National Quality Development: Sexual & Reproductive Health
This three year project launched with Scottish Government funding in March 2012 to improve the sexual and reproductive health of drug users.
The focus has been on providing training, learning and information opportunities for drug service and sexual health workers on each other’s area of work.
There is new focus on reducing unwanted pregnancies and spread of sexually transmitted infection under the Scottish Government’s Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework, launched in 2011.
The Framework highlights the need for drug and alcohol staff to feel confident and skilled to discuss sexual health issues and sexual health staff must feel confident and skilled in specific issues for people with drug and alcohol problems.
Scottish Drugs Forum’s project expands the scope of the National Quality Development Programme through addressing the education and training implications arising from this cross-cutting work.
The funding bid was a direct result of work by the National Quality Development Team which had already identified low sexual health outcomes among drug users working with the services it was supporting, along with a worrying gap in sexual health provision for drug users in a significant number of services.
The first 18 months of the programme has seen an overwhelming demand for sexual and reproductive health training, with the greatest demand from drug services, confirming the gap identified by SDF at the proposal stage.
Training targets have been far surpassed at the mid-project point with a total of 60 courses delivered for a total of 539 staff.
Participants report that the training has increased their knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and has made them feel more confident in raising the issues with their service users. Staff also report that having participated in the training, they now plan to introduce sexual and reproductive health into assessments. They also report feeling more comfortable about how to frame questions and less embarrassed about asking them. Workers developed a greater awareness of local services and how to refer to them and were more likely to not only encourage clients to access these services, but to actively support them in attending appointments.
Feedback from course participants:
"I plan to provide an opportunity in intial assessment to explore sexual and reproductive health" North Ayrshire, June 2013
"I will now use opportunities to educate on safe sex behaviour" Aberdeen, June 2013
"I gained a better understanding of the effects of drugs/alcohol and sexual issues" Stornoway, August 2013
"I learned a lot about the law and greatly increased my knowledge about STIs" Lanarkshire, September
A conference and networking event Let’s Talk about Sex and Drugs was hosted by Scottish Drugs Forum in association with NHS Health Scotland in June 2013. The event – the first of its kind in Scotland – helped to establish clear links between sexual & reproductive health and drug & alcohol services to address gaps in knowledge and practice.
If you would like to enquire about forthcoming training courses for you or your organisation, or to enquire about tailored training to your organisation's needs, then please get in touch at adrienne(at)sdf.org.uk