An investigation into methods of improving the management of sexual health promotion and problems by health professionals in general practice.
To demonstrate an improvement in the management of sexual health promotion and problems
by health professionals in general practice after they had participated in learning about sexual
1. To establish if the literature suggests that promotion of sexual health is appropriate in
2. To determine from health professionals in general practices:
a) the current management of sexual health
b) the amount and perceived usefulness of training in sexual health
c) current knowledge, attitudes and skills in sexual health by self-assessment
d) what further training was desired
e) their response to learning activities in sexual health promotion
f) perceived barriers to learning activities among the responders who did not access them.Method
Following the literature search, a postal questionnaire was sent to health professionals in
general practices in North Staffordshire. Learning opportunities were offered and audit
outcomes recorded. Those who wanted further learning, but did not take up the activities
offered, were surveyed.
Few health professionals had received more than five days pre-qualification training in sexual
health and nearly all would like to learn more. One third took up the activities offered during a
twelve-month period and showed improvement in their management of sexual health. Lack of
protected time for learning was given as a common reason for non-participation.
The literature survey suggested that clinical staff competency to manage sexual health
promotion and problems would benefit patient health. Learning of varied types, together with
audit activities, needs further investigation for efficacy in improving the abilities of health
professionals to promote sexual health and manage sexual health problems. Without protected
time for learning, it seems likely that only a minority of health professionals will be willing or
able to fill the gaps in their knowledge and skills.