Julia Goldsworthy (Shadow Chief Secretary To the Treasury, Treasury; Falmouth and Camborne, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what interim monitoring her Department is undertaking of the delivery by primary care trusts and strategic health authorities of the Government's 2008 targets (a) to reduce the level of new infections of gonorrhoea and (b) to ensure that all patients have access to genito-urinary medicine clinics within 48 hours.
Caroline Flint (Minister of State (Public Health), Department of Health; Don Valley, Labour)
Data on the number of sexually transmitted infections for 2005 for each region were published by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) on
Sexual health and access to genito-urinary (GUM) clinics is one of the six top priorities for the national health service in 2006-07. By 2008 everyone should be offered an appointment within 48 hours of contacting a GUM clinic. Strategic health authorities (SHAs) have all submitted plans to meet this target.
The GUM clinic waiting times audit collects data on waiting times for all GUM clinics in England for a period of one week every quarter. All patients attending a GUM clinic with a new episode or registering for the first time are asked to complete the short questionnaire on waiting times. This audit has been chosen as the initial method of monitoring and improving access to genito-urinary medicine services. Current analysis is published on numbers seen within 48 hours. The most recent survey is for May 2006 which shows that in England 54 per cent. of attendees were seen within 48 hours and a further 4 per cent. were offered an appointment but did not attend. This compares with 45 per cent. seen within 48 hours in May 2004. A summary of the data is published on the HPA website at the following web address:
In addition the Department is working with SHAs and primary care trusts to establish a new continuous monitoring system for GUM access to all local areas to better performance manage their progress to the 2008 target. We expect GUM services to start returning data in August 2006.