Nursing Times award in sight for Teenage Pregnancy project.

Janet Oxley, Specialist Nurse at Barnsley Integrated Sexual Health, has been shortlisted in the ‘Nursing in the Community’ category for her work on the ‘The Teenage Pregnancy Pathway’ (TPP)

TPP is a multi-agency initiative developed by Janet to reduce the number of pregnant teenagers who go on to have subsequent pregnancies. The project combines contraception support with referrals from local authorities, social services and charities to support vulnerable young girls throughout their pregnancies.

Janet builds a relationship with all of her patients and ensures an appointment is made after the birth for contraception to be administered. To date, 77% of those who have delivered are now using contraception, preventing a second pregnancy.

Janet explains,

‘I’m so excited to be shortlisted for this award. There are so many dedicated people involved in the Teenage Pregnancy Pathway, and it’s all about helping the young teenage mums make choices for their future contraception.

“By offering a supportive infrastructure within Barnsley, teenagers have come forward not only to discuss pregnancy but other sexual health issues. Working with partners has helped to encourage a culture of openness and continues to challenge the stigma many young girls feel.”

In Septetber 2018 Janet will travel to London and present the Teenage Pregnancy Pathway to a panel of Nursing Times judges. The award ceremony will be held on Wednesday 31 October 2018.

To view all shortlisted entries, visit

Spectrum Sexual Health Nurse becomes a ‘Queen’s Nurse’

Siobhan Andrewartha, a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Barnsley Sexual Health Services, picked up a Queen’s Nurse award earlier this week for developing an outstanding project to support asylum-seeking women.

The  ‘Women’s Group for Asylum-Seeking Women’ was first started back in April 2017 and successfully helped asylum seeking women in the Barnsley area gain access to social groups, improve their English and receive practical and emotional support.

This group was a mix of extremely vulnerable women, some of whom were pregnant, had experienced rape, homelessness, depression, loneliness or feared for their lives.

Siobhan explains, “The Women’s Group created a safe space for women to develop social skills, build friendships and complete mindfulness activities whilst also addressing their physical, psychological and emotional needs.”

On Monday 25th June, Siobhan travelled down to an awards ceremony in London to be presented with her Queen’s Nurse title. This will connect Siobhan with the supportive Queens Nurse network and provide access to a free development programme, bursaries and leadership opportunities.

To learn more about this award and its benefits, visit The Queen’s Nursing Institute.

We’re supporting Karen’s North Yorkshire Relay!

Staff from North Yorkshire Horizons, the county’s integrated substance misuse service, are taking part in an ambitious 180-mile fundraising challenge to raise money for York Hospital’s Magnolia Centre.

The North Yorkshire Relay was organised by the service in support of Karen Jordan, (pictured left), Clinical Team Leader within North Yorkshire Horizons, who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. Over 40 staff are taking part in the relay to raise money for cancer services and improve care for other patients going through treatment.

Karen says, “It’s overwhelming to see so many friends, family members and colleagues coming together to complete this amazing event. This is our chance to thank the wonderful professionals at the Magnolia Centre for their dedication and the person-centred care they provide for patients from every walk of life. I’m grateful to be surrounded by love and attention, but some people going through cancer treatment aren’t so lucky and centres like this provide much-needed compassion, care and support. Cancer can affect anyone – please show your support for this fantastic cause.”

Relay volunteers will be running, cycling and walking across the county between 18th-22nd June, travelling between 20 to 30 miles each day through Selby, Harrogate, Skipton, Northallerton and Scarborough. The team will also be sharing photos and updates on the challenge through the Relay JustGiving page.

Mark Vidgen, Assistant Director at North Yorkshire Horizons, said: “Karen has always been inspirational to her colleagues, and our staff and volunteers in North Yorkshire Horizons have been inspired again to raise money for her chosen cause. The team has really come together for this and is doing all it can to raise as much as possible. Staff who can’t make it will continue our service across North Yorkshire. They, and indeed many of our service users, are backing us all the way. There are going to be a few sore limbs at the end of this, but it will have been worth it.”


Supporting cancer care

The challenge is off to a successful start and has already received over £1,000 in donations.

Debbie Brain, a spokesperson for the Magnolia Centre, said: “We are very grateful for the support that comes to us through fundraising events such as these. These funds can make all the difference to our patients receiving care within the Magnolia Centre, be it having an ‘up to date’ magazine to read in the waiting areas, comfortable surroundings or equipment to improve the experience and quality of the care we provide.”

“We wish all taking part good luck and hope that there is a plentiful supply of blister plasters!”.

Karen Jordan, who was named “Nurse Leader of the Year” at the Nursing Times Awards in 2016 for her work with vulnerable people, will join the challenge on the final day at it heads to the finish line in Scarborough.

To support the North Yorkshire Relay, please visit JustGiving page.

The risk of potential exposure to Hepatitis C through sex

In January 2018, NHS England announced it would aim to eliminate hepatitis C by 2025, 5 years ahead of the WHO target. Numbers of patients receiving new oral treatments for the virus are already increasing year on year which has reduced the number of deaths by 10% and halved the number of patients needing a liver transplant.

What is Hepatitis C?

  • Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus (BBV) and is the most common type of viral hepatitis in the UK with an estimated 215,000 people affected.
  • The risk of getting hepatitis C through sex is low and the virus is most commonly spread through drug equipment, however risk of sexually transmitting the infection may be higher if blood is present.
  • In the UK, most hepatitis C infections occur in people who inject drugs or have injected them in the past. It’s estimated 50% of people who inject drugs have the infection in the early stages which commonly doesn’t display symptoms.
  • If left untreated hepatitis C can cause serious damage to the liver and lead to liver cirrhosis and even liver cancer.

