Mark Whitehead 01 October 2018

Council chiefs call for reversal of cuts to sexual health services

Maintaining sexual health services at current levels will be difficult unless cuts in public health services are reversed, local government leaders have warned.

Responding to a survey by the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said many local authorities were 'having to make difficult decisions on these key services'.

The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV and the British HIV Association said surveys of their members showed more than half reported decreases in the overall level of services in the past year.

They said overall rates of sexually transmitted infections remained stable in 2017 but cases of syphilis had increased by a fifth since the year before.

Cllr Hudspeth said: 'Despite budget reductions and increased demand for services, councils all over the country understand how important sexual and reproductive health services are in the health and wellbeing of their residents, but the reality is that many local authorities are having to make difficult decisions on these key services.

'Councils are having to carefully consider how best they can spend their public health funding, which has been reduced by £600m, to maximise cost effectiveness, improve people’s health through better access for service users and ensure prompt provision of contraception to reduce unplanned pregnancies.

'The importance of co-operation between services is absolutely critical for effective strategic planning, which is compounded by record demand for sexual health services.'

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