How can I choose a clinic in the UK?
I am wondering which HIV clinic to register with.
How can you find out which HIV clinics in the UK are better than others? For example, can you find out survival rates, waiting times, whether they have nutritionists, counselling etc?
Also, given the current ‘cash crisis’ in the NHS – is it possible to find out which clinics are facing bigger cut backs than others? Thanks
Choosing a clinic will usually depend on where you live or work. But with HIV, you can register at any sexual health clinic. This means you can choose from any clinic.
If you live in London or another large town, then you are likely to have a choice of several clinics that are all easy to travel too.
In London, for example, there are at least 12 hospitals. Several other large cities have more than one specialist HIV clinic. It is easy to visit clinics before you register to ask about other services.
The two largest HIV clinics in the UK are the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and the Royal Free Hospital, both of which are in London. Larger clinics are sometimes better if you have complex medical problems. If you are on stable treatment (called ART) then you might want a local clinic that is easier to get to.
ART is now so good that monitoring visits might only be once or twice a year. Many hospitals also use home delivery services to get your meds.
Usually the larger the HIV clinic, the broader the range of other specialist services, but this isn’t always the case. Generally with HIV, the larger clinics have more experience treating HIV, but care can still be very good at smaller units and still be variable at larger hospitals.
Taking an active role in your own health care is always good. This includes developing a good relationship with a doctor that you trust.
There are no registers where you can compare clinics by results. Similarly, I am not aware of any ranking for likelihood of future budget cuts for HIV clinics. These may be available in the future, but aren’t currently available now.
The website of British Association for Sexual Health and HIV has a directory of clinics for the UK on the home page that you can search by town or postcode.
This page also has more info:
If you have any trouble, the i-Base phoneline can also provide contact details for HIV clinics. We can also talk about issues related to choosing a clinic, in more detail.
This answer was updated in 2021 from an original question from 2006. It is notable that the reference to budgets comes from the 2006 question and we are still facing these problems.