Evaluating Unity Sexual Health rapid results service

Demand for HIV and sexually transmitted infection testing is on the rise, but local authority budgets for sexual health services are shrinking. Unity Sexual Health provides sexual health services for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. They are redesigning their services to improve access and delivery of care, while remaining cost-effective.

At the moment, patients may have to wait over a week for chlamydia and gonorrhoea test results, and then must return to the clinic for treatment. Unity is introducing a new service where patients drop off their samples which are then checked with new rapid testing equipment, so that results, treatment and advice can be given within hours. As most sexual infections don’t cause any symptoms, early detection and treatment can help stop infections spreading and prevent serious disease developing.

Project aims

We are collaborating with Unity Sexual Health to evaluate the changes to the Unity Central Health Clinic service. We will:

  • Interview people who have used the service in Bristol, and staff working in the service, to find out their experiences and views. We will also observe how the new service is working in practice
  • Look at data from before and after the changes, to see how the new service affects the cost and delivery of care

Brighton and Hove Sexual Health & Contraception Service are involved in this part of the study, so we can compare the service changes in Bristol with a similar service where the changes haven’t been made.

Anticipated impacts

The project will give Unity swift feedback on how the new service is working for different patients and staff, and allow them to make changes if necessary. It will also provide valuable information for policymakers and healthcare professionals across the UK who may be interested in setting up similar rapid results services.

Lead collaborators

  • Dr Patrick Horner, Unity Sexual Health
  • Dr Suneeta Suni, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

CLAHRC West staff

Dr Emer Brangan

Jo Kesten

Dr Joanna Kesten

Dr Theresa Redaniel

Partners on this project

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust is a dynamic group of hospitals in the heart of Bristol, with over 100 clinical services across nine sites. They offer care to the people of Bristol and the South West, and have an international reputation for cardiac surgery, paediatric services, oncology and bone marrow transplantation and are the largest centre for medical training and research in the South West.