Sexual Transmission – are you at risk?

The Hepatitis Trust says “The risk of sexually transmitting hepatitis C depends on the type of sex you are having. Because hepatitis C is thought to be transmitted via blood-to-blood contact, only sexual activities that increase the potential for exposure to blood are considered risky.”

This includes:

  • Unprotected anal sex
  • Sharing sex toys that have been used anally
  • Unprotected fisting
  • Sex involving more than two people
  • Chemsex (using drugs during sex: commonly crystal meth, GHB/GBL). Sharing a straw to snort drugs while engaging in sexual activities increases the risk of transmitting HCV
  • Vaginal sex during menstruation
  • Having sex when infected with an STI that could lead to blood-to-blood contact

Find out more about sexual activities considered risky.

If you’re worried – get tested

Are your sexual activities exposing you to blood-to-blood contact? If you are worried that you may be at risk of hepatitis C, visit Spectrum sexual health services and get tested. Testing is fast, confidential and free. Most cases of hepatitis C are treated with a simple course of antiviral medicine.

Find out more about other risk factors for hepatitis C.

Our clinics also offer support for contraception, STIs, relationships, family planning and HIV. Find your nearest clinic here.

Government debate discusses progress in eliminating hepatitis C

A government debate on the elimination of Hepatitis C will take place in Parliament today.

The debate will discuss the UK’s progress towards global targets set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to eliminate hepatitis C as a major public health threat by 2030.

NHS England is on track meet the target by 2025; five years earlier than planned. This is due to significant improvements in the numbers of patients receiving new oral treatments for hepatitis C, which has reduced the number of deaths by 10% and halved the number of patients needing a liver transplant.

Hepatitis C – the facts

  • Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus (BBV) which is thought to affect up to 215,000 people in the UK – many of whom are unaware that they are infected.
  • The virus is spread through contact with infected blood, including through the sharing of needles, razors, or unsterilised piercing equipment. Hepatitis C can also be spread through unprotected sex.
  • In the early stages, hepatitis C commonly has no symptoms. However, if untreated, hepatitis C can cause serious damage to the liver and lead to liver cirrhosis and even liver cancer.
  • The virus disproportionately affects vulnerable groups with limited access to healthcare, including patients affected by substance misuse. Roughly 50% of patients who inject drugs in the UK are thought to have hepatitis C, and half of patients hospitalised by the virus are from the poorest fifth of society.

Could you be at risk?

The most significant risk factor for hepatitis C is sharing or injecting intravenous drugs. As well as posing a significant danger to your health, this also exposes others to the risks of hepatitis C. Find out more about other risk factors for hepatitis C.


If you’re worried – get tested

If you struggle with substance misuse and are worried that you may be at risk of hepatitis C, come to one of Spectrum’s community clinics and get tested. Testing is fast, confidential and free. Most cases of hepatitis C are treated with a simple course of antiviral medicine.

Our clinical services can also help if you are struggling with drugs or alcohol and need long-term support to help you get back on track – get in touch today.

Six Degrees

Six Degrees have secured Big Lottery funding worth £350,000 to provide a new dementia training programme that will aim to help thousands of families across Greater Manchester.

The free, EmPoWereD Conversations training, founded by Dr Phil McEvoy, will be rolled out across all ten boroughs of Greater Manchester to family carers and professional carers. With the aim of alleviating communication issues, the course helps people to break down barriers by improving relationships and giving practical ways to connect and stay connected.

To read the full story, please visit:

Spectrum Community Health

Researchers at Spectrum CIC have collaborated with partners at Leeds and Huddersfield Universities to undertake a systematic review of the literature pertaining to the risk of diversion of prescribed opioids in prison settings. This remains a significant problem facing healthcare staff. Key findings were that, internationally, there is variation between countries in the type of opioid diverted. For example, in the UK, diversion of sublingual buprenorphine is a significant problem, whereas in the USA a practice of oxycontin abuse was identified. Whilst prison is a time when many drug users stop injecting, ongoing drug use remains a significant problem. Prisoners report boredom as a trigger for prescription opioid abuse in prison. Significant pressures upon prisoner officer time emerged as a significant issue in reducing the potential to monitor the appropriate use of prescribed medication.

Regarding addressing this issue in the future, new products have either been launched, or are in development. For example, a rapidly dissolving buprenorphine preparation has just been launched in the UK, and an injectable buprenorphine depo preparation is in development. Trends in drug abuse in prisons are subject to rapid change according to availability of a particular drug. For example, there is increasing anecdotal UK evidence of a move away from prescription opioid abuse to prescription analgesic abuse, with the drugs pregabalin and gabapentin being implicated. Our research highlights the need for healthcare and discipline staff to work together to develop systems to minimise the risk of prescribed medication.

Access full paper here:



Formal Website Launch

Social Enterprises active in the field of health and social care are commonly presented with requests to undertake research amongst the service user populations whom they serve. However, many social enterprises have expressed a need for support in developing processes and structures to facilitate the governance and implementation of research in their organisations. To this end the Transform Research Alliance has recently formed. It is an Alliance of social enterprises who actively share knowledge and expertise in all areas pertaining to research in social enterprises. The current Alliance of 11 members are actively seeking to grow the membership and so enhance the social enterprise voice in the field of applied health and social care research.

If you would be interested in joining the Alliance, or have any queries, please email: Nat Wright, Clinical Research Director for Transform Research Alliance:, or George Charlesworth, Transform Research Alliance Co-ordinator:

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.