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Patient access to GUM clinics
  1. Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 2JF, UK
  1. G.R.Kinghorn{at}

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The public health control of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) demands open and immediate access for individuals with symptoms or other reasons to suspect they may be infected. The paper by Foley et al in this issue of STI (p 12) suggests that almost one quarter of clinics contacted by individuals with symptoms suggestive of acute STI were not offered appointments to be seen within the next 48 hours. Yet there was virtual unanimity among consultants responsible for clinics participating in the study that there were arrangements for such patients to be seen urgently.

Moreover, a subsequent survey collaboratively organised by the Communicable Diseases Surveillance Centre, AGUM, and the MSSVD,1 has also shown disturbing inequities in the accessibility of GUM clinic services, and suggested that such difficulties are becoming increasingly widespread throughout the United Kingdom.

The “patients” employed in the study by Foley et al had skills in the use of the telephone, were articulate and able to …

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