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Access to sexual health clinics is falling in UK

Prompt access to UK sexual health clinics has worsened over the past few years, according to researchers.
Sexual_Health

Prompt access to UK sexual health clinics has worsened over the past few years, according to researchers.

In January 2014, a team from Royal South Hants Hospital sent postal questionnaires to lead clinicians at all 248 Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinics in the UK.

A month later, researchers posing as patients with urgent and non-urgent needs rang 220 of the clinics to request appointments.

The process was repeated in 2015, with the addition of mystery shopper visits to one in four of the clinics.

British Association of Sexual Health and HIV standards set in 2010 recommend that 98% of patients should have appointments within 48 hours of making contact with the service.

The survey results show the proportion of clinicians that could meet

...

Prompt access to UK sexual health clinics has worsened over the past few years, according to researchers.

Sexual_Health

In January 2014, a team from Royal South Hants Hospital sent postal questionnaires to lead clinicians at all 248 Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) clinics in the UK.

A month later, researchers posing as patients with urgent and non-urgent needs rang 220 of the clinics to request appointments.

The process was repeated in 2015, with the addition of mystery shopper visits to one in four of the clinics.

British Association of Sexual Health and HIV standards set in 2010 recommend that 98% of patients should have appointments within 48 hours of making contact with the service.

The survey results show the proportion of clinicians that could meet the standards for all patients had fallen from 76% in 2014 to 67% in 2015.

For women, the rate had fallen from 96% in 2014 to just over 90% in 2015. For clinics in England the drop was from just over 96% in 2014 to just under 91% in 2015.

Lead author Elizabeth Foley said: ‘In contrast to clinicians’ perceptions, women have greater difficulties accessing services than men, which is surprising given that many GUM services are integrated with contraceptive services, which traditionally see mainly women.’


Further information

Foley E (2017) Inequalities in access to genitourinary medicine clinics in the UK: results from a mystery shopper survey. Sexually Transmitted Infection (BMJ). 


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