Sexual medicine

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7105.429 (Published 16 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:429

Integrated services for sexual health care are the way forward

  1. M Thomas, Consultant in family planning and reproductive health carea
  1. a Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 7AW
  2. b Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London NW1 4RG
  3. c Archway Sexual Health Clinic, London N19 5NF
  4. d Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast BT12 6BA

    Editor—In their editorial, Jona Lewin and Michael King concluded that there was an urgent need for the emergence of sexual medicine as a new specialty.1 They called for closer liaison between medical and other relevant disciplines. Family planning, genitourinary medicine, gynaecology services, and primary care are separated in geographical and political terms. Furthermore, the narrow focus of most medical training compounds the problem. Integrated services are the way forward.

    In light of this radical vision for the future it was depressing to read Virginia Royston's personal view on the forced change in her family planning service from one available to all to one geared only towards young people.2 She claims that general practice is for the “really ill” and not an appropriate place for women with contraceptive problems. In fact, the bulk of a general practitioner's workload consists of psychosocial and preventive care. General practitioners should (and usually do) provide a holistic response to their patients' health needs. They are well placed to address the contraceptive needs of their patients. General practitioners have access to their patients' medical and …

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