Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Nurses told to give chlamydia tests to relations to hit screening targets

  • 3 Comments

Nurses have accused a private company running NHS sexual health services of using “completely unacceptable” tactics to hit screening targets, after it told them to hand out chlamydia tests to family and friends.

A leaked 1 September memo, seen by Nursing Times, told staff at Sexual Health Teeside: “In line with chlamydia screening and current targets, as a team I would like to ask each member of staff to take home five chlamydia screening packs and distribute to family and friends.”

The service was transferred to private company Assura Stockton earlier this year.

The Royal College of Nursing Northern said the memo revealed a “completely unacceptable way to get the numbers up”.

RCN northern region assistant officer Lin Clarkson said: “Assura Medical only took over the contract from the NHS a few months ago, but if this is the sort of business practice we can expect from them, it does raise serious questions about how NHS services are being delivered.”

But a spokesman for Assura Medical said the rate of Chlamydia screening for 15 to 24 year olds had increased from 19 per cent to 31 per cent since it took over the service.

He added: “Friends and family are not exempt from the need for health education and anything that has the potential to break down the taboo of discussing sexual health issues with friends and family has got to be a good thing for the local population.”

A spokeswoman for primary care trust cluster NHS Tees said: “We were not aware of the internal Assura memo and will be reviewing the appropriateness of this and other health promotion activities as part of the routine contracting process.”

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • Presumably the ethical issues of a Nurse testing their partner and getting a different result to their own didn't occcur to anyone?

    Its a fair point that its wrong to assume that friends and family are "clear" but it is an extremely poorly thought out strategy.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Ah private companies - they really do drive standards up.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 4-Nov-2011 6:10 pm hahaha!! I could not have said that better myself! Welcome to the new NHS!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.