Lothian's New Sexual Health Centre Opens

NHS Lothian’s new Chalmers Sexual Health Centre opened its doors today (Tuesday 7 June 2011).

The centre has been designed to provide a purpose built ‘one-stop-shop’ for sexual health services.

The Family Planning & Well Women service previously based at Dean Terrace and the Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) department at Lauristion Building have been combined to provide the services in the new centre.

Work started on converting the former Chalmers Hospital in 2009 and the new £9 million facility has been designed to provide an improved environment for patients and staff.

Dr Gordon Scott, Clinical Director and GUM Consultant, NHS Lothian Sexual and Reproductive Health, said: "We are delighted that our new sexual health centre is ready to open its doors. Our new home will allow us to deliver a seamless service for the public, where, for example patients can receive advice on sexually tramsmitted infections (STIs) and contraception at the same time".

The historic building has already served the people of Lothian well for over 140 years. The renovation and extension have maintained the character of the original hospital while creating a modern and spacious city centre base for sexual health services, making it easier for people to access fast and effective care and advice.

Clinic space has been divided into four hubs which will help ensure patients privacy. The environmental impact of the building was a key consideration and the new extension has a ‘living’ sedum roof and solar panels.

All clinics that have previously been provided in either Family Planning or GUM, will move to the new centre. There are a mix of drop-in and booked appointments available for general clinics but most of the more specialist clinics are by appointment only. Local clinics continue to run at various locations across Lothian. Patients can also visit their GP for routine sexual health and contraceptive advice and services.

The views of patients and the public helped NHS Lothian with the initial design of the building and there has been continuing involvement in the process of developing the new integrated services including input into opening times and waiting/reception areas.

The Edinburgh Family Planning Trust has also played a key role in the creation of the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre.

A stained glass window entitled 'The Family', has been installed in the new building in recognition of the Trust’s contribution to improving the sexual health of the people of Edinburgh and Lothian since it was established, almost 80 years ago.

Designed by Scottish artist, Pinkie Maclure, the window reflects the diversity of people who use the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre.

Dr John Loudon, Chair of the Edinburgh Family Planning Trust said:

“I am delighted to see the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre open. The facilities are excellent and the integrated service will provide patients with high quality expert care.
“The Trust is pleased to have had such an active role in this project and is looking forward to working with staff to continue to improve the sexual health of people in Edinburgh and across Lothian.”