Danayan Luxmanan, Madeleine Macdonald, William Jasper, Rajul Patel
Genitourinary Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton
In recent years, demand for STI (sexually transmitted infection) services has grown, whilst budgets for public health have fallen. In spring 2017, Southampton and Portsmouth Sexual Health Services adopted a telephone triage service to improve efficiency and cope with rising pressures. This replaced an open access walk-in service with an initial telephone triage: vulnerable, symptomatic and patients at high risk of having an STI were booked into clinic. Others were signposted to self-sample NHS postal testing services.
This study aimed to establish whether patient care was disadvantaged by the launch of the telephone triage service.
Electronic patient records for all patients treated for gonorrhoea in Southampton and Portsmouth between October 2014-16 and October 2017-19 were interrogated. Using a service evaluation tool, the site (urethral, rectal, pharyngeal) and duration of symptoms at the time of testing was noted and compared before and after service change.
1,279 patients were diagnosed with gonorrhoea across both centres: 364 had urethral symptoms, 45 had rectal symptoms and 18 had pharyngeal symptoms. 72.3% of patients with urethral symptoms presented to the service for testing after the introduction of the triage system.
The median wait for patients with urethral symptoms increased from 6 (IQR=3-7) to 7 (IQR=3.75-14) days. A Mann-Whitney U test showed this difference is not statistically significant (P=0.058). There was no statistically significant difference between the service provisions for rectal or pharyngeal symptoms (P=0.422 and P=0.581).
The introduction of the telephone triage services did not increase wait times for patients attending with symptomatic gonorrhoea. Its introduction may have inadvertently increased the willingness of patients to seek testing. Despite some outliers, overall, triaging patients does not increase wait times to seek treatment for STIs.
34 IUSTI Congress - European Congres on Sexually transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS
TAMING THE TIDE of STIs & HIV
Bucharest, September 3-5,