Now delivering: Oral contraception online

We've been talking for a while about our bid to change the way people access contraception in the UK. Yes, after months of anticipation, hard work and testing the service with users of sexual and reproductive health services, online oral contraception is finally here (woo hoo!).

SH:24 shortlisted for a BMJ Award

We are delighted to have been shortlisted for a British Medical Journal award for innovation. We’ve been selected alongside a cohort of inspirational healthcare teams and services who work in and alongside the NHS. Here, we handpick a few of the diverse and often life-saving projects that have been nominated for this year’s awards...

Contraception cuts: looking for solutions

The concerning impact of government cuts to public health services is starting to show as it was reported earlier this week that 1 in 4 councils have cut or are planning to make cuts to reproductive health services. Although this is alarming, it is not necessarily surprising to those working in sexual health who have seen similarly dramatic consequences in their own field.

Meet the team: Donna

Recently we asked Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice at the Royal College of Nursing, Dame Donna Kinnair, if she would consider becoming our non-executive board's Chair. After some meetings with our senior team she accepted. Donna was a clear choice of chair for us because of her extensive clinical background, experience in commissioning and understanding of safeguarding, having dealt with particularly challenging cases in the Climbie enquiry.

Meet the team: Mollie

Mollie Courtenay is our service designer and researcher. She divides her time between SH:24 and Mindwave Ventures (doing some very cool projects in mental health, check them out). She's been with SH:24 since its early days and has seen lots of changes and achievements - let's get to know her a bit better...

How can we avoid making emergency contraception into a panic?

Emergency contraception made the headlines this week as newspapers revealed that the morning after pill is being sold on eBay for as little as £5. Although the coverage is welcomed, it fails to explore the complexities behind a woman’s decision to choose this risky solution. It also neglects to discuss alternative, safer options for access to emergency contraception.

Life after live

Fourteen months ago we went live with our first minimal viable product (MVP) – after a fast and furious alpha and beta we were offering real people a very real remote sexual health testing service. Service development director, Chris Howroyd, reflects on how we've optimised the service to support users and clinicians - before and after launch. 

Our impact: latest SH:24 news and data

A lot has happened since our last data round-up in October - we celebrated our first birthday in March and we’ve now processed over 10,000 orders. We’re really excited about the potential of the data we’ve gathered. Our research team are hard at work on a randomised control trial that should tell us some more about our users’ behaviour but this is what we’ve been able to learn from the data we’ve looked at so far.

Meet the Team: Jess

This week we’d like to introduce our Graduate Business Associate, Jess Bolton. In true start-up up style, Jess works across a lot of our operations, from looking out for new partnership opportunities and going to events about new sexual health services to working on our communications and running stands at colleges and universities. Let’s find out a bit more about her...

Contraception to your door

Just in time for Christmas US company, Nurx, launched an app dubbed the ‘Uber of contraception’ (or birth control, as they call it over there). In a country where womens’ reproductive health services have been somewhat under attack, the app has been heralded as a cost-effective solution to the lengthy process of getting contraception in the States. Here in the UK we're developing our very own online contraception service.

SH:24 response to Guardian article: 'Cuts to sexual health services will lead to STI 'explosion', warn experts'

Sexual health made headlines yesterday as shadow public health minister, Andrew Gwynne claimed in The Guardian that the Labour Party’s analysis had found as much as £40 million could be cut from local councils’ sexual health budgets and that this would have a consequent effect on (already increasing) STI rates. This analysis doesn’t take into account the opportunity for online STI testing services to deliver efficiency savings and improve access to STI testing through remote home testing.