Management of chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections diagnosed in primary care using a centralised nurse-led telephone-based service: mixed methods evaluation

Jeremy Horwood*, Emer Brangan, Petra Manley, Paddy Horner, Peter Muir, Paul North, John Macleod

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Up to 18% of genital Chlamydia infections and 9% of Gonorrhoea infections in England are diagnosed in Primary Care. Evidence suggests that a substantial proportion of these cases are not managed appropriately in line with national guidelines. With the increase in sexually transmitted infections and the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, their timely and appropriate treatment is a priority. We investigated feasibility and acceptability of extending the National Chlamydia Screening Programme’s centralised, nurse-led, telephone management (NLTM) as an option for management of all cases of chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnosed in Primary Care. Methods: Randomised feasibility trial in 11 practices in Bristol with nested qualitative study. In intervention practices patients and health care providers (HCPs) had the option of choosing NLTM or usual care for all patients tested for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. In control practices patients received usual care. Results: One thousand one hundred fifty-four Chlamydia/gonorrhoea tests took place during the 6-month study, with a chlamydia positivity rate of 2.6% and gonorrhoea positivity rate of 0.8%. The NLTM managed 335 patients. Interviews were conducted with sixteen HCPs (11 GPs, 5 nurses) and 12 patients (8 female). HCPs were positive about the NLTM, welcomed the partner notification service, though requested more timely feedback on the management of their patients. Explaining the NLTM to patients didn’t negatively impact on consultations. Patients found the NLTM acceptable, more convenient and provided greater anonymity than usual care. Patients appreciated getting a text message regarding a negative result and valued talking to a sexual health specialist about positive results. Conclusion: Extension of this established NLTM intervention to a greater proportion of patients was both feasible and acceptable to both patients and HCP, could provide a better service for patients, whilst decreasing primacy care workload. The study provides evidence to support the wider implementation of this NLTM approach to managing chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnosed in primary care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number265
JournalBMC Family Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration West (NIHR ARC West) and supported by NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Behavioural Science and Evaluation and Bristol Health Partners’ Sexual Health Improvement Programme Health Integration Team (SHIP HIT). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Chlamydia
  • General practice
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Partner notification
  • Qualitative research
  • Sexual health


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