Limited access to implant and coil fittings at Devon Sexual Health – update

posted by: Jonathan Shaw

Updated 12.05.21

Devon Sexual Health in Exeter, Barnstaple and Torbay are now now open for routine coil fits and implant procedures. However, our capacity is still limited so we apologise if we have to ask you to wait for an appointment. We will make sure you have contraceptive cover whilst waiting.

We will be prioritising these groups:
Those with vulnerabilities including but not limited to those who are: <18, attending abortion and maternity services, homeless, sex workers, victims of sexual assault, people with language barriers, drug and alcohol problems, learning disability, serious mental illness.

We are unable to provide Mirena fits for non-contraceptive reasons such as HRT or gynaecological treatments.

If you are looking for a refit of your coil or implant please note:

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH – here) advise that the risk of pregnancy is very small if the following devices are used for a longer period of time. For the duration of the pandemic they have recommended using:

  • Nexplanon implants for 4 years
  • 10 year lifespan copper IUDs for 12 years
  • IUS (Mirena coil only) for 6 years

Helpful advice from the FSRH is available to support your contraceptive choices during these times – link

Please contact us or your GP to discuss and book an appointment.

So things are back to normal?

Not quite. As with most day-to-day services, we are not running as normal. Our clinics are limited to our “hub” sites in Exeter, Barnstaple and Torbay – find your nearest service here. These clinics are of limited size and are working under COVID conditions, including the use of PPE. We have to keep patients safe and socially distanced and therefore the number of patients we can have in the clinic at once is significantly reduced. Our staff also need longer to see patients so they can thoroughly clean between procedures, and to allow them to use their PPE safely. We will also try to minimise your time in the clinic, by doing as much as we can over the phone.

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Accessing our service during the COVID pandemic

How to access our service:

We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Please contact our services to access this triage system. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with symptoms of coronavirus is available at nhs.uk/coronavirus .

Advice from our service:

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception during this pandemic here.

More details on the fitting of LARCs (coils and implants) at our service can be found here

If you need the combined contraceptive pill please try (if you can) to get updated measurements of your height, weight and blood pressure before calling us.

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Information is now also available to advise on sexual contact during a time of social distancing here.

Alternative provision:

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - at your local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV postal testing - available to at-risk groups for a small fee -  more info
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info