Creating a whole-Practice strategy
“We used to rely on Joe to handle sexual matters, but now he’s left…”
It’s easier to talk about sex with the backing and involvement of colleagues. So if at all possible, set up a whole-practice strategy.
Make discussion of sexual topics part of practice meetings. Have a ’round’ of issues practice staff have met in consultations. This will not only normalise conversations which include such topics, it will lower the awkwardness level. It will also, crucially, allow discussions of embarrassing or difficult cases. Suggestions for exercises to use with staff can be found here.
Be clear to clients that staff are happy to discuss sexual issues. This can be done through information on waiting room noticeboards and on the practice website. If some staff are not happy to discuss, then they should make it clear to clients that it is possible to have a one-off consultation with another member of staff.
Accommodate clients who want longer appointments, same/different-gender appointments or appointments with practitioners they feel comfortable with.
Have available in-practice sexual health information that is accurate, trustworthy, up-to-date. Our Hand-Out and Resources on this website give suggestions of organisations that can provide you with information leaflets and other helpful material.
Get to know relevant local practitioners and organisations, as personalising contacts improves communication and allows you to more effectively refer clients on. Then create your own personalised page, using our Hand-Out as a basis then adding local contacts and organisations. Explain to staff that they can give the hand-out to clients if discussions on sex prove difficult or if more information/signposting is required.
Support those staff who feel comfortable about discussing sexual topics by encouraging them to attend CPD to further increase their knowledge, comfort and confidence.
Support those staff who don’t feel comfortable by briefing them to at least ask an initial question of clients, knowing they can then pass over the Hand-out or refer on to further information, another practice member or an outside consultant/therapist.
For comprehensive resources to support your work, click here