Standards for Online and Remote Providers of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services.

Standards for Online and Remote Providers of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services.

A Joint BASHH/ FSRH Standard [DRAFT]  

The Standards have not been launched yet, they will be launched before the end of the year.

by Helen Munro, Rajul Patel, Savita Brito-Mutunayagam, Elizabeth Carlin, Asha Kasliwal, Kaveh Manavi, David Philips, Dianna Reed

September 2018

The rapid expansion in providers of online sexual and reproductive healthcare services has enabled and empowered users to access their healthcare in more ways than through a face-to-face consultation with the health care professional.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) and British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) support these innovations and recognise that these services have enormous potential but are seeking key assurances in the standards of care and quality of services provided.

The FSRH and BASHH have co-authored this set of standards to be used as a benchmark for all providers of online SH/SRH services, and as a tool for commissioning of services and for service users to understand what to expect from their provider.

The five standards mirror the key lines of enquiry followed by the Care Quality Commission and are summarised below:

Standard 1. Safe

Providers must satisfy themselves that they can make an adequate and reliable assessment which does not compromise on service user care; have safety nets in place to manage and limit risks associated with remote consultations; ensure all staff receive appropriate training and maintain their skills; and have a system in place which enables a comprehensive approach to risk identification, assessment analysis and response in remote consultations.

Standard 2. Effective

Providers shall ensure that valid consent is obtained from service users by providing them with adequate information to make an informed decision, free from duress; ensure all staff are adequately trained to obtain valid consent by assessing for capacity in line with current UK legislation and General Medical Council Guidance; consider how permission to share information is recorded and conducted; ensure appropriate and secure management of service user information in line with current guidance; and adhere to the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing code (CAP code), with regard to relationships with pharmaceutical companies and advertising of their products.

Standard 3. Treating People with Kindness, Respect and Compassion

Providers shall ensure access to their services is inclusive and makes consideration and provides support to enable those who may find it difficult to use.; staff delivering online consultations understand and promote compassionate, respectful and empathetic behaviour; that the tests they utilise meet all UK standards and that processes are in place for monitoring and evaluating their workload; that any user interface is easy to navigate with regular review and input from the Service User; and adhere to national guidance and standards regarding the use of service user information and demonstrate how confidentiality is maintained.

Standard 4. Responsive

Providers must be able to demonstrate how they promote equality within their services and fulfil the Equality Act 2010; how they collect, manage and respond to suggestions, concerns and complaints from service users; as well as how user and public involvement is encouraged and developed.

Standard 5. Governance and Leadership

Providers should ensure that a clear strategy is in place to deliver a high quality and sustainable care plan. The provider must be registered with the appropriate regulatory body and processes in place to continually review and improve services. Current research and evidence regarding SH/SRH provision through online services is still in its infancy. It is imperative that the level of clinical excellence, governance, safety and care delivered through these new modalities is not compromised.

Signed, Asha Kasliwal

President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare


The Standards have not been launched yet, they will be launched before the end of the year.

SEE ALSO: General Medical Council, Remote consultations flow chart