Background/introduction Open access to sexual health services reduces STI’s and onwards transmission. Given cuts to Public Health budgets, a better understanding of how patients access care is vital to rationalise services.
Aim(s)/objectives Assessing demographics and health behaviours of sexual health clinic attendees to improve service delivery.
Methods Patient-directed questionnaires were completed on registration in a London Trust. Information including demographics, travel times and whether patients sought help before attending were collected.
Results 231 surveys were returned with respondents 48% white, 23% black and 13% Asian. 62% of patients walked-in, 34% booked online. 52/217 (24%) sought advice from elsewhere before attending (primarily GP - 26/52, 50%) with 50% finding it useful. Of 107 responses, 41 (38%) tried self-treating before attendance. Symptomatic patients were more likely then asymptomatic patients to seek help elsewhere (40/113 versus 12/99, p < 0.05). No significant differences in behaviour were observed given age, ethnicity or employment, or previous STI < 12 months ago. No patients with qualifications less than GCSE sought prior to attendance. 80% of patients travelled under 30 minutes to clinic, 58% attended their closest clinic.
Discussion/conclusion Our data demonstrates the clinics surveyed serving a very local population. However a significant proportion of patients, particularly those with symptoms, seek help elsewhere before attending, with only 50% finding this useful. This highlights the importance of specialist services addressing local patients’ health needs. Overall socio-demographic factors did not appear to influence health seeking behaviour, although those with a lower education status appeared to access services more directly.
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