“A report on a syphilis outbreak in the Auckland region highlights the need for a properly resourced sexual health service there,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).
He was commenting on a New Zealand Medical Journal article by Dr Sunita Azariah, reported in the media, that the number of syphilis cases in Auckland reached its highest level in recent decades last year (http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/87631696/syphilis-cases-spike-in-auckland).
Publication of the article comes as senior doctors and other health professionals are bracing themselves for an Auckland District Health Board decision on the future shape of the regional sexual health service. They fear the DHB will press ahead with a proposal that could cut the number of sexual health specialists at a time when rates of HIV and syphilis are rising (http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201826445/auckland-dhb-plans-to-cut-sexual-health-specialists).
“Today’s article is a further reminder of the importance of keeping on top of serious infections like syphilis and doing all we can to reduce its transmission within the community,” says Ian Powell.
“It’s further evidence that the Auckland regional sexual health service needs to have enough people, with the right mix of senior medical and other expertise, to provide safe, effective treatment.
“Any review or changes to the service really needs to be clinically-led rather than imposed by hospital managers, and we’re expecting the DHB to listen to its highly trained sexual health workforce on this matter.”