Chelsea and Westminster Hospital: HIV/Sexual Health Psychology Service

Address:
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
69 Fulham Road

London, SW10 9NH
United Kingdom

Telephone:
020 3315 5641 (9am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday). In a crisis please contact the out of hours urgent advice line on 0800 0234 650. You can also ask your GP surgery for an emergency appointment or attend any Accident and Emergency Service if you feel unable to keep yourself safe from harm.

Fax:
020 3315 5648

The HIV/Sexual Health Psychology Service is based at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and provides services to six sexual health clinics in London. The service is led by Dr Caroline Coffey.

Service description 

The context of HIV has changed significantly but receiving a diagnosis of HIV and managing a chronic condition can be a physically and psychologically demanding process.

The service help people to manage many difficulties related to living with HIV including issues of disclosure, medication, stigma and discrimination and related mental health difficulties. They also offer neuropsychological assessment and feedback for HIV-positive patients.

Psychological assessment and interventions are provided for sexual health difficulties related to adjusting to other sexually-transmitted infections, issues of sexual practice, sexual risk-taking behaviour and health anxiety.

The service receives referrals for a range of psychological difficulties for clients who are HIV-positive or have other sexual health conditions. The team offers psychological assessment and a range of treatments for individuals and groups.

How we can help

Psychologists see people with a range of problems including anxiety, depression, stress, persistent worries and health problems. The main goal of psychological therapy is to help a person develop an understanding of their difficulties and develop strategies to bring about changes in how they cope with issues.

We specialise in helping clients with:

  • Adjustment to diagnoses of HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Difficulties coping with a chronic condition
  • Anxiety and depression related to health issues
  • Difficulties in maintaining safer sex practices
  • Sexual Health Anxiety: Worries about contracting HIV or other STIs
  • Neuropsychological assessments

We also run an eight week mindfulness course and other short workshops. Mindfulness is one of the treatments available for mental health difficulties. Not all services offer it, but we do. Some of our client population is familiar with the concept.

How can someone be referred? 

If you think that you might benefit from meeting with a psychologist, please speak with a health professional at your clinic, who will then refer you. We will then contact you directly to arrange an assessment. The standard waiting time for assessment is 4- 8 weeks. At present, we are unable to accept self-referrals. 

What to expect

Prior to the assessment appointment we will send you an information pack and a set of questionnaires. These questionnaires help us to track changes in your mood and wellbeing across therapy, and are part of the national standard for your care.

Assessment

The same psychologist will usually meet you to complete the assessment which could be over two appointments. Each appointment lasts 45-60 minutes.

The purpose of assessment is to find out more about you, your current difficulties and how we may be able to help you. The focus is on difficulties that you are experiencing in the here-and-now rather than past issues. We will also think together about goals for therapy and how you would like things to be different.

At the end of assessment, the psychologist will discuss their understanding of your difficulties with you, as well as possible therapy options. You may be recommended another service which will be better able to provide you with the help you require. In some cases, an assessment is all that you may want or need. In other cases, short-term therapy with our service may be helpful to you.

Treatment

We provide short-term treatment to work towards the goals identified in the assessment.

We offer a range of talking therapies. These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Compassion-Focused Therapy and Narrative Therapy. We will discuss which type of therapy would be most helpful for you, depending on your current difficulties and goals.

Confidentiality

We value your confidentiality. Our assessments begin with a discussion about confidentiality. It is your decision about the information you disclose to us. In line with NHS guidelines, we sometimes need to share limited information with other professionals involved in your care. Before disclosing information to others, we would always try to discuss the relevant information with you and the reasons for doing so. It is a legal requirement for the service to record clinical notes and information. This is stored on a secure and protected clinical system.

Travel expenses

The Psychology HIV/Sexual Health service is part CNWL NHS Foundation Trust. The clinic where you receive your care is part of Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, so the policies and procedures might be different including the availability of patient transport and the claiming of travel expenses for attended appointments. If you have any queries regarding these issues please feel free to contact the department at 020 3315 5641.

Service times

Monday 09:00–16:30
Tuesday 09:00–16:30
Wednesday 09:00–16:30
Thursday 09:00–16:30
Friday 09:00–16:30

Transport information 

We are conveniently located at the side of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Our nearest tube stations are Fulham Broadway, South Kensington and West Brompton. We are also a 15-minute bus ride from Clapham Junction.

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