Work loads in venereal disease--sexually transmitted disease (STD)--genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics have risen greatly in recent years. The increase in viral infections which are more difficult and time consuming to manage than those caused by bacteria and the higher expectations and demands of patients have combined to increase workloads more than the case figures indicate. This prompted the Department of Health and Social Security in 1988 to set up a survey of clinics in England with the following terms of reference: "To examine current and forecast workloads on GUM clinics, taking account of AIDS and other STDs, and to recommend any action which may need to be taken on manpower (including nursing manpower), training, resources and accommodation". The team concluded that the GUM service was ill equipped to meet the demands for its services, and made 36 recommendations. The priority recommendations included: the need to provide more resources; government ministers should give a lead in developing the service; all health districts should provide care for STD and HIV infection; all new patients should be seen on the day of presentation or failing that on the next occasion the clinic was open. Other recommendations included: location of all GUM clinics in the general outpatient department of general hospitals; accommodation of the same standard as other outpatient departments; review of the distribution of clinics; review of staffing levels and roles; and coordination of care of HIV infection. Many of these recommendations have already led to action including a lead from government ministers and provision of more funds. Many of the problems and recommendations will apply in other countries.
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