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Wednesday 20th June 2018

GP sexual health care inadequate

29th July 2008

A report commissioned by the Department of Health has shown that GPs are not providing a high enough standard of sexual health services.


The report looked into the impact of the National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV. The strategy began in 2001 and will run for a decade.

The strategy has been successful in a number of areas. These include a decrease in the number of teenage pregnancies, an improvement in accessibility for NHS-financed abortions, better genitourinary treatment and offering chlamydia screens at all PCTS in the UK.

However the review has emphasised the inconsistent nature of services, due to many reasons including financial problems and reforms.

The review was written by the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual and HIV by the Medical Foundation for AIDS & Sexual Health (MedFASH).

The strategy has been hampered by varying funding and performance indicators. The engagement of GPs in the provision of sexual health services has shown "variable progress".

Results of these variable services include more cases of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and more requests for abortions.

The report has recommended that sexual health should form a part of changes to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for GPs.

Ruth Lowbury, Executive Director of MEDFASH and co-author of the report, said: "There are examples of really wonderful practice by family doctors.

"But there are some GPs, we have heard, who haven't really been interested in engaging with sexual health."

Professor Steve Field, Chairman of the RCGP, said: "The report highlights some deficiencies which I am sure GPs will reflect on, but I don’t see this as a criticism of general practice."


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