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Brief encounters
  1. Helen Ward, Editor

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    A crisis in sexual health services has been described in the UK, with growing waiting times for patients. Clinics and local service networks are working hard to try and meet new, exacting government targets, but the mismatch between demand and capacity is not well defined. Clarke and colleagues carried out a survey in their clinic, which operated a restrictive booking system in whereby patients could only book 1 or 2 days ahead. For a one week period they employed extra staff to log all patients trying to make an appointment by phone, in person or by written referral, and whether or not they were offered an appointment. They found that to be able to offer an appointment to all patients within 48 hours, they would need 626 appointment slots each week, three and a half times more …

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