Objectives: To assess the public health consequence of patients electing not to be seen within 48 hours in a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
Methods: A three month retrospective case notes review was carried out for 310 new and rebook patients who chose to wait for more than 48 hours to be seen.
Results: 10% (310/3110) of patients opted to be seen beyond 48 hours. Their median wait was 6 days including weekends and 4 days excluding weekends. Demographic details did not vary except for the male to female ratio of 1:1.7 (1:1 in patients seen within 48 hours). We found that no symptomatic patients or asymptomatic contacts of those with known sexually transmitted infections (STIs) reported sex with a new partner after booking their appointment. Also no patient reported sex with a recently treated partner who consequently required re-treatment and none suffered a complication of an STI. In addition there were no cases of new HIV infection in this group and the rates of STIs were similar compared to patients seen within 48 hours of contacting the unit.
Conclusions: Despite 10% of patients choosing to delay attendance beyond 48 hours, no adverse public health outcomes were demonstrated.