Data previously collected on the facilities and diagnostic criteria used in clinics for sexually transmitted diseases in England and Wales were reanalysed to established how different consultant policies affected the management of individual cases. Several discrepancies were found between conclusions based on percentages of clinics and those based on numbers of cases. Full-time facilities for contact tracing were available to more cases than previously suggested and rectal sampling in women was more widespread. Laboratory facilities were limited and cultural facilities lacking in small clinics, which thus affected only a small number of cases. Previous indications that diagnostic criteria were fairly standardised in the diagnosis of non-specific urethritis were found to be invalid. Variation in the management of individual cases was found to lead to inconsistencies in the notification of STDs to the Department of Health and Social Security.
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