Redesign and commissioning of sexual health services in England – a qualitative study

I. F. Walker*, N. Leigh-Hunt, A. C.K. Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Responsibility for the commissioning of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services transferred from the National Health Service to local authorities in England in 2013. This transfer prompted many local authorities to undertake new procurements of these SRH services. This study was undertaken to capture some of the lessons learnt in order to inform future commissioning and system redesign. Study design A qualitative study was carried out involving semi-structured interviews. Methods Interviews were conducted with 13 local authority sexual health commissioners in Yorkshire and the Humber from 11 interviews. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes from transcripts of the interviews with the 13 participants. Results Key themes identified were as follows: the challenge and complexity to those new to clinical commissioning; the prerequisites of robust infrastructural inputs to undertake the process, including technical expertise, a dependable project team, with clarity over the timescales and the budget; the requirement for good governance, stakeholder engagement and successful management of relationships with the latter; and the need to focus on the outcomes, aiming for value for money and improved system performance. Conclusions Several key issues emerged from our study that significantly influenced the outcome of the redesign and commissioning process for sexual health services. An adapted model of the Donabedian evaluation framework was developed to provide a tool to inform future system redesign. Our model helps identify the key determinants for successful redesign in this context which is essential to both mitigate potential risks and maximize the likelihood of successful outcomes. Our model may have wider applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Royal Society for Public Health


  • Local government
  • Procurement
  • Public health
  • Qualitative research
  • Sexual health


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