Objectives: To assess the public health consequence of patients electing not to be seen within 48 hours in a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
Methods: A 3-month retrospective case notes review was carried out for 310 new and re-book patients who chose to wait for more than 48 hours to be seen.
Results: Altogether, 10% (310/3110) of patients opted to be seen beyond 48 h. Their median wait was 6 days including weekends and 4 days excluding weekends. Demographic details did not vary except for the male to female ratio of 1:1.7 (1:1 in patients seen within 48 h).
We found that no symptomatic patients or asymptomatic contacts of those with known sexually transmitted infections (STIs) reported sex with a new partner after booking their appointment. No patient reported sex with a recently treated partner who consequently required re-treatment and none suffered a complication of a STI. In addition, there were no cases of new HIV infection in this group and the rates of STIs were similar compared with patients seen within 48 hours of contacting the unit.
Conclusions: Despite 10% of patients choosing to delay attendance beyond 48 h, no adverse public health outcomes were demonstrated.
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See Editorial, p 514
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: As a service evaluation study, it was approved by the clinical audit facilitator at Southampton City PCT (Audit No: 407).
Contributors: LS: study design, data collection, data analysis, drafting of manuscript; EF: study design, data analysis, drafting of manuscript; SS: data collection; DR: data analysis GY: data analysis; RP: study design, data collection, data analysis, drafting of manuscript.