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“Everyone thinks it’s someone else’s responsibility”: training for sexual health doctors

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 08 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5419

With sexual health service commissioning beset by intense financial pressures and split responsibilities, the specialties of genitourinary medicine and sexual and reproductive health face an uncertain future, finds Caroline White

Local authorities in England have been commissioning sexual health services since 2013. Now, an ongoing funding squeeze is fuelling fears that specialty training and workforce development in sexual health medicine are becoming unaffordable for providers—or that they may not see value in paying for them.

Councils don’t have to stipulate doctors’ training in their contract specifications, and they don’t receive separate funds for it. Responses to freedom of information requests from The BMJ to commissioning local authorities show that only a handful (17/147) seem to be aware of providers’ arrangements and costs or to take an active interest.

New priorities about service delivery

“Education and training have always been part of NHS services, but if you are suddenly employed by someone who doesn’t see that as their remit, it may no longer be part of your job description,” Steve Taylor, executive committee member of the British HIV Association, which represents professionals, told The BMJ.

“The feeling among providers is that they are there to provide a service. Your new priorities will be about service delivery: seeing patients and …

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