Spectrum is shortlisted for the Patient Safety Awards 2018

We’re delighted to announce that Spectrum has been shortlisted for the Patient Safety Awards 2018!

Spectrum’s “Building Recovery in the Community” team were selected as finalists for their fantastic work to support the rehabilitation and re-integration of service users  returning to the community after leaving prison. Based in four secure settings across the North West and in Cheshire, this team provide tailored advice and support for patients who have been affected by substance misuse and help them to establish links with community services.

Spectrum join nine other finalists in the “Patient Safety in the Community” category – click here for the shortlist.

The Patient Safety Awards will take place in Manchester on 9th July 2018.

18 March: Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day

Sunday 18th March is Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day. This day aims to highlight key issues surrounding CSE, encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero-tolerance approach to situations which put children at risk.


What is child sexual exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation or coercion of young people under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity. In some cases a young person might be offered something in exchange for this, such as money, alcohol, gifts or status.

Young people can become vulnerable to CSE in many forms. This could be online (through grooming), or in person, through street gangs, and by others in positions of authority.

Find out more about CSE.

Relationship and Sex Education (RSE)

Spectrum delivers Relationship & Sex Education (RSE) lessons to approximately 20,000 young people across Wakefield, Barnsley, Wigan and Leigh each year. Working with local schools, our team provide opportunities for students to learn about the dangers of CSE and explore the subtleties of CSE and grooming.

The lessons designed by Spectrum’s RSE team focus on:

  • Understanding exploitative and grooming behaviours
  • recognising signs of CSE
  • raising self-esteem and increasing resilience
  • promote local support services

This approach allows students to improve their knowledge of key issues around CSE, know how to stay safe and where they can go to seek help and advice.
RSE lessons also return to key themes as students’ progress through high school, allowing students to continuously build their awareness, knowledge and confidence.


Concerns about CSE

If you’re worried that a young person could be at risk of sexual exploitation, you can:

  • contact your local authority or safeguarding team to report a concern
  • call the NSPCC helpline on 080 800 5000
  • call the police

Learn more about RSE.


New alert raises awareness of “Purple Drank” trend

The addiction support charity Addaction has issued an alert regarding a dangerous drinking trend which has been reported among some young people, known as “Purple Drank”.

“Purple Drank” (sometimes known as ‘Lean’, ‘dirty Sprite’ or ‘Sizzurp’) is a potent mixture of legal over-the-counter medications (usually cough syrups) which some young people are combining with soft drinks or sweets to use as a recreational drug.

This is particularly harmful as many cough syrups contain codeine, an opioid drug that is frequently used as a cough suppressant or mild analgesic. When codeine is consumed in large doses or for non-prescription purposes, it can create extremely harmful effects.

Because “Purple Drank” intended to drink, anyone using it can easily lose track of how much of the active drug they have consumed.

The effects depend on the contents of the drink.However, users have reported euphoric and dissociative effects. Other effects may include slurred speech, constricted pupils, slowed heart rate, drowsiness and loss of coordination. The ability to drive may be also be impaired, and young people have complained of ‘memory problems’ after taking the drink.

To help prevent harm around ‘purple drank’ trend, services are advising young people of the dangers of misusing prescription medications.

Spectrum leads sexual health services in Wigan Borough

Today, Spectrum Community Health CIC begins as the new sexual health provider for Wigan Borough.

Working in partnership with Wigan Council, Spectrum’s new service will deliver comprehensive sexual health support in several areas across the borough, providing:

  • Advice on contraception and safe sex
  • STI testing, treatment and support
  • Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)
  • Chlamydia screening
  • Free condoms for young people aged 16-24 through the C-Card Scheme
  • Outreach in local communities

Spectrum delivers adult and young people’s sexual health services across Wigan Borough and will be in the heart of our communities through nurse-led clinics in seven areas.

Dr. Linda Harris, Spectrum’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to begin our new service in Wigan Borough and are very much looking forward to working with local people and partners to shape the services they want and need.”

The new service will operate from two main clinics:

  • Wigan Town Centre – Galleries Shopping Centre, 6 Wigan Galleries, Wigan, WN1 1AR
  • Leigh Health Centre – Leigh Health Centre, Entrance C. The Avenue, Leigh WN7 1HR


For sexual health support in Wigan and Leigh, patients can call 01942 483188 or email wigan.leigh@spectrum-cic.nhs.uk .

Airedale students lead the way in a new project tackling under-age drinking

Students from Airedale Academy have taken part in a new community initiative to raise awareness about the dangers of “proxy sales”, in which adults buy alcohol for under-18s.

On Friday 23rd February, students from Airedale were joined by teachers, local police and community traders as they donned high-visibility jackets and approached adults in the Magnet square, asking them to purchase alcohol for them. Police officers then stepped in to explain to members of the public that to buy alcohol on behalf of under-18s would be an offence.

