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Sexual health care training needs of general practitioner trainers: a regional survey
  1. Wolfgang A Markham, BSc, PhD, Lecturer1,
  2. Alison D Bullock, BA, PhD, Senior Research Fellow2,
  3. Vickie R Firmstone, BA, PhD, Research Fellow2,
  4. Philippa Matthews, MBBS, FRCGP, Programme Director for HIV and Sexual Health3,
  5. Stephen Kelly, FRCP, FRCGP, Director, Postgraduate General Practice Education3 and
  6. Steve J Field, MMEd, FRCGP, Postgraduate Dean3
  1. School of Health and Social Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  2. School of Education, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  3. West Midlands Deanery, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Wolfgang Markham, School of Health and Social Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK. E-mail: wolfgang.markham{at}


Objectives The National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV aims to facilitate improved patient access to sexual health care, primarily in general practice. This study aimed to identify sexual health care provision in general practitioner (GP) training practices and highlight training and resource implications of the strategy for GPs and prospective GPs.

Methods Data were gathered from interviews with five key representatives (all of whom had a special interest in GP training and/or sexual health care) and a self-completed questionnaire survey of all 374 GP trainers in the West Midlands region. The questionnaire was developed from the interviews and comprised three sections: sample characteristics; current practice; and 30 statements to elicit attitudes, knowledge and training implications. The questionnaire was mailed out in March 2002 with two re-mailings at 2-week intervals.

Results Most GP trainers (79%; n = 295) returned completed questionnaires. Most respondents were already offering some ‘Level 1 services’ or were prepared to including cervical screening (100%; n = 295), sexual history taking (95%; n = 271), sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing (74%; n = 217), HIV testing (68%; n = 198) and contraceptive services (71%; n = 208). However, most (86%; n = 251) needed further information on the Strategy detail and its implications. Training needs in sexual history taking, STI testing and HIV testing were also highlighted. Most GP trainers (62%; n = 181) believed GP registrars were relatively unprepared for sexual health care and proposed improved training and assessment. Appropriate nurse training should also be provided.

Conclusion Although 82% (n = 242) of respondents would implement the Strategy if properly resourced, considerable training and support needs were identified.

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