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HPA warns of crisis in GUM clinics

The Department of Health is set to miss its key target for sexual health care unless it ploughs in significant extra investment, a new Health Protection Agency study has warned.

The HPA researchers urged ministers to make additional resources available to 'address this crisis' after their analysis found only a small improvement in access to genitourinary medicine clinics.

GPs warned the problems with access to GUM clinics left them with an increased burden of cases and demanded funding for enhanced services on sexual health.

The new study, presented at the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV spring meeting last month, found the percentage of patients gaining an appointment at a GUM clinic within 48 hours increased by 5 points from May 2004 to August 2005, from 38 to 43 per cent.

The department has set a 100 per cent target to be achieved by 2008. As many as 19 per cent of emergency cases were still not seen in 48 hours.

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