journeys can have a significant impact on service users feeling well cared for in a compassionate way.”  

The service recently used co-production to make changes to improve access to their services. This was as a result of listening to feedback from service users, particularly with accessing wellbeing checks. Feedback included difficulties getting through to the service on the phone, problems getting appointments and issues with parking for appointments.  

How has the service changed through co-production?  

A number of actions were undertaken to address these concerns and make operational improvements, these include:  

  • A Specialist Nurse has been recruited to the HIV support to assist with some health checks – dedicated to offering appointments for this service 5 days a week. 

  • A dedicated project has been launched to optimise their telephone service functionality  

  • A self-booking system is being introduced where patients can self-book in appointments online - this is in progress and there are plans to expand this system to all areas of the service where possible.  This should help reduce call waiting times and make the process easier and quicker for patients.  

Sarah said, “Listening and working together with our community to amend our service offering to deliver the best possible experience of care is what co-production is all about. We will continue to always put our patients at the heart of everything we do and use their valuable insight and experiences to help us improve our services for everyone in our county.”  

The NISHH service is for everyone, whatever your gender, sexuality, race or faith. They also run dedicated clinics for young people. The very welcoming team of experts offer a confidential and non-judgemental service for everybody in Northamptonshire. 

Watch a short video of Sarah talking about the importance of co-production:

For further information about NISHH visit:

If you would like to get involved in co-production, either as a service user, carer, family member or a member of team NHFT, please contact:   

For adults: 

For children: 

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