The limits of health-care seeking behaviour: how long will patients travel for STI care? Evidence from England's 'Patient Access and the Transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections' ('PATSI') study

Int J STD AIDS. 2008 Dec;19(12):814-6. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2008.008205.


The objective of this study was to identify factors associated with (i) longer patient travel time to genitourinary (GU) medicine clinics and (ii) not attending the nearest clinic. Questionnaires were completed by 4600 new attendees from seven sociodemographically and geographically different GU clinics across England between October 2004 and March 2005. These data were then linked to the routine clinic database. Median travel time was 25 minutes and varied significantly by clinic (P < 0.001) but not by gender (P = 0.96). Of all the respondents, 10% spent at least one hour getting to a GU clinic and this was significantly more likely in patients with less education, those who travelled by public transport and those who did not attend their closest clinic. Longer travel times were not associated with delays in seeking care. Patients reporting a previous sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis were more likely not to go to their nearest GU clinic (P = 0.0006), as were those who used/tried to use other health-care providers prior to attending the clinic (P = 0.007). To facilitate access to STI care, comprehensive local services need to be provided to avoid long journey times, especially for those who have to rely on public transport to get to clinic.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • England
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / drug therapy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Transportation / methods*
  • Venereology