This site is intended for health professionals only

RCN calls for chlamydia investment

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has urged ministers to invest more in sexual health services and school nurses after a report criticised the national initiative for chlamydia testing.

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said young people were not taught about safer sex when they took part in the screening, even though health professionals were told to give advice.

Dr Peter Carter, General Secretary of the RCN, said: "For years the RCN has said that raising young people's awareness of chlamydia is key to preventing the disease.

"Greater investment in school nursing and sexual health services is needed to ensure young people are fully aware of the risks of sexually transmitted infections before it is too late.

"Screening is only part of the package and must be combined with effective awareness and prevention programmes in order to reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)."

The programme was heavily criticised last November when a National Audit Office report said it had wasted millions of pounds of public money during its first four years, as practical lessons on how to implement testing were not learned.

In the latest PAC report, MPs said the government failed to bring in adequate measures to check whether chlamydia screening was effective, there was inefficient commissioning of services and equipment, and that different health trusts incurred different costs.

PAC chairman, Tory MP Edward Leigh, said: "This is a classic example of what can happen when the responsibility for delivering a national initiative is pushed down to local level, with little thought about the mechanisms and interventions needed at national and regional level to maintain efficiency and momentum."

Copyright © Press Association 2010


Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"The last comment is quite true - trusts vary considerably in what they are prepared to spend. In my trust at one time one poor girl had to do all the paperwork and contact tracing in 10 hours! The sexual health lead said she could tap-in to other resources  what a joke! Plus what is the real value of just testing for chlamydia if we are supposed to be getting to grips with HIV then surely the basic four syphilis, HIV, gonorrhoea and chlamydia need to be done. What use is a chlamydia test to someone with gonorrhoea or HIV? Let's have more investment in nurses to see patients with sexual health needs after all we give musch better value for money!" - Helen Chapman