Sex Transm Infect 82:484-488 doi:10.1136/sti.2006.020750
  • In practice

Public involvement in modernising genitourinary medicine clinics: using general public and patient opinion to influence models of service delivery

  1. J D C Ross1,
  2. A Copas2,
  3. J Stephenson2,
  4. L Fellows1,
  5. G Gilleran1
  1. 1Whittall Street Clinic, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor J D C Ross
 Whittall Street Clinic, Whittall Street, Birmingham B4 6DH, UK;jonathan.ross{at}
  • Accepted 28 May 2006
  • Published Online First 6 June 2006


Objectives: To determine which of the options available to modernise genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics in the UK are most acceptable to patients and potential patients; to assess whether the views of a general population sample differ from those of clinic attenders. .

Methods: A questionnaire was used to explore the acceptability of different ways of delivering sexual healthcare including the potential trade-off between convenience/range of services with cost/staffing constraints. Potential differences in responses by age, sex, ethnicity and current attendance at a GUM clinic were evaluated using multivariate analysis.

Results: 542 respondents in the community and 202 clinic attenders provided responses. Delivery of sexual healthcare by specialist nurses and general practitioners was acceptable to 81% and 72% of interviewees, respectively, assuming common protocols were adhered to. The proportion of individuals who would accept a consultation with a nurse increased to 91% if the waiting time for an appointment could be reduced as a result. Men were less likely to accept a consultation with a nurse (odds ratio (OR) 0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.35 to 0.79), and Asian (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.23 to 0.64) and other black (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.2 to 0.87) ethnic groups were less likely to accept a consultation with a general practitioner. 44% of patients preferred walk-in clinics even if waiting times for an appointment were reduced to 48 h.

Conclusion: Delivery of sexual healthcare by nurses and general practitioners was generally found to be acceptable, although this varies by patient sex and ethnicity. Some differences exist between the preferences of a general population sample compared with clinic attenders, but overall there is a high level of concordance. Walk-in clinics remain a popular choice even when appointment waiting times are short.


  • Published Online First 6 June 2006

  • Funding: This study was supported by Heart of Birmingham tPCT.

  • Competing interests: JDCR and AC are associate editors of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

  • Ethics approval: Ethical approval was obtained for the study from South Birmingham LREC.

    Contributors: JDCR: study concept, design, study management, manuscript preparation; AC: design, data analysis, manuscript preparation; JS: design, manuscript preparation; LF: data collection, study management; GG: data collection, study management.