'Incentivise STI checks in QOF'

The revamped quality framework (QOF) should include incentives for STI checks, say experts.

The call follows criticisms that since the ‘National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV’ was launched in 2001, GPs’ willingness to engage in sexual health issues has been ‘patchy’ across the country.

But some PCTs were also criticised for failing to commission sexual health services that GPs want to run.

‘The Darzi review had said the quality framework will be reviewed and we hope that’s an opportunity for sexual health to be in it,’ said Ruth Lowbury, from the Medical Foundation for Aids and Sexual Health (MedFASH), which carried out the review for the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV.

On a basic level, this would be GPs diagnosing HIV and other STIs early, said Ms Lowbury.

‘Then there are GPs with a special interest in sexual health and local boards can commission them to do more.’

GPs should also be offering a wider range of contraceptives to women, especially long-acting reversible contraceptives, said the review group. Not only are they cost-effective, evidence suggests around one in two women using contraceptives would prefer them, said MedFASH.

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV

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