This creates an opportunity for the students to raise awareness of the harms caused by “proxy sales” of alcohol and the harmful impact of underage drinking on young people, including its consequences for their health and its influence on antisocial behaviour in the community.

Andy Simms, Community Alcohol Practitioner for Spectrum CIC, said “As partners, we try many different ways to reinforce our messages around alcohol harms – to see young people taking the initiative is incredible. We know that many underage drinkers get access to alcohol through adults, and this is not only illegal but can put young people into dangerous situations.”

The initiative is part of the local Community Alcohol Partnership (CAP) in Castleford and Airedale, which is a partnership involving members of local authorities, police, schools, retailers, neighbourhood groups and health providers. The partnership aims to reduce the sale of alcohol to young people whilst advising them on the dangers of drinking alcohol.

CAPs across the UK have enjoyed considerable success tackling underage drinking with a mix of education, enforcement, community engagement and the provision of diversionary activities for young people.

CAP Director Kate Winstanley said: “Drinking alcohol brings serious risks to children, putting them in danger of physical and social harm. They are far more likely to injure themselves or someone else, fail to reach their potential at school and engage in anti-social behaviour.

“While great progress has been made in reducing direct sales to under-18s via the Challenge 25 scheme, unfortunately youngsters sometimes obtain alcohol when adults buy it on their behalf, known as proxy purchasing.

“CAP is working hard to raise awareness of this issue by warning adults that proxy purchasing is an offence and will not be tolerated.”

Castleford Sexual Health Clinic Consultation

Tell us how the closure of our Castleford clinic would affect you

Spectrum currently run two sexual health clinics in Castleford, one on Mondays from 2:30pm – 5pm and one on Tuesdays from 5:30pm – 7pm. We want to hear from you regarding the potential closure of the Castleford clinic, and how it may affect you.

You can access the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7KPQGKG, if you could please complete the survey before February 12th.

Please note, if the clinic does close, you will still be able to visit your GP or Spectrum’s other sexual clinics in Normanton, Pontefract or Trinity Walk in Wakefield town centre. You can also access chlamydia home-testing kits, the c-card scheme and information online by visiting www.sexual-health.co.uk. Appointments can be made at any of our other clinics by calling 0800 121 4860.

If you would like to know more about the proposed changes to the Wakefield Sexual health service you can contact Wakefield Council via email at phcommissioning@Wakefield.gov.uk or call Wakefield Council and ask for sexual health services on 01924 304382.

IICSA launch the Truth Project

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has launched a very special campaign today called the Truth Project. The aim of the campaign is to give victims and survivors of child sexual abuse a voice, and to make sure they know they can talk to the Inquiry confidentially, if they wish to.

The Truth Project is a crucial part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, as victims and survivors who come forward shape the understanding of the nature and scale of abuse. More importantly, it offers these survivors a chance to have a voice, make suggestions and help bring change.

Those who choose to share their experience will be influential in shaping the Inquiry’s report and research and as a result, will direct government and organisations on how to improve child protection across England and Wales.

The Truth Project has been developed with the help of the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel who continue to help the Inquiry consider the impact of their work from the perspective of victims and survivors. The campaign is also based on substantial research, involving victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and the general public.

There are several ways you can contact the Truth Project and all correspondence and conversations are strictly confidential.

If you, or anyone you know, may want to talk to the Trust Project, you can contact them here: https://www.truthproject.org.uk/getting-touch.

Protect your sexual health over the Christmas period

Spectrum Community Health CIC is urging residents to look after their sexual health over the festive season by being careful at a time when drinking alcohol increases with the festivities.

Alcohol can alter a person’s perception in certain situations meaning they might take more risks including not using a condom. When intoxicated it might be harder to ensure a condom is being used properly or it may not be a thought until after. This puts a person at significant risk of any unwanted consequences such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like syphilis.

If you have sex with someone and don’t use a condom, it’s important you visit your GP or Spectrum’s sexual health clinic to get a full STI screening to put your mind at ease. Spectrum’s clinical staff are friendly and non-judgmental, and can help advise you on anything you feel you may need.

Contraception helps prevent pregnancy when taken correctly, so if you’ve not used any contraception, or think your contraception method might have failed, emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) can be taken to avoid any unwanted pregnancies. EHC can be accessed from:

  • Spectrum Community Health at our Trinity Walk Clinic in Wakefield (Unit LG1A, Trinity Walk Shopping Centre, Wakefield, WF1 1QS). Drop-in clinics are offered Monday to Friday, 8.15am to 12pm. You can also book an appointment to see us – just call 0800 121 4860 or email: SHARP@spectrum-cic.nhs.uk.
  • Spectrum Community Health at our Gateway Clinic in Barnsley (Unit 1 Gateway Plaza, Sackville Street, Barnsley, S70 2RD). Drop-In clinics are offered Monday to Friday, 8.15am to 11:30m. You can also book an appointment to see us – just call 0800 055 6442 or email: Barnsley.SHARP@spectrum-cic.nhs.uk.
  • Your GP surgery.
  • Some local pharmacies but depending on the pharmacy, you may have to pay.

