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The impact of establishing a local-enhanced service for treating sexually transmitted infections in primary care

Abstract

Objectives: To consider whether a local-enhanced service in sexual health in City and Hackney, London, added to the services already provided within the borough and to compare the cost to the Primary Care Trust of diagnosing sexually transmitted infections (STI) in general practice and in the genitourinary medicine clinic.

Method: An observational study describing the local-enhanced service in primary care, including a quantitative analysis of swabs taken for chlamydial and gonorrhoeal infections at different venues before and after the introduction of the local-enhanced service.

Results: 32 out of 51 general practices (63%) within City and Hackney joined the local-enhanced service. An upward trend in the proportion of chlamydial infection swabs taken in general practice compared with other venues predated the introduction of the local-enhanced service. Practices participating in the local-enhanced service accounted for over 99% of the STI diagnosed in primary care and for 8% of the cases of chlamydial infection diagnosed in the borough. The cost per STI diagnosed within the local-enhanced service was £930.

Conclusion: The local-enhanced service provided a supportive and incentivised framework for STI testing within primary care. An inequity in service provision within general practice predating the local-enhanced service continued at the same level after the introduction of the local-enhanced service.

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