Sexual health services in England are under 'huge pressure' due to a record 3.3 million visits a year, council leaders have warned.
Figures show that attendances at sexual health clinics have increased 13% between 2013 and 2017, while the number of sexual health screens have risen by 18% in the same time period.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said that this surge in demand has happened at the time councils have faced £600m in public health cuts. It warned some people are being turned away from clinics and people are facing longer waits for appointments.
'While it’s great to see a huge increase in people taking their sexual health seriously, this rising demand is pushing some councils’ sexual health services to peak capacity levels which are not sustainable in the long-term,' said cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board.
'With capacity and resources already being stretched to the limit, clinics are reporting an increase in the number of lengthy delays and people having to be turned away as appointments are fully booked. Demand for sexual health services has risen successively for the past five years and there is a real risk of waiting times increasing and patient experience deteriorating.
'Cuts to public health funding need to be reversed as this could affect councils’ ability to meet further increases in demand and respond to unforeseen outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections.'