WOMEN in Hay-on-Wye say they are struggling to access sexual health and contraceptive services after a change in the provider

Solutions4Health took over Herefordshire's sexual health services in April this year.

The national organisation describes itself as an "innovative, forward-thinking healthcare provider with expertise in three divisions; healthcare, information systems and innovations and AI."

It was hoped that the new service would improve access to sexual health services for those at greatest risk, with an increase in availability over a five-day week.

But residents of the Welsh border town say the reality is very different.

With no comparable service currently available locally, women from Hay-on-Wye were previously referred to the Hereford-based service for contraceptives including intrauterine devices and contraceptive implants.

But patients say they are no longer being offered the service, and are instead having to travel much further afield to access the service.

Haygarth Surgery practice manager Gwyneth Gore said the decision to stop referring women to the Hereford clinic had not been taken by the surgery.

Local Assembly Member Kirsty Williams said: “There has been significant concern, over a number of months, about the difficulties many people are facing in accessing contraception and particularly intrauterine contraception. These are vital services and they need to be accessible.

“I have written to Powys Teaching Health Board for information on their plans for services in Brecon and Radnorshire, and have requested an urgent meeting to discuss this in more detail.

“I have been encouraging people in Brecon and Radnorshire to contact me if they’ve faced difficulties, so please do get in touch.”

Karen Wright, Director of Public Health for Herefordshire, said information about the new service had been circulated, and details of the new arrangements would continue to be shared with residents.

She said that the St Owen Street based open access clinic is available to all Herefordshire residents, including those in the outlying areas, such as in Hay-on-Wye and Kington.

“To arrange an appointment residents are advised to call 01432 483693 or 0800 772 0478. Alternatively, people can email sexualhealth.4herefordshire@nhs.net or text 15STOWENSTREET to 60030," Ms Wright said.

“Further information about Herefordshire’s sexual health services can be found by visiting the website sexualhealthservices4herefordshire.co.uk The website also includes an online testing service and a ‘contact us’ option where people can get in touch by submitting a message and a response will be provided.”