Original research articles

Something for the weekend! Saturday services – what do patients want and what do they need?

R Challenor FRCPEdin and Z Warwick MRCP

GUM Department, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth PL6 8DH, UK

Correspondence to: Dr Rachel Challenor Email: [email protected]

We investigated our patients’ preferences for weekend servicesat the same time as commencing a new Saturday clinic. Patientswere asked for their views on weekend services: 374 questionnaireswere returned; 210 (56%) from women and 164 (44%) from men.Saturday services were rated as more important than Sunday services.One hundred and eleven patients (29.7%) said they would be likely/verylikely to use a Saturday service, whereas only 67 (17.9%) ratedSunday services as important/very important. We also undertookan evaluation of our new Saturday service. A total of 214 patients(187 new/rebooks and 27 follow-ups) attended during the first12 weeks; average 18 patients per clinic; 107 (50%) men. Introducingtext appointment reminders reduced did not attend (DNA) ratesfrom 19% to 14% (background clinic DNA rate 10%). There weremore men (P = 0.01), more patients with symptoms (P < 0.0001)and more with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (P = 0.02)attending on Saturdays. We have increased access for those patientswho have difficulty attending on weekdays (56%), reduced anxiety(44%) and accessed a population with a high prevalence of STIs(44%). We conclude our Saturday service is affordable, sustainableand in patients’ interests. Other clinics may wish to look atthe needs of their local population and design services appropriateto their own area.

Key Words: service users’ • weekend • Saturday • genitourinary medicine