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Improving the interface between family planning services and genitourinary medicine in Portsmouth, UK: a ‘virtual corridor’
  1. Alison Blume, MRCP, DipGUM, Specialist Registrar1,
  2. Jean Tobin, FRCOG, FRCP, Consultant1,
  3. Sally Kidsley, DFFP, MRCOG, Registrar2 and
  4. Graham Davies, MD, FRCOG, Consultant2
  1. Department of Genitourinary Medicine, St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth, UK
  2. Ella Gordon Unit, St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alison Blume, Department of Genitourinary Medicine, St Mary's Hospital, Milton Road, Portsmouth PO3 6AD, UK. E-mail: alison.blume{at}


Background and methods In locations where the genitourinary medicine (GUM) department and the family planning services (FPS) are on separate sites, studies have shown a low rate of attendance of clients referred between the sites. We developed a coupon system to allow clients referred from one site to be seen without a wait in the open-access clinic at the other site. Data from the first 5 months were collected.

Results A total of 59 clients were referred from the FPS to GUM during the time period studied. Of these, 54 (91.5%) attended the GUM clinic. The majority (67%) were referred with symptoms suggestive of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), while other reasons for referral included contacts of STI, high-risk behaviour, and following a sexual assault. Some 40% of clients were seen within 30 minutes of their referral. Of clients referred from GUM to FPS, 12/18 (67%) attended the clinic. This is significantly lower than the attendance of clients referred to GUM (p = 0.016). For GUM to FPS referrals, 63% were seen within 30 minutes of their referral. Seven clients were referred for consideration of intrauterine device insertion for emergency contraception but only four attended. Similarly, of the four clients referred who were not using any contraception only one attended.

Discussion and conclusions We believe the coupon system helped increase attendance rates of clients referred between the two clinics, especially by eliminating the wait in the second clinic. The lower rate of attendance in those referred for contraception is of concern.

  • client referral
  • family planning service provision
  • genitourinary medicine
  • sexually transmitted infection

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