Quality statement 6: Partner notification

Quality statement

People diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection are supported to notify their partners.

Rationale

Supporting people who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to notify their partners can help to prevent reinfection and reduce the transmission of STIs. It can also ensure that their partners are tested, and if necessary treated, as soon as possible to prevent health complications.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence of local arrangements for partner notification to be discussed with people diagnosed with STIs.

Data source: Local data collection, such as service protocols. Included in the Department of Health and Social Care's Integrated sexual health services: national service specification.

b) Evidence of local arrangements for partner notification support to be provided to people diagnosed with STIs.

Data source: Local data collection, such as service protocols and referral pathways. Included in the Department of Health and Social Care's Integrated sexual health services: national service specification.

Process

Proportion of people diagnosed with an STI who have partner notification initiated.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who have partner notification initiated.

Denominator – the number of people diagnosed with an STI.

Data source: Local data collection. Public Health England's GUMCAD STI surveillance system collects data on partner notification being initiated.

Outcome

a) Coverage of testing for STIs: proportion of people attending the service who are tested for STIs.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, the proportion of young people screened for chlamydia and HIV testing coverage, are collected as part of Public Health England's Sexual and reproductive health profiles.

b) Number of people presenting as a partner of an index case diagnosed with an STI.

Data source: Local data collection. Public Health England's GUMCAD STI surveillance system collects data on people presenting as a partner of a person identified as having an index case of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV or non-specific genital infection.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers (such as primary care services, genitourinary medicine clinics and community health services) ensure that processes are in place for discussions about partner notification to take place when people are diagnosed with an STI. Service providers ensure that they have clear partner notification procedures in place, including referral pathways to specialist providers, so that people can be supported to notify their partners.

Healthcare professionals (such as GPs, practice nurses and sexual health consultants) ensure they are aware of local partner notification procedures and provide support to people diagnosed with an STI to notify their partners. Partner notification may be undertaken by the healthcare professional or the person diagnosed with an STI and may require referral to a specialist service.

Commissioners (clinical commissioning groups, local authorities and NHS England) ensure that they commission services that support people who are diagnosed with an STI to notify their partners. Commissioners ensure that the roles and responsibilities of different services in relation to partner notification are clear and that referral pathways are in place. Commissioners regularly monitor and review the overall effectiveness of local partner notification procedures.

People diagnosed with an STI are given encouragement and support from a healthcare professional to tell their partners about the STI. This will help partners to get tested as soon as possible and to receive treatment if they are also infected.

Source guidance

Sexually transmitted infections and under-18 conceptions: prevention (2007) NICE guideline PH3, recommendation 3

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Support to notify their partners

Partner notification procedures should be in place to provide support to contact, test and treat partners of people diagnosed with an STI. The support provided should be tailored to meet the individual's needs and if necessary people should be referred to a specialist with responsibility for partner notification. Partner notification may be undertaken by the healthcare professional or the person diagnosed with an STI.

[NICE's guideline on sexually transmitted infections and under-18 conceptions: prevention, recommendation 3].

Equality and diversity considerations

Services to support people to notify their partners about an STI should be accessible to people with additional needs such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and to people who do not speak or read English, or who have reduced literacy skills. People should have access to an interpreter or advocate if needed.