What happens in clinic?
Our staff are here to make your visit to our services as easy as it can be –you may have lots of questions, here are some frequently asked questions which you may find useful.
Is the service free?
Yes and that includes any treatment you may need.
Do I need an appointment?
We have appointment and "Wait to be seen" clinics. Browse our clinics on our clinic finder to find the best clinic for you.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
If it is your first visit we will need to register you on our computer system so it would be useful if you know your address and postcode, and the name of your GP practice. Our computer system is only used by our staff. No one else can access the system so your information is confidential.
What will happen when I arrive?
You will be welcomed by one of our reception staff who will take your name (please tell us what you wish us to call you) and any other necessary details, then ask you to take a seat and wait for your name to be called.
What can I do if the receptionist asks me questions that I find difficult to answer at the reception desk?
If you feel uncomfortable at any time, you can ask the receptionist to find somewhere more private to talk.
How long will I have to wait before being called?
If you have an appointment, we will try and see you as close to your appointment time as possible. It is however difficult for us to estimate how long you will have to wait in a "Wait to be seen" clinic as this depends on how many people decide to drop-in to a clinic. It also depends on other people’s reason for attending – sometimes things can be more complicated and may take longer to deal with. We will try and keep you updated about how long the waiting time is.
Is the service confidential? Will my information be kept private?
All the information in your notes on the computer are strictly confidential. It can sometimes be useful to share your records with your GP but we will not do this without your express permission to do so. We will ask you whether you are happy for us to text you or send letters to your home address or your GP. It is important for us to have accurate contact details for you.
If you're 13 to 15 years old, you have the same rights to confidentiality as an adult. This means that we won't tell your parents, or anyone else without your permission.
The only other time we would tell anyone else about your visit would be if:
- You are under 18 and tell us about someone who has abused you sexually, physically or emotionally
- You are 12 or under and tell us that someone has had sex with you
- Your life is at serious risk
- You tell us about someone under 18 who is being abused
- Another person’s life is at risk
But we would discuss this with you first and give you all the support you need.
Can I bring friends or family with me?
You can bring anyone you trust to be with you during your visit, however the nurse or doctor will need to see you on your own at the beginning of your appointment.
What happens when I’m called in to see the nurse/doctor?
A nurse or doctor will show you into the clinic room to discuss why you have visited the clinic. They will also ask you questions about your medical history, and may take your blood pressure and weigh you.
If you need condoms or other contraception, e.g. pills, then you will be taught how to use them and be given a supply before you leave. If you want a long term method of contraception like an implant or an injection, we will explain how it works, make sure it is safe for you to use. Most of the time, we can provide this straight away. If that isn’t possible, we will need to make another appointment for you.
Will I need to be examined?
You may need to be examined however your nurse or doctor will discuss this with you.
What samples will I be asked to give?
This depends on why you are visiting us. If you are attending for a sexual health screen for possible infections then we will ask for a urine sample, a blood sample or a vaginal, oral and/ or anal swab dependent on the type of sex you have. You are in control of the situation and only samples you consent to give will be taken.
Do swabs hurt?
No, they are taken using a cotton bud and while this might be a bit uncomfortable, they are not painful.
How will I get my results?
We will text your results to you within 7 days of you being seen in the clinic.
We rely on you keeping your contact details up to date so we can get your results to you as soon as possible. Please make sure you tell us if you have changed your mobile number when you attend. We will also ask you to confirm your details when you attend.
Can I just get condoms?
Yes. If you are aged 16 or over you can come to any of our sexual health clinics and see a receptionist there who will be able to issue you with a supply of condoms. You can also order condoms online.