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Short report
Young persons' access to genitourinary medicine clinics in the UK: a cross-sectional survey
  1. Melonie Thomas1,
  2. Kiri Dixon1,
  3. Amer Henry Ali1,
  4. Rajul Patel2,
  5. Angela J Robinson3,
  6. H M Yuen4,
  7. Elizabeth Foley2
  1. 1Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. 2Department of GU/HIV Medicine, Royal South Hants Hospital, St Mary's Road, Southampton, UK
  3. 3Mortimer Market Centre, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  4. 4Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Foley, Department of GU/HIV Medicine, Level B, Royal South Hants Hospital, St Mary's Road, Southampton SO14 0YG, UK; efoley{at}


Study Design This service evaluation of genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics in the UK was designed to quantify access for young people requesting to be seen and to establish whether they could be seen outside school hours.

Methods In December 2009 postal questionnaires were sent to all lead clinicians in UK GUM clinics asking when they expected a young person would be offered an appointment and whether it could be outside school hours. Between January and March 2010 trained male and female medical students posing as 16 year olds telephoned all GUM clinics listed on the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV website with symptomatic and asymptomatic scenarios and requested an appointment after school hours.

Results 99% of the 152 responding clinicians estimated that an appointment would be offered within 48 h for both male and female contacts and over 90% could be seen outside school hours whether symptomatic or not. Of the 666 clinic telephone contacts, 88% were offered an appointment within two working days, and 66% were offered an after school appointment within 2 days. There was no significant difference whether the ‘patient’ was symptomatic or not (87% vs 86%, respectively, p=0.784) in being offered an appointment within two working days. There was variation between countries, with England performing significantly better; 94% were offered an appointment within 2 days versus 58%, 55% and 67% for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively.

Conclusion The findings would support the impact and value of process targets on service delivery.

  • Adolescent
  • attitudes
  • audit
  • clinical care (general)
  • genital ulcers
  • genitourinary medicine services
  • guideline development
  • gum
  • herpes simplex
  • pregnancy
  • service delivery
  • sexually transmitted disease

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  • Funding Permission for this service evaluation was granted by the Department of Health (DH) and supported by an educational grant from ‘You're Welcome’ DH.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.