Nurse-led appointment system
A. Tyrer, S. Jones
Abacus Clinics for Contraception and Reproductive Health, Liverpool, UK
Introduction: Abacus is a busy City Centre Clinic providing
contraception, sexual and reproductive health services, which deals with 24,000
drop-in visits per year. The service is open six days and four evenings a week.All
nurses can deal with uncomplicated consultations including starting and
continuing pills and injectable contraceptives. Clients are seen in order of
arrival and given the length of time they require, which can be anything from 5
minutes to an hour depending on their needs. Clients are mostly very happy with
the service but we have had complaints from some, returning for repeat pills and
injections with no problems, if they have to wait for a long time.
Aims and methods: To ease pressure on busy clinics and reduce client
waiting times by providing a limited, nurse-led, appointment system to deal with
repeat visits that can be predicted as being short. We designed a paper slip to
give to established pills or injectable contraceptive users, with no problems.
It gives their clinic identification number, the name of the last person they
saw and the phone number to make appointments. These can only be made up to a
week in advance. There are six slots of 15 minutes each between 9:00 am and
10:30 am on three mornings a week. These are currently the quietest clinic times.
The staff was informed by notices in the rooms and the monthly newsletter in
Results: After a slow initial phase the service is proving successful
and clients appreciate not having to wait to be seen in busier clinics. This is
especially appreciated by women working in the city centre who find it difficult
to justify a long absence from work but can arrange to arrive slightly late at
work every few months.
Conclusion: It is possible to combine our ethos of open access and
giving clients the time they need with an efficient service for people who lead
busy lives and wish a quick appointment. As the system has only been in place a
short time, the impact on waiting times in busier clinics is still being
assessed. An audit will be carried out when the service has been in place 6