A 3 month pilot scheme offering sexually transmitted infection screening
to under 16’s who access services in a voluntary agency
K. Jones (1), M. Devine (2), C. Jones (2), B. Beeching (2), P. Roberts (1),
J. Davies (1), C. Bates (1)
Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Liverpool, UK (1); Merseyside Brook
Centre, Liverpool, UK (2)
Introduction: An audit was carried out on female clients under the age
of 16 presenting for emergency contraception between 1st March and 31st March
2003 at a City Centre Voluntary Agency for sexual health and contraception. The
clients had had unprotected sexual intercourse within the preceding 72 hours. An
invitation was given for them to attend the local Gum clinic and a referral
letter was given to every client. After 6 weeks GUM systems were checked for
attendance and none of these clients had attended.
Objectives: To discuss the process of setting up a fully integrated
GUM and contraceptive service in a voluntary setting. To evaluate whether under
16’s would access STI screening in a setting more familiar to them.
Design and methods: In September 2003 a family planning trained Nurse
Practitioner from GUM was appointed. She worked together with the Lead Nurse
from the Voluntary Organisation and the Management Teams to set up the GUM
service in the Voluntary Agency. Two family planning trained nurses from the
Voluntary Agency were appointed to work one session a week as Nurse
Practitioners. They both spent a period of time working in the local GUM clinic
training to Nurse Practitioner level. A training programme was followed. There
were briefing sessions organised to discuss the process with all members of the
Voluntary Agency teams. Policies were agreed around Health and Safety child
protection. Fraiser Guidelines were used to assess client’s competencies. The
lead Nurse Practitioner was a Extended Formulary Nurse Prescriber and Patient
Group Directions were drawn up to enable the other Nurse Practitioners to issue
treatments. All documentation was kept as part of Voluntary agency notes.
Results: In January 2004 a nurse led STI screening service, for two
sessions a week, was offered. Clients attending the Voluntary Agency were
offered an appointment for full sexual health screening. In the first four weeks
9 clients who were 16 and under made an appointment of these clients 7 attended.
5 of these clients were diagnosed with at least one thing. We will have full
results to show at Conference.
Conclusions: Although the uptake of the service by the 16 and under
age group was better than the attendance in a hospital setting the appointment
system still seemed to be a barrier to access. Young people in crisis need to be
seen quickly otherwise opportunities are missed. Under 16’s are now triaged
and seen at the next available clinic.