Here are some tips for looking after your sexual health when out drinking over the festive period:

  • If you’re ready to have sex, prepare your contraception before you go out drinking and always carry a few condoms.
  • If you’re sick within two hours of taking your contraceptive pill, it won’t have been absorbed by your body. Continue to take your pill as normal and use condoms for seven days
  • Whilst sober, discuss any boundaries you might have with your partner.
  • Don’t pressure someone into being physical with you and remember it is okay to say no.

Visit Spectrum’s campaign page for more information on where to access emergency contraception, where you can get tested for STIs, opening hours over the festive period and more tips on safe sex and alcohol: http://spectrumhealth.org.uk/campaigns/christmasandsexualhealth2017/.

For more information about Safe Sex and Alcohol, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook at SpectrumSHARP or visit www.sexual-health.co.uk.

New Alcohol Studies report finds that breath tests have fallen almost a quarter in five years

A new report published by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) reveals that numbers of breath tests for drink-driving have fallen almost a quarter in the past five years.

Running on empty: Drink-driving law enforcement in England’ assesses nationally published breath test figures from police data, alongside Freedom of Information (FoI) responses from 35 police constabularies on the levels of resources and enforcement committed to dealing with drink-driving.

The figures reveal that breath tests conducted by officers have fallen between 2012 and 2015/16, in the face of fewer available staff (the number of Roads Police Officers has declined by 27% since 2012) and increasing pressure on stretched frontline officers.

If breath testing had been maintained at 2011 levels, there would have been over a quarter of million (260,681) more breath tests performed during this period. The average roads policing budget for forces also steadily declined, by almost a million pounds per force.

These figures have emerged among a backdrop of no significant changes to drink drive deaths in the UK since 2010. England and Wales stand apart from all other nations in Europe – including Scotland and N. Ireland – in having a drink drive limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood; other nations’ limits are 50mg/100ml or lower. In addition to greater enforcement, research suggests that if England and Wales followed suit, lowering the limit would save at least 25 lives and prevent 95 serious casualties a year, and £800 million in costs.

Such a move is also supported by road safety charities, publicans, and the public – the latest British Social Attitudes Survey showed more than three-quarters (77%) of people are in favour of a lower limit.

Commenting on the findings, IAS Chief Executive Katherine Brown said:

‘This report highlights the damaging impact of police cuts on the ability of roads officers to do their job properly and enforce the law against drink-driving. Where enforcement levels are on the wane, more public campaigns would raise awareness about the dangers of drink-driving, and a lower drink drive limit would provide a cost-effective way of limiting the risk of people getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

‘While budgets continue to be squeezed, approximately 200 lives are being lost on our roads to drink-drivers every year, and although the Department for Transport says that is “200 too many“, stripping police forces of the resources needed to tackle drink-driving may lead to worse outcomes in future.

The full report is available to read here: https://bit.ly/runonempty

Spectrum prison nurses win at the GP Awards 2017!

Spectrum’s Prison nurses in York have scooped a national healthcare award for their six-week programme supporting patients with chronic lung disease.

The healthcare team at HMP Full Sutton was crowned “Clinical Team of the Year (Respiratory)” at the General Practice Awards 2017, held at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel on 30th November.
Their award-winning programme combines gentle exercise, and education to improve the quality of life for patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the term for several lung conditions including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Liz Littlewood MBE, Head of Healthcare at the prison, said:

“COPD is a chronic illness which progresses over time, and can cause increasing distress and breathlessness. In a prison environment, this means that many patients can struggle to cope with their daily routine and may require hospital admissions for ‘flare-ups’ of COPD. Spectrum’s Pulmonary Rehab Programme allows patients to better manage the symptoms of their lung disease, build up their exercise tolerance and learn more about lung health.”

“We’re delighted to receive this recognition from the GP Awards and to have been joined by so many finalists who showed real commitment to excellence. Prison healthcare is a field which has unique challenges, and our aim is always to manage these without compromising on care.”

COPD affects around 1.2million people and is the most common lung disease in Britain after asthma. Some people may experience symptoms for some time before diagnosis, or mistake early signs of COPD as a “smoker’s cough” – approximately 90% of all COPD cases are linked to cigarette smoking. . The prevalence of smoking and respiratory illness is generally greater among the prison population than in the community in general, so signposting patients who smoke towards smoking cessation services is also a key aim of the programme.

On the night, the award for the York team was collected by nurses from Spectrum’s Wakefield-based sexual health service (pictured), which was also shortlisted for an award.