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An interview based approach to seeking user views in genitourinary medicine.
  1. D Evans,
  2. C Farquhar
  1. Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of Southampton, UK.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVES: To assess user and potential user views on the appropriateness, nature and quality of genitourinary medicine (GUM) provision in Bristol, UK and to develop a model for ongoing user consultation by GUM providers and purchasers. DESIGN: This qualitative study was based on semi-structured interviews with service users, potential users, community informants and NHS professionals. PARTICIPANTS: 76 current, past or potential users, 10 community informants and 11 NHS professionals were interviewed. African-Caribbean women and men, homeless men and women, lesbians and gay men, men and women living with HIV and women working in the sex industry were recruited to maximise the diversity of the sample. RESULTS: The interviews demonstrated that participants commented positively on many aspects of the service available. The research also identified a number of areas where the service could be improved. Many users emphasised their initial difficulty in finding out about the department and the need for greater publicity and outreach. Users reported coming to the clinic with high levels of anxiety and negative preconceptions about the GUM service. Specific issues were identified for different groups of users. There was a strongly expressed need from a number of women and African-Caribbean men for completely single sex clinics. CONCLUSIONS: The research identified a number of issues of importance to service users that had not been identified in the department's own questionnaire surveys. The results support the premise that qualitative interviews can be successfully employed to access a diverse sample of users, and can offer insights significantly beyond those available from structured patient questionnaires.

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