MPFT plan for our HIV patients during the Coronavirus pandemic
The current guidance from the British HIV Association is that HIV patients with good CD4 counts should not be at any greater risk from Coronavirus than the general population. This covers the majority of our patients. These patients are advised to observe social distancing as per the rest of the population.
We are contacting all of our HIV patients and (as per BHIVA guidance) where recent blood tests have been good we are providing repeat prescriptions of antiretroviral therapy for the patient to collect and avoiding non-essential clinic visits. We will continue to review patients face to face wherever we have any medical or other concerns.
The HIV prescription service is provided by Alcura UK Limited, a homecare service.
Alcura is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance and has considerable experience, and an established reputation, in the clinical homecare market. Alcura prides itself on the quality, flexibility and confidentiality of its service. A key objective is to make the provision and administration of drugs in the home as simple and stress-free as possible for patients, carers and healthcare professionals alike.
Your HIV medications will be delivered by a homecare service, provided by Alcura, on behalf of the NHS.
You will be registered with Alcura, who are required to protect your personal information in accordance with the Data Protection Legislation.
Your prescriptions will be prepared in the usual way by your clinic and sent directly to Alcura.
Please call Alcura Patient Services if you have any questions relating to this change, their call centre opening hours are Monday to Friday 08:00 to 18:30 and Saturdays 09:00-13:00. The telephone numbers are 01604 433 574 or 0800 0121 551, selecting option 1 – homecare patient services.
Please ensure you have attended your clinic appointments as normal.
Click here for a handbook which provides more information about the service that Alcura will provide, including Frequently Asked Questions.
About the service
Our service is part of the sexual health service which includes managing HIV infection outside of a hospital environment.
We provide a high quality service for people living with HIV and the team works to make sure you’re at the centre of the decision making process. We provide HIV care to any NHS patients wishing to attend our service, which includes free and confidential treatment for people living with HIV.
You can make contact with us directly if you are newly diagnosed; you don’t need a referral from any other medical service. Referrals are accepted from patients, health or social care professionals, or non-profit organisations.
When you’re diagnosed as HIV positive, you will need to be reviewed in our service. Clients who are unwell with complex health needs or newly diagnosed will attend a ‘consultant lead clinic’, meaning you will see one of our doctors.
Patients can also attend nurse-led clinics with our Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) when they are considered to be stable. The CNS Team has a less clinical and more holistic approach that focuses on lifestyle choices and health improvement. These include alcohol intake, diet, exercise, smoking, recreational drug use, sexual health and social issues, as well as a health assessment, prescribing medication and requesting bloods.
If you feel you are at risk of HIV
If you feel you are at risk of HIV infection please visit one of our sexual health clinics and ask for a HIV test. You can also have a HIV test at a number of healthcare settings, including your GP, through some sexual health prevention teams or you may be able to order a test for free over the internet through SH:24 (people living in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and Telford & Wrekin) or sh.uk (people living in Shropshire).
Information for patients
Transferring your care
Patients can contact us directly using our contact number (contact details at bottom of the page), or by visiting the clinic in person.
- a list of all the medications your taking
- letters/reports from your referring doctor (if applicable)
- your GP details
Your first visit can take up to 1 hour. The nurse will take additional health information and explain how our service works. They may take, with your consent, some more blood samples and help you to arrange your next appointment(s) with your new doctor.
Routine review-booked appointments
HIV care is provided through booked appointments. You will be informed by your clinician at your consultation when you need to return for review.
You need to book appointments through reception over the phone or before leaving clinic after your review. You will receive a text when your appointment is booked and reminders prior to the day. If the date you have is not convenient please call us and change your appointment (contact details at bottom of the page).
You may be advised to have these done 2 weeks before your routine review, to enable the clinician to see them at the consultation however they can be performed at your clinic review; you may be called back if they need actioning.
If you are unwell
If you feel you need to be seen urgently due to a HIV related problem, please contact the Clinical Nurse Specialists. Call the clinic in the morning (contact details at bottom of the page) and the CNS will advise whether you should be seen immediately, at the first available appointment or possibly your GP, walk-in centre or A&E.
If you experience an urgent problem outside of clinic opening times, contact your GP or attend your nearest A&E.
Emergency supplies of medicines
It’s important that there’s no interruption to your HIV medicines. If you’re low on medication, emergency prescription can only be given for one month and a follow up review must be booked. This can be done by contacting the Clinical Nurse Specialist (contact details at bottom of the page). Supplies longer than this will only normally be issued after a regular follow-up appointment and blood tests. It is advisable that you do not run out of stock. Please be aware that emergency scripts can take up to 48 hours to be dispensed.
Sexual health testing for HIV positive patients
Sexual health testing for people with no symptoms* is offered to all our patients as part of our routine tests. If you need a sexual health test outside of your appointments, or if you have symptoms, you can walk in to the sexual health clinic. You can also access contraception and get advice on sexual health at the sexual health clinic.
*common symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection include unusual discharge from the vagina or penis, lumps/sores/blisters around the genitals and pain when weeing.
HIV clients may also be offered vaccination after discussion with your clinician for:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
Yearly cervical screening (smear testing) is available to HIV clients in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire who meet the criteria. We advise HIV clients in South Staffordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin to visit their GP for cervical screening.
The HIV team consists of Clinical Nurse Specialists, doctors, health advisers and counsellors.
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)
The HIV CNS is able to assess, plan and prescribe for HIV patients; this includes the management of stable clients, and phone triage if you need advice. They can also signpost and refer to other agencies to give support. The team also provides HIV support after your test, including access into clinic and support through client journey.
The consultant leads a patient’s clinical care and has overall responsibility for making sure a long term plan is in place. They check all the information relevant to your care through review, reflection and ensuring safe systems are in place. Your named consultant will be either an infectious disease or genitourinary medicine consultant, who specialises in HIV medicine.
The HIV pharmacist is able to offer a specialist assessment of your HIV medication and any others you may take (prescribed, over the counter, herbal and so on). You can see the pharmacist in clinic when starting medication, changing, adding new medications or for an annual medication review.
Health advisers are more common within sexual health clinics where the role is often about avoiding exposure to or reducing the risks of getting a sexually transmitted infection, it also involves supporting those who do get diagnosed with an infection and helping with partner notification.
The counselling team (Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire only)
Our counselling team provides help to people who are infected with, or affected by, HIV. They offer a range of psychological support which aims to maintain positive emotional health and wellbeing.
The counsellors offer a confidential, safe and non-judgmental space where clients can talk through their issues and concerns. Please discuss with your Dr or CNS if you wish to be referred.
In South Staffordshire, Shrewsbury and Telford, we work with local organisations to signpost clients to psychological support.
North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
HIV Clinical Nurse Specialists can be contacted via the clinic on 0300 7900 165.
HIV Clinical Nurse Specialists can be contacted via the clinics on 0300 124 5022.
HIV Clinical Nurse Specialists can be contacted via the clinic on 0300 404 2996.
Telford and Wrekin
HIV Clinical Nurse Specialists can be contacted via the clinic on 0300 123 0994.