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In order to meet current government targets for access to sexual health services in the UK, genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics need to modernise their services. The rising incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), coupled with an inadequate amount of investment in services, has led to unacceptable waiting times for patients requiring appointments. As a result, many clinics are exploring innovative ways to increase capacity and improve access to their services.
One significant strategy for releasing capacity within existing services has been a move towards reducing the number of follow-up visits. A target follow-up to new-case ratio of 1 or lower has been recommended by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV in 2003 (BASHH).1 The average follow-up to new-case ratio in England and Wales decreased from 2.2 in 1990 to 1.2 in 2002.2,3 This was largely due to a number of new developments in sexual healthcare including …