Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Data on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) diagnosed in Scottish genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics have been continuously collected since 1922. There have been several revisions to the data gathered and the way that this has been collected over that time. In 2009 clinics started a phased transition from recording data on STIs in STISS (Sexually Transmitted Infections Surveillance System) to NaSH (National Sexual Health System - a clinical management IT system being rolled out across all sexual health settings in Scotland).
The implementation, which will be of considerable benefit in the future, produced initial 'teething problems' inherent in the migration from one system to another. The use of NaSH to record STI information became further complicated by the integration of sexual health services in Scotland. This means that whereas people would traditionally attend a specific GUM clinic, they now attend generic sexual health clinics which encompass a wide range of purposes. This will increase the number of diagnoses recorded for STIs as people who typically attending Family Planning style clinics will now have their details entered into NaSH. In terms of reporting this causes complications as it becomes difficult to ascertain whether increases in numbers of diagnoses reflect a genuine increase in disease or the increased workload volume now being recorded.
In conjunction with our stakeholders, ISD has decided that it will no longer publish the mid-year STIs diagnosed in GUM data. Instead, data will be included in the annual report towards the end of each year.
The previous publications can still be found on the archived ISD website.
Reporting on STIs from laboratory data continues to remain unaffected by the described changes and is available from Health Protection Scotland.
Update on STI data recording - January 2012
In light of the challenges facing capture on STIs in Scotland, the ISD have worked to identify a replacement data source.
The roll out and adoption of NaSH across sexual health settings in Scotland offers a sensible and practical opportunity for a replacement data source. In consultation with the Sexual Health Clinical Leads for Scotland, a range of fields from NaSH were identified as minimum input criteria that would support the continuation of sexual health reporting from ISD. The criteria are based on a best fit replacement for STISS as well as containing fields that support the sexual health Key Clinical Indicators which are reported by ISD.
The minimum input criteria are applicable only to those settings that have NaSH available to them. It is expected that, once these settings are recording data to at least the extent detailed in the minimum input criteria, STISS coding will no longer be required. NHS boards with NaSH are encouraged to adopt the minimum input criteria by 1 January 2012. After this date STISS will only be supported for sexual health settings that do not have NaSH (e.g. the Island NHS boards).
The most recent version of the NaSH minimum input criteria and a questions and answers supporting document can be accessed using the links below.