The receptionist gently touches her arm and whispers: “You aren’t the first and you won’t be the last.”
With that, she points at a giant red sign looming behind them, which reads: “Keep calm and get a chlamydia test.”
These posters adorn the walls of the five British Surgery clinics in the heart of the popular party island of Mallorca, where two million Brits flock every year.
Their no-nonsense message is clear – Magaluf is fighting a war against this silent killer.
A sign outside the clinic states “79 per cent” of tourists who tested were infected. “Are you sure you don’t have it?”, it adds ominously. But all is not as it seems.
A Sun investigation reveals that the number of people who actually have an infection could be much lower, with some told they have an STI when in fact they have nothing of the sort.
Acting on a tip-off from a whistleblower, I and another Sun investigator were sent into the clinics.
Both of us were told we had an infection and were given antibiotics despite testing clear at a respectable London practice both before and after our trip to the resort.
Neither of us was given counselling or adequate health advice.
Our investigation shows how the chain of five clinics on the island — run by British expat Jill Harris and staffed mainly by Brits — exploits anxious and vulnerable tourists for profit.
It is the latest scandal to rock the party island following the food poisoning scam last year when holidaymakers were encouraged by the prospect of big payouts to make bogus insurance claims against hotels abroad.
STIs are not covered by travel insurance because they are seen as preventative.
But I was advised that I and the clinic should suggest for insurance purposes that I was treated for a sore throat.
Posing as a worried tourist, I visited the Cami Sa Porassa Surgery and told the receptionist I was showing the symptoms of an STI.
As our video shows, I was immediately asked if I had travel insurance — which I had under the fake identity of “Kim Williams” — but was not asked for any ID.
“Is chlamydia common in Magaluf?” I asked.
The receptionist merely giggled and pointed to the “Keep Calm” poster behind her.
I swabbed myself with a cotton bud and was told the results would be back within an hour. That was a surprise as other clinics on the isle had said the only appropriate laboratory on Mallorca is in the capital, Palma, 12 miles away, with a turnaround of three to four days.
Sure enough, an hour later I received a call from the clinic confirming it was chlamydia — which can lead to infertility, cervical cancer and arthritis if left untreated.
I left the clinic with a prescription for azithromycin, a common antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.
As I left, the receptionist told me: “You’ll be fine when you take the tablets, it will be all gone, and anything else. It clears everything.”
I thanked her for getting the test done so quickly and she said: “You wouldn’t get that in England.”
She’s not wrong. The week previously I had paid £150 for a DNA swab test at a top private London clinic promising fast results in five hours. It also involved a comprehensive consultation with the doctor who asked a series of questions including whether I was taking any other medication.
The results were negative.
A similar scenario played out when a second Sun investigator visited the Palma Nova branch of The British Surgery, also complaining of STI symptoms and joking she had been “very naughty”.
Again, after checking for her insurance details she was asked to fill out a claim form and told it could be put through as a skin rash or an injury picked up from an encounter with a SEA URCHIN.
This time Mrs Harris examined her and, after claiming she could “see” what the problem was, our writer was also diagnosed with an unnamed infection and prescribed a dose of azithromycin.
She was also reassured: “Normal sex doesn’t give you Aids.”
This second Sun investigator had also been checked by a reputable doctor and she, too, was also given a glowing sexual bill of health.
Because her insurance company policy called for the patient to pay the fees up front, she handed over 70 euros (about £60). An “STI swab” test would have cost a further 40 euros. The clinic makes money on a positive or negative diagnosis, of course — but the more Brits who believe the place is riddled with STIs, the more will walk through their doors.
Certainly the resort has a long reputation for STIs. The Sun told two summers ago of an outbreak of chlamydia in Magaluf.
And Feelsummer Magaluf, one of Europe’s leading ticket websites for tourists, has listed a warning online to anyone considering a holiday in the resort. It wrote: “Everybody understands that young people want to enjoy their holiday, but it’s important to always use a condom.
“The implications of unprotected sex are too serious to ignore and catching herpes or genital warts will ruin an otherwise fun holiday.”
But despite the evident dangers of contracting an STI, little to no counselling or health advice was given to our investigators, such as side-effects, whether GPs back home should be told, or whether sexual behaviour should change.
The only assurance we received is that the pills won’t cover viruses like herpes.
“But we can kill bacterial infections like that,” promised Mrs Harris, snapping her fingers.
The glossy website for The British Surgery claims it “has developed close links with travel insurance companies to ease the lot of tourists unlucky enough to fall ill while on holiday”.
It also boasts how it “has been running since 2001 under the direction of Harris, who gained her extensive paediatric knowledge at Great Ormond Street Hospital.”
Our research shows she is registered with the Balearic Islands College of Nurses, is a divorcee and mum of three who lives in a luxury £800,000 flat in a gated development in an upmarket seaside village on the west coast of the island.
The methods used by The British Surgery when we visited were on Monday night questioned by medics in the UK — notably the fast turnaround for “Kim’s” test.
Dr Mark Lawton, a consultant in Sexual Health, and a member of the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV, said: “There’s no test I am aware of that could produce results for chlamydia that quickly.
“What concerned me most is that patients might wrongly believe that the antibiotics given would cure all sexually transmitted infections, which is not the case.”
Taku Mukiwa, a spokesperson from sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust added: “It is unacceptable for anyone to be falsely diagnosed with an STI.
“It will cause unnecessary stress to patients — both at the time and now they’ve found out they may or may not have been incorrectly diagnosed. There is also a concern that actual infections could have been missed.” When The Sun reported its findings to The British Surgery, it said it had taken action to discipline a member of staff, but denied it was exploiting vulnerable Brits.
It said in a statement: “The receptionist who saw Kim Williams has been given a verbal warning.
“The medical report written by the doctor advises Kim was seen for a possible STI. As the paperwork did not match this an insurance claim was never filed. We do not make bogus insurance claims.
“We can confirm a gynecological examination took place by Jill Harris, who is a qualified nurse. She would have advised having unprotected sex can cause STIs.
“Jill Harris has worked at Great Ormond Street for many years before moving to Mallorca and she gained her qualification at The Royal London Hospital and Great Ormond Street.
“We help many young holiday makers in need of assistance.”
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