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Its a flop: Concern after Redbridge pharmacies fail condom demonstration mystery shopping test

PUBLISHED: 17:39 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:39 02 August 2018

25 pharmacies were surveyed. Picture: Niall Carson

25 pharmacies were surveyed. Picture: Niall Carson

PA Archive/PA Images

A charity is concerned that pharmacies in the borough are failing to effectively demonstrate how to put a condom on in a mystery shopping test.

A woman hands out free condoms as Pro choice and Pro Life protesters clash during a pro-abortion demonstration in the centre of Dublin.A woman hands out free condoms as Pro choice and Pro Life protesters clash during a pro-abortion demonstration in the centre of Dublin.

As part of a study about how different sections of the borough use health care, Healthwatch Redbridge gave six different organisations funds to run accessibility projects.

As well as mental health, disability and carer studies, mystery shopping was undertaken to see if pharmacies - who claimed to provide a safe area for young people to talk about sexual health - were successful.

“The C-card scheme (condom distribution) when it is advertised, delivered appropriately and effectively, works to a high standard,” it was said in a report on the conclusions of the study.

“However, many places are unfortunately failing to deliver this service in an appropriate way.

The C-Card scheme lets young people know they can get sexual advice. Picture: Niall CarsonThe C-Card scheme lets young people know they can get sexual advice. Picture: Niall Carson

“One main link between the pharmacies delivering a ‘good to excellent’ service is the training aspect - pharmacists should have been on C-card training for three hours.

The Terrence Higgins Trust evaluated the C-Card scheme and chlamydia screening services across 25 pharmacies in Redbridge. Fazal Mahmood from the Terrence Higgins Trust said: “The fund and exercise enabled us to evaluate the standard of the service they offer to our clients from the service users’ point of view.

“All the pharmacies were given feedback and additional staff training organised, wherever necessary, to maintain and improve the high standards we strive to achieve.”

“This shows how important it is in order to both understand the importance of the condom demonstration and how to deliver a successful consultation which includes the demonstration.”

Additional staff training was organised for the pharmacies which failed the mystery shop. Picture Chris JacksonAdditional staff training was organised for the pharmacies which failed the mystery shop. Picture Chris Jackson

As well as sexual health, issues around mental health talking therapy services were raised.

Healthwatch Redbridge noted that while the majority of people surveyed were mostly satisfied with mental health services there was concern about the quality and skills of therapists and the “first point of contact” personnel.

Through the mental health project, led by Performace Arts Life Skills, it was also noted that there needed to be better signposting to therapeutic and social activities to improve service users quality of life and help prevent a relapse.

Tina Stewart from Performance Art Life Skills said: “Our project highlighted the real need for more choice in the activities available to local adults with mental ill health.

“The fact that participants were able to voice this need themselves enabled us to secure additional funding to continue our workshops which are proving very successful in improving the confidence and wellbeing of those participants.”

Disabled people’s experiences were coordinated by charity One Place East and they concluded that many areas of healthcare require improvement.

These include training for telephone and reception staff on learning disability awareness and customer services, the report said.

Refugee and Migrant Forum Essex and London (Ramfel) led on how migrants access health care.

It concluded that vulnerable migrants are for a range of reasons finding it difficult to get the right health and care services they need to stay well.

St Francis Hospice conducted a project about end of life care and it said more resources are required to educate and raise awareness about conditions to encourage residents to seek treatment earlier.

Sarah Oyebanjo, deputy chief executive, of Healthwatch Redbridge said: “We launched the Cash Fund because we were keen to invest in new and creative projects to gather experiences from communities that we rarely hear from”.

“We received 12 applications when we launched our scheme last year and our board agreed to fund six projects whose initiatives were well managed. “At the same time, the work being done by these organisations gave us the opportunity to use their intelligence to get a much broader, richer understanding of people’s experiences of local healthcare services.

“We are also working with the six organisations to log feedback on the issues highlighted in our report so that action that can be taken to respond to the challenges raised.”

“Please visit our website healthwatchredbridge.co.uk/community-cash-fund to find out more about the work these organisations are doing and what they are doing to following-up their findings.”


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