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Genito-Urinary Medicine

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons developing Payment by Results in the area of sexual health services was not chosen as a priority, as stated in his Department's document, Options for the Future of Payment by Results 2008-09 to 2010-11 response to consultation, published on 24 January 2008. (201336)

The response to the consultation that the Department published on 24 January is a summary of responses, and not a detailed work programme. This is made clear in the document.

The identification of five priority areas (mental health, community services, critical care, urgent and emergency care and long term conditions) for future work by the Payment by Results (PbR) team was based on responses received to the consultation and available development resources. The five areas referred to each received more than 24 responses identifying them as priorities. Sexual health services received only a fraction of this level of support.

However, the Government set a target to offer everyone who needs it an appointment at a genito-urinary medicine clinic within 48 hours by March 2008. In February 2008, 97 per cent. of patients were offered an appointment to be seen, and 84 per cent. were seen within 48 hours. In May 2005, only 45 per cent. were offered an appointment to be seen within 48 hours.

Although sexual health was not highlighted as a national priority for PbR in the recent consultation exercise, this does not preclude local work being undertaken. The consultation encouraged local areas to apply to be development sites to pilot and evaluate local currencies for services outside the scope of the national tariff.

As a result, there are two developments sites looking at sexual health issues. One project, supported by the Department's sexual health team, is working to develop a tariff for HIV outpatients. The other project involves Portsmouth City Teaching Primary Care Trust investigating appropriate funding models for contraception services.

Further information on the work of these particular development sites can be found on the Department's website at: