Background/introduction In 2004 the Department of Health introduced a mandatory target for 100% of all patients in England to be offered 48-hour appointments by 2008. In 2010 these targets were removed and in April 2013 further changes to healthcare provision were introduced, with local authorities commissioning GUM (genitourinary medicine) services.
Aim(s)/objectives To assess the effect of recent commissioning changes to the accessibility to GUM clinics.
Methods During November 2014 male and female researchers telephoned all UK GUM clinics that were open for more than one day per week. Researchers contacted clinics twice: firstly presenting with symptoms consistent with an acute sexually transmitted infection and secondly requesting an appointment for an asymptomatic screen.
Results Of 236 clinics contacted, 89% could accommodate symptomatic ‘patients’ within 48 h with 53% of these on a walk-in basis only. Suggested waiting times ranged between 20 min and 3 h. 20% of asymptomatic ‘patients’ were unable to book an appointment and 58% of appointments were offered within 48 h. 86% of asymptomatic ‘patients’ were offered either a walk in service or appointment within 48 h.
Discussion/conclusion Overall 88% of ‘patients’ could be offered a time to be seen in a GUM clinic within 48 h, lower than last year’s figure of 95% and the BASHH standard of 98%, suggesting service access has deteriorated. Further work will include a postal questionnaire to lead clinicians to evaluate their expectations on service access and visits to 33% of GUM clinics to explore the relationship between suggested waiting times and reality.
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