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Larger sexual health role for general practice

Chlamydia testing rates have shot up in general practice following a Public Health England (PHE) initiative. 

PHE's intervention, which focused on removing the barriers to offering chlamydia testing to young adults, increased general practice screening rates by 75% and diagnoses by 40%. 

Following training workshops, resources to improve practice awareness, patient information cards and computer prompts, the some nurses and doctors in the 76 pilot practices doubled their chlamydia testing. 

Dr Cliodna McNulty, head of PHE primary care unit, said: “General practice is a natural venue to engage young adults in chlamydia testing, and our intervention shows that providing the right skills and resources can significantly improve screening rates in this setting. 

“In doing so, we can also create opportunities for young adults to discuss good sexual health in an easily accessible and familiar place.” 

While over 60% of young adults in England attend general practices annually and the majority of contraception is prescribed in general practice, only 16% of the 136,000 tests delivered via the National Chlamydia Screening Programme came from this setting in 2012.

PHE is now piloting the new '3Cs & HIV' programme nationally to help improve sexual health provision and testing in general practice. 

'3Cs & HIV' builds on the lessons learnt from the trialled intervention to deliver an expanded sexual health intervention in general practices.