Nurse’s NHS work with Northampton teens funded by insurance firm

The Lowdown building in Kingswell Street
The Lowdown building in Kingswell Street

An NHS nurse who specialises in teen pregnancy and sexual health is being partly paid for by an insurance company.

The Lowdown charity, in Kingswell Street, had a nurse who could give out emergency contraception and sexual health advice on a drop-in basis.

However NHS Northamptonshire Healthcare (NHFT) changed the role about a year ago so she was instead based at NGH, meaning young people had to be referred to the hospital.

Teenagers proved reluctant to use NGH, preferring the relative discretion of Lowdown’s offices, so the charity sought other funding to bring her back.

It has now partnered with Northampton-based First Point Insurance to meet the costs of having a specialist NHS nurse, every Wednesday and some Saturdays.

Dawn Wright, manager of the Lowdown, said: “The demand was not going away because quite a few people, for whatever reason, felt unable to use the hospital.

“We had to meet a need and the only way to do that was to be innovative and we had to resort to other means.”

Mrs Wright said the alternative would have unwanted teenage pregnancies and untreated chlamydia.

She said: “We have girls as young as 14 coming to us who are very fearful. They won’t make that journey to the hospital and can end up ignoring it and taking quite a longer road.”

First Point will pay for the time spent by the nurse at The Lowdown, which is about £9,000 for one year.

After funding previous initiatives, the insurance firm said it was happy to pay the sponsorship having been given a wishlist by The Lowdown.

It said it will not push any promotional materials or branding as part of the deal.

Emma Parker, general manager of First Point, said: “It was really important that the service kept going because demand was still high and we‘re happy to step in .”

The nurse will be working at Lowdown every Wednesday between 1.30pm and 3pm.

Young people will also be able to see her on the first and third Saturdays of every month between 1pm and 4pm.

A spokesman for NHFT said: “Although the funding for these hours is from an external source, the nurse remains an NHFT member of staff with identical terms and conditions.

“The external sponsor is funding the nurses hours, the contract in place does not support promotion of the products or services of any other organisation and this would contravene professional standards of nursing conduct.”