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Public Health. 2008 Sep;122(9):845-56. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2007.10.009. Epub 2008 Jul 14.

Strategies used to increase chlamydia screening in general practice: a qualitative study.

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  • 1Microbiology Department, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Great Western Road, Gloucester GL1 3NN, UK.



To explore strategies used by chlamydia screening co-ordinators and practice staff to implement genital chlamydia screening within general practices.


Qualitative phenomenological study using individual semi-structured telephone interviews. Screening co-ordinators were selected purposively in Phase 1 and 2 areas of the Department of Health National Chlamydia Screening Programme in England, where there was significant screening in general practice. Open questions were asked about: the factors that determined high chlamydia screening rates; maintaining motivation for screening; and strategies to increase screening in general practices.


Co-ordinators reported that successful screening practices had a champion who drove the screening process forward. These practices had normalized screening, so all at-risk patients were offered opportunistic screening whenever they attended. This was facilitated by a variety of time-saving methods including computer prompts, test kits in the reception area, youth clinics and receptionist involvement. Chlamydia screening was sustained through frequent reminders, newsletters containing chlamydia screening rates, and advertising to the 'at-risk' population from the screening team. Co-ordinators' enthusiasm and project management skills were as important as sexual health experience. Co-ordinators reported that to facilitate chlamydia screening across all practices, screening could be included in the General Medical Services (GMS) contract, and a higher national profile was needed amongst health professionals and the public.


All practice staff need to be encouraged to become champions of the chlamydia screening programme through education, especially aimed at older clinicians and receptionists. The National Health Service should consider including chlamydia screening in the GMS contract. Increased public awareness will allow screening to be undertaken more quickly and by non-medical staff.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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