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Invest to save

Shaking up ideas

Shaping sexual health services to the needs of young people was the aim of a successful application for an Invest-to-Save Budget (a Treasury initiative to help public services deliver in more integrated ways).  We were commissioned to work  with a local multi-agency group who wanted to explore possible new models of service ‘in a contentious area reflecting the complexity of service provision, the number of service providers, the interests of statutory and non-statutory organisations, plus the requirements of central government’.

We designed and led a series of workshops to bring together young people, professionals and managers from the statutory, voluntary and commercial sectors. As part of a centrally-funded initiative the work was independently evaluated:

 ‘The involvement of young people and professionals in joint, whole system events has probably created the most impact. There is very clear and compelling evidence that these sessions have had a large impact on the professionals that attended……a key feature is that everyone is viewed as an expert. Valuing everyone’s knowledge…..encourages an open dialogue, and the possibility that there can be co-production of knowledge’ (evaluation report)

‘We all thought we knew about confidentiality but when the young people talked to us about their experiences and their concerns about confidentiality, it made us see things in a clearer sharper way’ (clinician)

‘Some professionals thought the idea of a one-stop-shop sounded appealing. But after working with young people, we saw this was not what was wanted.’ (clinician)

‘At the time I thought what was going on at the event was quite trivial. But I’ve thought about it a lot since….and I guess I learned a great deal that has been useful. It was a very valuable experience….it moved me on’ (clinician)

 ‘What’s been achieved is more of a culture change….we all feel less threatened by each other…we’re much less defensive’ (clinician)

‘As a result we‘ve changed our view about how we organise condom allocations’ (NHS manager). 

We do seem to have a better supply of condoms….and the payment system has been sorted out (clinician)

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