Triage up front

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Objectives:To assess the effectiveness of a newly developed triage tool to provide urgent access to genitourinary medicine (GUM) for patients. To appraise its value in compiling statistics for patients attending the department without appointments or those telephoning for advice.Method:Retrospective evaluation of triage forms completed by healthcare professional (HCP). Randomly selected triage forms completed for 250 male and 250 female patients attending a GUM clinic over a 3 month period.Result:Patients attending or telephoning with acute symptoms such as ulceration or abdominal pain, or as a result of sexual assault were offered same day or next day appointments in 100% of cases. However, for untreated chlamydial infection, testicular pain, and male urethritis the success rate fell to between 54–86%.Conclusion:The new form is easy to complete and allows a more structured triage of patients. It provides a standardised template for staff employed in GUM triage and facilitates accurate documentation and data collection of this important activity. All targets are not being met and patient distress is not adequately addressed or recorded to help service planning. However, accountable standardised data can be collected, which is important in defining the extent of the service and provides useful information for commissioners.

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