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Clinic Information

We're running a walk-in and wait cervical screening clinic (smear) at The Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, on Saturday 24th February, 10:00am - 3:00pm. - Click here for more information.

Visiting a clinic

Your first visit to a sexual health clinic can be a bit daunting, but trust us, there is nothing to worry about. The questions and answers below will take you through a step-by-step journey of what will happen when you visit one of our clinics. 

Our services are confidential, free and friendly and are open to everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality. If you have concerns about attending any of our clinics because you have a physical disability, sensory impairment or learning difficulties, please contact us and we will work out with you the best way for you to access the help you need.

If you’re still unsure about visiting a clinic, please give us a call on 01904 721111 or drop us an email yorsexualhealth@york.nhs.uk.

What will happen when I first arrive?

When you first arrive for the walk-in service please pick up a number from reception, then have a seat and wait for your number to be called by a receptionist.

The receptionist will then take a few details from you and ask you to read a short list of options about why you’ve come into clinic. It’s really important to point to the right option for you so that we can make sure you see the right member of the clinic team. This helps to make your visit as smooth as possible. If you would prefer to see a male or female nurse or doctor, let the receptionist know and we will do our best to arrange this.

Once you’ve done this you will be added to the queue to see the next available member of the clinic team according to your needs.

Will I have to wait to be seen?

We do our best to make sure your wait is as short as possible. However, the doctors or nurses will spend as much time with each person as they may need. This will sometimes lead to longer waiting times.

If you would rather not wait, you can book an appointment for a later date – just speak to one of the reception team.

Try not to pass urine (go for a wee) before being seen. Doing so may mean that we cannot perform some of the tests available here, or it may make them less effective.

What happens when I see a doctor or nurse?

Once you have reached the front of the walk-in queue you will be called from the waiting room by a doctor or nurse. They will take you to a separate room where the consultation will take place.

Sometimes there may be medical and nursing students in the clinic. It is important for their training that students have the chance see clinic consultations and examinations. If there are students in the clinic you will be asked whether you would be comfortable for them to be present in your consultation or examination. If you’d prefer not, that’s fine and this won’t affect your care in the clinic.

What kind of questions might I be asked?

The doctor or nurse will ask you about why you have come into the clinic today. They will also ask you some questions about your recent sex life and your general health and wellbeing. These questions will help us to offer you the most appropriate care and support. We understand some things can be really difficult to talk about, for example, if you have been sexually assaulted or may be you’re questioning your sexuality or gender, but be assured that everyone in our clinics will respond without judgement and with compassion.

Everything you tell us will be confidential, unless we are really worried about your safety or the safety of another. Your clinic notes are kept separately from any other medical notes you may have - including your GP notes - and they will not be passed onto anyone outside of the clinic service without your permission.

What happens if I want contraception?

Whether you are wanting to start contraception for the first time, need emergency contraception, or just want to continue a method you have been using for years, we can provide this for free in all our clinics.

We may ask you further questions about your general health and wellbeing, and measure your blood pressure, weight and height, so we can ensure that we offer you the most appropriate methods of contraception.

We can explain and advise on all methods that might be available to you so that you can make the best choice, and answer any questions you may have.

For some methods of contraception, like the implant and coils, you will usually need to return to the clinic to have them fitted. However, we can offer another method to prevent pregnancy in the meantime.

If you are already pregnant we can offer advice and support about your next steps, including if you are not sure if you would like to continue with the pregnancy.

What happens if I have an examination?

The doctor or nurse may ask to examine your genitals and possibly other parts of your body. This will help the doctor or nurse to check for infections and any related problems. Samples may be taken from various places for testing.

The doctor or nurse will explain the examination beforehand and will be as understanding as possible, as we appreciate this can be an awkward experience.

The clinic offers chaperones to accompany you during examinations. A chaperone not only helps the doctor or nurse but is also there to support you and ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. You will be asked whether you would like a chaperone with you for your examination.

Do I have to have an examination?

If you do not have any symptoms you can have routine screening tests without being examined. This usually involves a chlamydia and gonorrhoea test and a blood test for HIV and syphilis. A blood test may be offered for hepatitis B and C if there’s a risk you might have been in contact with them.

If you have symptoms you’re concerned about it is normally recommended that a nurse or doctor examines to take extra tests and to check what might be causing them. Some conditions, for example genital warts, can only be diagnosed by examination. Sometimes the nurse or doctor might advise an examination to make sure we can offer you the best support and care, even if you do not have symptoms.

What testing can I have in clinic?

We offer a range of tests, depending on what kind of sex you have had recently, who your partners were and what symptoms you might have. These tests include:

  • chlamydia and gonorrhoea tests on urine, vaginal, rectal (after anal sex) and throat (after oral sex) samples
  • other tests for NSU, trichomomas, bacterial vaginosis and thrush

It can take some time after you have picked up an infection before we can test accurately for it. This is because it takes time for our bodies to make the markers that we test for in response to an infection. The doctor or nurse will explain to you if this applies to you testing in clinic.

Take a look at these pages to read about all the possible infections that can be picked up through sexual contact and which we can diagnose in our clinics.

Will I get any results whilst I am here today?

Results from some of the tests we can do in the clinic will be ready for you whilst you are in clinic. Some samples can be looked at under a microscope and may show non-specific urethritis, gonorrhoea, bacterial vaginosis, thrush or trichomonas. We may also be able to tell from a urine sample whether you have a possible urinary infection or if you are pregnant.

These tests usually take around 15 minutes to complete, and a doctor or nurse will then give you these results and any treatment which may be recommended.

What happens if I am offered treatment?

If you are offered and decide to have free treatment in our clinics, the nurse or doctor will give this to you and discuss how to use it. You may then be asked about people you have had sex with recently who may also need treatment. This is called partner notification.

Partner notification is completely confidential. It helps you to tell anyone you have had sex with recently about treatment they might also need for an infection passed on by sex. The nurse or doctor will also be happy to provide any sexual health related advice or guidance, so please feel free to ask them any questions you may have.

You might also be offered a Hepatitis B vaccination, if you might be at a higher risk of coming into contact with this virus, and medication (PEP), if there is a high risk that have very recently been in contact with HIV.

What happens next?

If you have treatment today you may be asked to come back to the clinic, or arrange for us to call you, to make sure that the treatment has worked and any partners have been informed if they needed to get testing and treatment.

You may also be asked to come back to a clinic if you have started a new method of contraception, a vaccination course, PEP, or if you need to repeat some tests.

If any of your results show that you do have an infection, we will call you or send you a text asking you to call us. We will then explain the results and what happens next. Treatment for chlamydia can be posted to you if you prefer. Other treatments normally require you to come back into the clinic or to see your own GP.

How will I get my results?

Some of the tests you may have in our clinics have to be sent to the hospital laboratory. These results should be available in 7 days, although some may take up to 14 days. You can get these results by text, by phone, or by coming into clinic. The doctor or nurse who sees you will arrange with you how you wish to get your results.

A charge may be made for certificates/named letters requested for non-NHS purposes.