Statistics from Altmetric.com
Sexual health services have been subject to great change over the past few years. The move towards an ‘integrated’ service has seen the amalgamation of family planning and genitourinary medicine (GUM) services along with the development of specialist services. However, the number of individuals accessing contraception via services has decreased by 2.2% (49 844) from April 2013 to March 2014, when compared with 2012/2013, based on the Sexual and Reproductive Health Activity Dataset (SRHAD).1 Oral contraceptives remain the most common form of contraception, used by 47% of women, while long-acting reversible contraception is used by 31%.1
Within our own integrated sexual health service, we wondered if the increasingly specialised nature of the service has impacted on individuals already established on their chosen method of contraception. Are their needs being met?
Current integrated service
Our service offers walk in ‘queue and wait’ morning sessions 5 days a week, plus appointments for contraception or GUM each afternoon and on three evenings a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). In addition, there are specialist community gynaecology, complex GUM, erectile dysfunction, psychosexual medicine and HIV clinics. There is a triage service provided by the nursing staff for those attending, either when the ‘queue and wait’ session has reached capacity or in the afternoon. This role involves determining the urgency of an individual's problem or requirement and arranging appropriate review on the basis of need. Following discussion with the nursing staff it became apparent that there was a significant number of women accessing triage because they had run out or were just about to run out of their contraception or were due their next contraceptive injection. Often they were unable to access an appointment at their general practitioner or, less commonly, with our service. Further, we noted that those attending …
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