Leaving a sexual health legacy for South East London

Gillian Holdsworth

At SH:24, our success story began with a chance challenge from a trainee – “why don’t you put STI testing online” - in 2011, to the development of the first online specialist sexual and reproductive health service that is co-designed with service users.

Now, we are sad to be bowing out of delivering our award-winning, online STI testing services in Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Bexley and Bromley. Cuts to healthcare budgets have contributed to local authorities commissioning an alternative online London-wide provision based upon our successful model.

Speaking at the launch of our report Leaving a sexual health legacy for South East London, local Lambeth councillor and fashion designer Philip Normal described our work as “amazingly impressive. I want to commend SH:24 for its work designing the service, I think that has played a huge part in the impact it’s had here, in what is such a diverse community in south London. 

We’ve seen an 8% reduction [in STI rates in Lambeth and Southwark] over the past year alone. This is an ongoing trend that is very, very welcomed when, over such a long period of time, we’ve seen STIs go up and up. So, to actually say this service has saved money and people are testing twice as much and we’re 8% down is just incredible, so thank you so much.
— Philip Normal

We owe our own big thank-you to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity who provided the funding which allowed us to develop the service using an agile, design led approach. Thank you to our sexual health clinic partners at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who worked with us on delivering system transformation locally.

Finally, our biggest thank-you must be to our service users, from whom we continue to learn everyday – and without whom, none of this would have happened!

We hope you will find the findings and research in our report a timely reminder of the local impact we've contributed to, how far the local sexual health economy has come - and how far it still has to go.

Dr Gillian Holdsworth, Managing Director, SH:24


Philip Normal at SH:24 event (June 2018)

Local Lambeth councillor and fashion designer Philip Normal describes our work as “amazingly impressive".